Critics ask why Canada hasn't blocked international trade in 76 endangered species Publish Date: 10-DEC-2014 08:53 AM Recently released documents indicate the federal government has reservations about restricting international trade in endangered species — more of them than almost any other government on Earth. The papers show that Canada has opted out of nearly every resolution to protect endangered species taken at last year's meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Delegates from 180 countries voted to extend protections to 76 plant and animal species from soft-shelled turtles to tropical hardwoods.
Canada falls short of its 2020 climate change commitment Publish Date: 09-DEC-2014 08:46 AM Canada remains well short of meeting its international 2020 climate change commitment, Environment Canada reported Monday, even if the economy tanks and global oil and gas prices remain on the skids. Even under the worst-case scenario, the 2014 Emissions Report says Canada would still fail to cut greenhouse gases 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 — as Canada committed to do under the Copenhagen accord.
Shifting Sands: How Energy is Shaping Canada’s Foreign Policy Publish Date: 09-DEC-2014 08:41 AM The recent rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project in November by the United States Senate is only the latest chapter of an ongoing saga reflecting a dramatic shift in Canada’s foreign relations in recent years. The Canadian government has been engaging in an aggressive public relations campaign for its booming oil and gas industry. The strategy includes prominent marketing and behind-the-scenes lobbying in close partnership with oil industry executives. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, first elected in 2006, has long maintained his goal was to make Canada an energy superpower. But he has also changed the country’s role and policies in international climate change efforts as a means to achieve that goal.
Three B.C. plants declared endangered by federal panel of scientists Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 08:35 AM Three B.C. plants have been declared endangered by a federal advisory panel of scientists. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada said in its annual conservation review released Monday that while the limber pine tree can live up to 1,000 years, populations in B.C. and Alberta are undergoing sharp declines due mainly to spread of white pine blister rust. The non-native disease was first detected on limber pine in 2006.
Dead orca was pregnant with full-term fetus Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 08:25 AM The necropsy on the endangered orca found dead off Vancouver Island showed it was pregnant with a full-term fetus, and that someone removed several teeth from the dead killer whale before it could be examined. Experts had speculated the death may have arisen from birth complications. Biologists are awaiting additional tests to determine the cause of death, with preliminary findings possible later this week.
Federal Government Scientists Seek to Protect Scientific Integrity Through Collective Bargaining Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:36 AM Federal government scientists are upping the ante in their dispute with the Harper government over continuing cuts to federal science programs and the muzzling of federal government scientists by bringing their concerns directly to the bargaining table. This week, the union representing federal government scientists will table a proposal that would obligate the government to negotiate scientific integrity policies, ensuring adequate public standards of science and support for science are upheld. "Preserving scientific integrity within the federal government is crucial to ensure we can continue to protect Canadians' health, safety and the environment as well as promote genuine innovation," says Debi Daviau, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents approximately 15,000 federal government scientists, engineers and researchers.
Musellement: les scientifiques fédéraux passent par leur convention collective (French) Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:32 AM Las d’être «muselés» par le gouvernement Harper, les scientifiques du gouvernement fédéral adoptent une voie originale: celle de négocier des clauses de protection de l’intégrité de leur travail dans leurs conventions collectives. L’Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada, qui représente quelque 15 000 scientifiques à l’emploi du gouvernement fédéral, présente à la table de négociation une proposition qui obligera le fédéral à négocier des clauses protégeant la liberté d’expression des scientifiques fédéraux, le réinvestissement dans les programmes de recherche et la protection du savoir et des bibliothèques scientifiques.
Public sector union to take muzzled science issue to bargaining table Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:30 AM The union representing government scientists, engineers and professionals says its next contract demands will include an integrity policy to free up muzzled researchers and promote evidence-based policy making. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents 55,000 federal employees, says a scientific-integrity policy is needed to ensure innovation and to protect public health, safety and the environment.
Scientists push for ‘scientific integrity’ at bargaining table Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 10:25 AM Canada’s federal scientists are going to the bargaining table this week with an unprecedented package of contract changes to promote “scientific integrity” in government, including the right of scientists to speak freely and forbidding political interference in their work. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents more than 15,000 scientists, researchers and engineers, is tabling a negotiating position for managing science in the “public interest” with a list of demands for Treasury Board negotiators that dramatically push the boundaries of traditional collective bargaining in the public service.
Stephen Harper government confuses science for mere opinion Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 10:23 AM The current government has repeatedly proclaimed its belief in the importance of scientific evidence. In March 2013, then-Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver advanced the view that U.S. President Barack Obama is — on the Keystone XL issue, at least — “driven by facts,” adding “and that’s what drives us as well.” He reiterated this assertion several months later in response to a blistering New York Times editorial that accused the Harper government of muzzling government scientists in an “attempt to guarantee public ignorance.” Americans, said Oliver, are entitled to their opinions but he would find it “refreshing if they confined themselves to the facts and science.”
