Confronting Canada’s war on science Publish Date: 02-OCT-2014 11:23 AM In recent years, the federal government has prevented Environment Canada scientist David Tarasick from speaking about his research on the ozone layer, and prevented Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientist Kristi Miller from speaking about her research on declining salmon stocks in the country…A 2013 survey by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada found that 48 per cent of government scientists have seen information withheld, causing the public to be misinformed; 86 per cent said they could not report actions that might harm the public without fear of censure; and 50 per cent said that public health or safety has been compromised by political interference in science.
Queen’s researcher receives $10-million award Publish Date: 01-OCT-2014 11:10 AM Gilles Gerbier, newly arrived from France to take up a research position at Queen's University, had the small pin attached to his jacket by Minister of State for Science and Technology Ed Holder during a ceremony on campus Friday morning to represent his acceptance of a seven-year, $10-million award as the newest Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC).
French scientists begin three-week protest march Publish Date: 29-SEP-2014 10:13 AM Travelling by foot, bicycle or kayak, more than 3,000 scientists, support staff and members of the public from across France set off on Friday on a three-week march in defence of scientific research and higher education. The organizers say it is the biggest protest of its kind for 10 years.
What the Franklin expedition says about Canadian research priorities Publish Date: 24-SEP-2014 08:31 AM The discovery of one of the long-lost Franklin ships is surely big news, archaeologically speaking. But it is also highly political. Not simply because Franklin is used as a symbol of Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, but also in the context of what has happened in recent years regarding federal science.
North-South Institute latest casualty of Ottawa’s war on evidence Publish Date: 23-SEP-2014 08:18 AM The North-South Institute announced earlier this month that it is closing following funding cuts by the federal government. This news couldn’t come at a worse time. As a non-partisan research organization, the North-South Institute’s contribution to international development issues through a specifically Canadian lens was immeasurable.
Canada missing out on green energy revolution, report says Publish Date: 22-SEP-2014 08:50 AM At a time when investment in clean energy technologies is growing worldwide, Canada is “looking the other way” and risks missing out on trade and growth opportunities, according to a new report from an advocacy group for green energy. The study from Clean Energy Canada was released Monday to coincide with the United Nation Climate Summit in New York City. It says Canada spent $6.5 billion on the renewable energy transition last year. That is minuscule compared to the $207 billion spent worldwide, including $55 billion in China alone.
Stephen Harper’s climate change timeline Publish Date: 19-SEP-2014 08:41 AM A labour union representing federal scientists, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, would also estimate that the Canadian government was in the middle of a three-year purge, cutting nearly $3 billion in spending and up to 5,000 jobs from its science-based departments, including many scientific research positions and programs in charge of monitoring air, water, and wildlife.
When it comes to science, Canadians care more than ever Publish Date: 17-SEP-2014 08:35 AM It was reassuring to hear the essential message of a report released last week by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) that aimed to assess the state of Canada’s science culture: that Canadians know and care more about science than ever, and they know and care more than the citizens of many other developed countries.
The Canadian response to Ebola : a new science diplomacy ? Publish Date: 16-SEP-2014 09:40 AM In early August, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development (DFATD) announced that Canada would provide $3.6 million dollars to both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to help the international Ebola effort. This was not the first Canadian contribution; as early as April 18th, three ministers (International Development and La Francophonie, DFATD, and Health) had pledged nearly $1.3 million to address the Ebola outbreak.
How fighting climate change could save the planet and rebuild the economy Publish Date: 16-SEP-2014 09:12 AM Despite all the scary predictions of rising seas and global warming, politicians in the United States at least have been reluctant to take serious action to reduce greenhouse gases. Reasonably sensible ideas like taxing carbon emissions -- an idea with bipartisan intellectual support -- are routinely dismissed out of hand as being bad for the economy. But it doesn't have to be that way, according to a new report out in advance of next week's United Nations summit on climate change. The report argues that governments could significantly slow emissions and boost economic growth simply by making smart decisions about how they spend money they're going to spend anyway.
Federal cuts force child-care, welfare groups to crowdfund Publish Date: 15-SEP-2014 11:55 AM How many day-care spaces exist in Canada? How much do the country’s poorest receive in welfare income? Are freshwater fish harmed by cleaning products? For decades, the federal government paid to answer these questions. Now, non-profit groups are asking the public for donations in a desperate bid to save the data from extinction. In the case of the Experimental Lakes Area, the 45-year-old government research program now under the International Institute for Sustainable Development, crowdfunding aimed to raise $25,000 to help restore it to its former glory and reduce its reliance on capricious political leaders.
The science minister seems to be in denial Publish Date: 10-SEP-2014 11:40 AM It’s not unusual for any government to deny the unpalatable until it finally becomes too counterproductive or absurd to do so. The government of Stephen Harper, however, has taken the practice of naysaying to breathtaking heights. Take, for example, the reaction of Science and Technology Minister Ed Holder to an editorial in The Telegram on Aug. 29. (Science Inc.). Faced with the fact that his government has systematically undercut any scientific pursuit that hinders its pro-business agenda, the minister has adopted the tried and true head-in-sand tactic.
No substitute for scientists Publish Date: 05-SEP-2014 11:27 AM Recruiting volunteers to collect monthly seawater samples to be analyzed for traces of radioactivity is a splendid idea, but let’s hope Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t get wind of it. He might be tempted to take this “citizen scientist” concept too far.
Scientists urge government to fund basic research Publish Date: 05-SEP-2014 11:22 AM A survey of 12 countries, including Canada, shows that scientists are concerned about the drop in government support of basic science in favour of applied research that leads to short-term benefits. While applied science is valuable and necessary to keep up in a competitive global economy, we need basic science as well to open new possibilities for true innovation.
Put focus back on basic research, say science unions Publish Date: 03-SEP-2014 02:03 PM Geneviève Fioraso, France's minister for higher education and research, denies trade unions' claims her government wants science to have immediate economic returns.An unrelenting political push towards economic returns and short-term targets for research is endangering scientists' academic freedom in many countries around the world, the leading French researchers' union has warned…Canadian scientists, in particular, face a unique set of challenges as the government puts a squeeze not only on their funding, but also on their freedom of expression.
Keystone Ads Mislead on Canada ‘s Deep Cuts to Environmental Monitoring Publish Date: 02-SEP-2014 01:58 PM Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has set aside $22.7 million for an advertising blitz this year to promote oil and Canada's other natural resources in the United States, Europe and Asia. But scientists and environmental groups say the advertising message is misleading its target audience about the Canadian government's failure to clean up the oil sands, Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Grassy Narrows : Why is Japan still studying the mercury poisoning when Canada isn’t ? Publish Date: 02-SEP-2014 01:50 PM By the time government scientists arrived in 1970 to do some testing, the people at Grassy Narrows and neighbouring Wabeseemoong First Nations had already eaten dangerous amounts of contaminated fish. The first tests revealed extreme levels of mercury in hair and blood. There has been no epidemiological study to establish the scope of the Grassy Narrows exposure, and no long-term tracking of what are now recognized as the life-long effects of ingested mercury, although an expert review by Canadian scientists in 2010 stated "there should have been extensive examinations and followup of these communities.”
Malgré les engagements internationaux en faveur de la protection de la biodiversité mondiale, la surpêche demeure la norme, la déforestation se poursuit, les milieux humides continuent de disparaître, l’extinction menace de plus en plus d’espèces animales et certaines formes de pollution sont en hausse.