Scientists protest death of evidence on Parliament Hill


Canadian scientists marched on Parliament Hill this past Tuesday to protest the ongoing campaign by the Harper government to squelch any and all science whose results go against party lines on topics like (and especially) the environment.

Evoking images of the Grim Reaper, protesters held a mock funeral procession through the streets of Ottawa before ending up at the House of Commons.

They chanted: No Science, No Evidence, No Truth, No Democracy.

They were upset with cuts to federal science research and massive changes to environmental laws contained in Bill C-38, the budget bill that passed in June.
[…]
“It’s been staggering scientists and citizens who are concerned about the country,” he said.

Bill C-38 controversially overhauled Canada’s environmental assessment and fisheries protection laws. Changes included limiting the time for environmental assessments and narrowing the definition of protected habitat.

Government ministers were also given more discretionary power over environmental reviews.

“It’s pretty clear why the changes were made,” Hutchings said. “They were made to make it easier for ministers to … allow for development to take place out of the limelight of the public eye.”

Yeah, Harper has been that bad, and that irrational, that he’s literally willing to break science so the government doesn’t get the information to tell it that the policies it’s enacting, while money-makers, will come at a disproportionately huge cost to future generations. Short term gain over long-term loss. Humans are already really bad at prioritizing this. Canada used to be better than average at compensating for this human failing. Now it’s decidedly worse.

Among the dozens of other reasons why Harper should not have been voted into a majority position, this one might well cost us the most.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    So will the Tories now claim that “science has become politicized” and using that for an excuse to cut budgets, block publication, and stifle speaking out even more aggressively?

  2. Richard Simons says

    Harper always talks as though he is addressing a dim-witted 5-year-old and I think this attitude, that he knows best and everyone else is ignorant, has permeated the entire government. When questions are asked in the House, the questioner is belittled and the question avoided. A minister sees nothing wrong with changing a document after it has been signed. Sentencing for crime was made more severe and in-prison training services have been curtailed against the recommendations of almost everyone concerned. The Government lied to the public about the cost of major military purchases, and continues to lie about them. The list goes on and on.

    I think that by the time they get kicked out they will have set back the country by decades in some areas.

  3. Kels says

    Erm…it’s normally called “Parliament Hill” in Canada. At least those of us who live in Ottawa (like me) generally call it that.

    But you already knew that. You were just seeing if we’d notice.

  4. 24fps says

    The cuts are disgusting, and so is the practice of muzzling scientists – some are not allowed to speak to media. As a documentary maker who works on both social issue and science docs, it means I have to increasingly go to experts in other countries rather than feature our own scientists. It’s completely mental.

    Harper’s Conservatives are bent on keeping us as ignorant as possible.

  5. sinned34 says

    All this in his first year with a majority. There’s no telling how much damage he’ll do to our environment, political system, and international reputation by the time his second year is finished.

    I was wondering why Harper seemed so intent on rushing all this through so soon into his term, but then I realized he’s probably planning on using the third and fourth years of his majority covering up the horrendous actions of the first two years and trying to buy as many votes as possible before the next election. Considering how short peoples’ memories are and how the media won’t “re-hash the past” during campaign season.

    I’m terrified that it’ll work in 2015, and we could wind up with the Harper government until 2019. Even worse, I know there isn’t much I can do locally, since there’s little hope of anything other than a Reform/Alliance/CPC victory in my current home riding.

  6. sambarge says

    Canadian scientists marched in Washington, D.C.? Because I knew about the march on Parliament Hill…

    Also, not to be a total nerd, isn’t it Capitol Hill, rather than Capital Hill?

  7. sinned34 says

    It’s okay, Jason. Nova Scotia is barely more Canadian than Buffalo, NY, so it’s understandable that someone living there would make these kind of mistakes when referencing the culture of America’s Hat.

    Next you should talk about baseball (Canada’s favorite pastime and national sport), pen an homage to the great Canadian doughnut shop, Dunkin’ Donuts, and pick up a sextet of the official beer of the Great White North: Pabst Blue Ribbon.

  8. says

    And Gary Goodyear (Minister of State for Science and Technology, chiropractor, and probable creationist) defended the government’s track record of investing in scientific and technological research.

    Sad that such a march was necessary, but it was awesome to see 1000 scientists (& supporters) on Parliament Hill.

  9. says

    Maybe Jason has a quota to commit a certain number of elementary mistakes for a Canadian in order to retain the rights to his blog title?

    That’s my hypothesis and I’m sticking to it.

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