Letter: Scientific literacy under attack in Quebec and Canada Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 10:21 AM There’s a billboard on Highway 40 disfiguring the Montreal landscape by claiming that “The sun is the main driver of climate change.” This duplicity undermines the scientific education and awareness that we have been building for decades. It is all the more vicious since by their very name, “Friends of Science” — the Albertan organization that believes human behaviour is not responsible for climate change — usurps the credibility of science in order to misinform the public.
Protection for at-risk species falters over Ottawa delays, scientists say Publish Date: 01-DEC-2014 10:04 AM Scientists monitoring Canada’s process for identifying and protecting endangered wildlife say the system is floundering because the federal government is taking too long to list species that are deemed at risk while not doing enough to improve the status of those that are already listed. So serious is the problem that none of the 67 species that have been recommended for listing under the Species at Risk Act for the first time since January, 2011 has been taken forward to the point where a decision to list it or not can be made, as federal legislation requires.
L'ACS lance une campagne de sociofinancement pour dénoncer la désinformation scientifique (French) Publish Date: 27-NOV-2014 08:36 AM En réaction aux panneaux climatosceptiques affichés sur l’autoroute 40 par l’organisme albertain Friends of Science, l’ACS lance une campagne contre la désinformation et l’imposture scientifique. L’Association répliquera en installant trois panneaux sur les autoroutes 40 et 440, dans la région montréalaise, rétablissant les faits sur les changements climatiques.
Les ennemis de la science (French) Publish Date: 26-NOV-2014 08:28 AM Cette pancarte sur l’autoroute 40 défigure le paysage montréalais en affichant que « Le soleil est le principal facteur du changement climatique ». Cette imposture scientifique mine une éducation et une sensibilisation scientifiques que nous bâtissons depuis plusieurs décennies. Elle est d’autant plus vicieuse que ses auteurs, Friends of Science, un organisme climatosceptique albertain, usurpent la crédibilité de la science pour désinformer la population.
Le Québec et l'Ontario s'entendent sur l'énergie et l'environnement (French) Publish Date: 21-NOV-2014 11:45 AM Dès la fin 2015, l'Ontario fournira 500 mégawatts au Québec en période de pointe hivernale. En contrepartie, le Québec fournira la même quantité d'électricité à l'Ontario en période de pointe estivale à partir de 2016. C'est l'une des principales ententes annoncées au terme de la réunion conjointe des conseils des ministres du Québec et de l'Ontario qui a eu lieu ce matin à Toronto.
Oléoduc Énergie Est: pas de sécurité, pas de passage, dit Labeaume Publish Date: 19-NOV-2014 02:56 PM Même s'il est partisan du projet d'oléoduc Énergie Est de TransCanada Pipeline, le maire de Québec juge qu'il demeure trop de questions sans réponses. «Je ne laisserai pas cette compagnie-là traverser le fleuve si on ne se sent pas en sécurité.»
Fracking review panel : independent of what, exactly ? Publish Date: 19-NOV-2014 02:21 PM A little over a month ago, the provincial government announced the composition of its “independent” panel to review fracking in the province. As many of us are aware, the panel was announced in August as follow-up to the temporary moratorium on fracking which resulted from massive public opposition to a proposal to introduce the controversial method of oil and gas extraction on the west coast of the island. And although the panel hasn’t yet met, it’s already drawing fire from many quarters. I’ll leave it to others to critique the backgrounds and expertise of those who are on the panel. My own critique would centre on who is not on the panel. There are some serious gaps, and these offer the most telling condemnation of the process.
CFIA Consultations and Canadian Food Safety (PDF)
Publish Date: 19-DEC-2014 02:44 AM
As part of the 2014 CFIA Consultations, the Professional Institute of The Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) has submitted a detailed analysis of each of the following proposals:
Scientists Rally in Support of Federal Research
Publish Date: 27-NOV-2014 11:16 AM
On the morning of October 22, researchers and science staff from Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture & Agri-food Canada and the Department of National Defence demonstrated in Québec city at the entrance of Université Laval in support of research in the federal government.
The Canada First Research Excellence Fund seems to be the Harper government’s response to fierce criticism about its science policies. It was announced with much fanfare last week (although it had appeared in the spring budget) by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as an unprecedented investment to strengthen Canada’s position in the world of science. But it came on the heels of an uproar in the scientific community over the imminent shuttering of a world-class science facility at the University of Ottawa, highlighting precisely what many critics believe is wrong with the Conservatives’ approach to science.
Irrités par les interventions du gouvernement Harper, les scientifiques fédéraux ont concocté un répulsif inusité: des clauses à insérer dans leur convention collective. Reste à voir si le remède sera homologué.