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.”
Plus de 50 personnes perderont leur poste (French) Publish Date: 30-AUG-2014 01:14 PM Ce sont finalement 53 personnes qui perdent leur emploi en raison des compressions imposées par le gouvernement Couillard au ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs. Un geste qui prive Québec d’une expertise scientifique en matière de gestion de la faune et qui pourrait favoriser une hausse du braconnage.
Federal government on track to cut 35,000 public service jobs Publish Date: 27-AUG-2014 04:14 PM The Conservative government, which has cut nearly 26,000 jobs in Canada’s public service over the past three years, is poised to shed another 8,900 jobs by 2017. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has been wrangling with the government since the 2012 budget for data to get a handle on the nature of cuts, but has been blocked in trying to get a fuller picture. The PBO recently found that the performance of the government’s programs, and whether they were working as expected or not, had little bearing on the government’s decisions about what to cut.
Federal government launches public service employee survey. Publish Date: 26-AUG-2014 04:03 PM The federal government has started its triennial public service employee survey, looking for feedback from federal bureaucrats at a time of low morale, concerns that the public service is being politicized and worries over the impacts of spending cuts. If the 2011 survey is any indication – it had the highest response rate ever, at 72.2 per cent – federal bureaucrats have a lot to say about the state of the public service
Space Agency study looks at benefits of Canadian space program Publish Date: 26-AUG-2014 03:59 PM
The Canadian Space Agency, which has struggled for years with the gravitational pull of tight budgets, plans a sweeping study of the benefits of Canada’s involvement in space.
The agency is seeking bids for what it calls a “comprehensive” overall assessment of the country’s space activity, and will pay up to $250,000 “to capture the economic argument for investment in space,” as well as “demonstrate the larger socio-economic impacts” of Canadians’ activities, public and private, in the sector, according to a written description of the work.
CPI wins Space Agency contract Publish Date: 21-AUG-2014 03:38 PM A Georgetown-based company has been awarded a $3.3 million contract to develop a satellite radar component that will play a key role in the first-ever global survey of surface water.
Communications and Power Industries Canada Inc. (CPI Canada) will receive the funds from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) it was announced Monday on behalf of Minister of Industry James Moore by Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson and Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong who both toured the Georgetown company. Also on the tour was CSA President Walter Natynczyk.
Refugee claimants struggling to find health care after cuts Publish Date: 17-AUG-2014 01:45 PM Two years ago, the Conservative government made cuts to refugee health care, arguing it would deter “bogus” refugees from coming to Canada and save taxpayers $100-million over five years. The cuts drew outrage from many refugee advocates, doctors, lawyers, and some provinces that found themselves footing the bill. Last month, a Federal Court ruling called the measure “cruel and unusual treatment” and found “no persuasive evidence” the cuts reduced claims and costs.
Labour force error not related to cuts: StatsCan Publish Date: 15-AUG-2014 01:44 PM Statistics Canada says ongoing budget cuts played no part in the “human error” that resulted in a significant miscalculation in their latest jobs report. The census agency, which was off by almost 42,000 jobs in its July Labour Force Survey, has been asked to find more than $33 million in annual savings as a result of Conservatives’ 2012 budget. But Sylvie Michaud, StatsCan’s director general of education, labour and income statistics, said the error was not due to a lack of funding.
University crowdfunding by the numbers – a first look at the data Publish Date: 14-AUG-2014 01:19 PM A growing number of universities are setting up their own crowdfunding portals as a way of increasing alumni engagement, recruiting new donors, nurturing a culture of philanthropy on campus, and boosting home-grown innovation. As I’ve argued before, crowdfunding by faculty to support their research is particularly well suited to meeting these objectives.
Canada scrambled for data to back North Pole claims, documents show Publish Date: 13-AUG-2014 10:15 AM Federal bureaucrats were left scrambling to find more data to support the Conservative government’s controversial claim to the North Pole last December, according to internal documents. The documents reveal the federal government rushed through a $7-million icebreaker upgrade earlier this year to gather more data to back the Conservatives’ claims.
Evangeline Lilly : It’s My Job To Stand Up for Canadian Scientist Publish Date: 08-AUG-2014 09:40 AM Lilly first heard about the defunding and muzzling of Canada’s federal scientists when she was reading DeSmog Canada just over a year ago. In a spate of funding cuts, the federal government eliminated some of Canada’s most prestigious scientific institutions, to the dismay of scientists and Canadians across the country. And since the Harper government has been in power, strict communications protocols have prevented scientists from speaking with the public about their research, limiting public awareness of taxpayer-funded science.
Ebola test drug has roots in Canada’s national lab Publish Date: 05-AUG-2014 08:17 AM Canadian research is at the heart of an experimental Ebola therapy recently given to two American aid workers infected while caring for patients in Liberia. Two of the monoclonal antibodies are the product of years of research done at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, the agency confirmed in an email late Monday. The Winnipeg lab and a number of other facilities have been working for years to produce Ebola and Marburg interventions. But lack of funding and regulatory hurdles had prevented these experimental tools from being used in outbreaks up until now.
Lack of scientific R&D funding will leave Canada in the dust Publish Date: 01-AUG-2014 08:12 AM Scientific research and development is not a luxury for modern, industrialized countries such as Canada. It’s a necessity that we ignore at our peril. Without it, innovation and new discoveries suffer – and we risk being left behind in an increasingly competitive global economy. Canada falls well behind most other wealthy nations on total spending on research and development. Without solid participation from both governments and businesses, Canadian innovation from scientific research will continue to lag. And that, no doubt, will leave Canada in the dust.
Ebola outbreak : WHO launches $100M plan as death toll tops 700 Publish Date: 31-JUL-2014 08:59 AM The World Health Organization is launching a $100-million response plan to combat an "unprecedented" outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that has killed 729 people out of 1,323 infected since February, the agency said on Thursday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory against non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said his agency is stepping up its response to the outbreak and will send an additional 50 health experts to assist with efforts to control the outbreak. Canada's Public Health Agency is not taking that step just yet, instead recommending travellers practise special precautions, such as getting extra vaccinations. According to its online travel notice, the risk of infection is low for most travellers
IMF calls for green shift with 52% gas hike in Canada Publish Date: 31-JUL-2014 08:16 AM The International Monetary Fund says Canada and other countries can improve their economies and environment by hiking energy taxes — while cutting them on people and capital. In a new book, Getting Energy Prices Right: From Principle to Practice, the IMF essentially endorses policies — at times advocated by the federal Liberals and NDP — calling for what some have termed a "green shift" in the taxation system. The Conservative government, however, has rejected carbon taxes.
The starving of Canadian science Publish Date: 31-JUL-2014 08:10 AM Not many are aware of the way science is funded, conducted and taught in Canada, and how this has deteriorated over the years to such an extent that this is going to pose a serious problem for the future generations to come. Successive governments have over the years given more money to companies at the cost of stagnation in funding for fundamental research. The approach has been ill conceived, as it is the fundamental research that opens up new avenues, which are then taken over by the biotech sector for knowledge translation.
Les forages que TransCanada veut faire à Cacouna ont fait couler beaucoup d'encre, mais au-delà de ces travaux, c'est tout le projet de terminal pétrolier et le trafic maritime accru qu'il générera qui «risquent d'avoir des effets négatifs» sur les bélugas. Et ce ne sont pas des militants de Greenpeace qui le disent, mais bien des scientifiques de Pêches et Océans dans un «avis» récent.