Ecology: Lady of the lakes Publish Date: 30-OCT-2013 11:09 AM International Institute for Sustainable Development
Diane Orihel set her PhD aside to lead a massive protest when Canada tried to shut down its unique Experimental Lakes Area. This article profiles her campaign.
Protesters in Grand Bank barricade DFO truck Publish Date: 30-OCT-2013 11:03 AM Protesters in Grand Bank barricaded a Department of Fisheries and Oceans truck in response to the department’s planned closure of their office in that town. A moving truck had arrived Tuesday to move furniture out of the DFO building, but access was blocked by protesters, who included the town’s mayor.
Comment : We should reopen observatory to the public Publish Date: 29-OCT-2013 10:59 AM Federal budget cuts closed the Saanich Observatory to the public last summer; public effort can ensure it is reopened. Astronomers from around the world use the telescope. Beside the observatory is the Herzberg Institute, a sprawling complex run by the National Research Council. It is the centre of astronomy in Canada with 150 employees on site and an annual budget of about $30 million. Much of this money is spent locally, making a significant contribution to our local economy.
Cartographie des ressources naturelles du Nord canadien : Stephen Harper annonce 100 millions $ (French) Publish Date: 16-OCT-2013 10:37 AM Le gouvernement fédéral compte dépenser 100 millions $ supplémentaires d'ici 2020 pour compléter la cartographie des ressources naturelles dans le Nord canadien dans le but d'en «favoriser l'exploitation». Cette information, financée par les deniers publics, est de plus en plus utilisée par le secteur privé au Canada et dans le monde, car elle aide les sociétés d'exploration des minéraux ou de l'énergie à réduire les risques et le coût de l'exploration, ce qui, affirme le gouvernement conservateur, «crée des emplois et favorise le développement économique».
Let Canadian Science Off the Leash Publish Date: 14-OCT-2013 09:37 AM At a political level in Canada, discussions on science and innovation have always suffered from CPA — Continuous Partial Attention. Carrying on this tradition, the Oct. 16 throne speech will no doubt make overtures regarding research and innovation, likely including reference to a revised federal science and technology plan.
Scientists called ‘radical ideologues’ by Tories in science minister’s riding Publish Date: 08-OCT-2013 09:25 AM Scientists who have performed experiments at Canada’s world-renowned freshwater research station are being labelled “radical ideologues” by the Conservative riding association of federal science minister Greg Rickford. Four of them wrote an editorial in the Toronto Star in July that decried Mr. Rickford’s appointment to the science portfolio, saying he is a “politician with no science background and one who failed to support one of our country’s most important public science programs in his own riding.” Anne Ayotte, the president of the Conservative riding association in Kenora, has since fired off a letter to her members saying the Star article was written by “radical ideologues who have lead (sic) a campaign of misinformation about Greg’s work to protect the Experimental Lakes Area.”
Canadians should be concerned with PM Harper’s ‘war on science’ Publish Date: 07-OCT-2013 09:13 AM Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government’s “war on science,” which includes muzzling government scientists, is depriving Canadians of vital information on issues such as the effect of large-scale industry on the natural environment, detection, and response to potential oil spills and the impact of oilsands development on aquatic health of surrounding fresh water, says a freelance journalist who is also a member of the Green Party in his upcoming new book. Chris Turner, whose book The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Willful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada is scheduled to be released on Oct. 11 in an interview with The Hill Times.
Are scientists being muzzled? A look at the record Publish Date: 04-OCT-2013 09:02 AM The National Research Council of Canada (“Canada’s premier science and technology research organization”) has an online archive of all its publications. The past 15 years of NRC-authored peer-reviewed publications are represented in this article. Though the NRC only represents a portion of publicly funded science, the data appears to provide yet more evidence that federal researchers work in a political climate that discourages the communication of science.
Canada’s role in Arctic science slipping, U.S. offical says Publish Date: 02-OCT-2013 10:43 AM An American official says she senses “a diminishment of the priority” of science and research under Canada’s chairmanship at the Arctic Council, and pledged that the United States will ensure science is a key focus when it takes over the chair position from Canada in two years.
U.S. senior Arctic official Julia Gourley also cautioned that Canada’s renewed focus on Arctic shipping should not include the main route itself, the Northwest Passage, while Canada and the U.S. are at odds over its legal status.
Loin du compte Publish Date: 22-SEP-2013 02:37 PM Dix ans et 41,3 milliards de dollars n’ont pas changé grand-chose, constate l’organisme chargé de mesurer le rendement des réinvestissements massifs effectués dans le cadre de l’accord fédéral-provincial sur la santé. « Dans l’ensemble, bien peu d’améliorations notables ont été apportées durant cette décennie pour mieux mesurer les soins aux patients et les résultats de santé, et le rendement du système de santé au Canada demeure décevant comparativement à celui d’autres pays à haut revenu », écrit le Conseil canadien de la santé dans un rapport publié cette semaine.
Winnipeg scientist protest federal cuts Publish Date: 16-SEP-2013 01:48 PM Scientists rallied to protest federal cuts to labs in Manitoba and across the country Monday, calling attention to what they say is the erosion of science in Canada. In a news release, issued by a non-partisan organization calling itself Evidence for Democracy, the scientists say Canada is "experiencing a precipitous deterioration and devaluation of science under the current federal government." Winnipegger Diane Orihel, who's been at the forefront of the fight for the Experimental Lakes Area, organized the event at the University of Winnipeg over the noon hour.
Canada may use satellites, not farmers, to measure crop size Publish Date: 10-SEP-2013 01:18 PM Statistics Canada may scrap one of its annual farmer surveys on crop yields in favor of a report that uses satellite data to estimate production. Statscan, the national statistical agency, said the satellite data was producing increasingly similar results to its September farmer survey on yields of wheat, canola and other crops, and the change would help meet cost-cutting goals. Axing the September farmer survey would be the latest in a series of changes to how the Canadian government calculates data for the agricultural sector in Canada, which is the world's biggest canola grower and No. 6 wheat producer.
National Research Council has become a 1-800 concierge service Publish Date: 09-SEP-2013 01:12 PM Once one of the most respected scientific institutions in the world, responsible for inventions like canola oil and the meningitis vaccine, the NRC’s peer-reviewed publications plummeted from 1,991 in 2006 to just 436 in 2012, while the production of new patents dropped from 53 in 2006 to a mere three in 2012. Recently-appointed Minister of State for Science and Technology, Greg Rickford needs to reverse the damage done during the five-year tenure of his predecessor. As growth in the biotech sector is dependent upon robust R&D, one of the central questions for Minister Rickford to answer is whether the federal government is committed to investing in scientific research. Unfortunately, the Conservatives do not seem to understand the S&T ecosystem in Canada and have upset the delicate balance that must be maintained between basic and applied research. They have slashed the SR&ED program by $500-million per year while ignoring industry calls for a sector-specific policy framework. Even more crucially, they have pulled back from funding discovery research, undermining future breakthroughs throughout the knowledge economy.
Experimental Lakes Area to stay open with funding from Ontario, Manitoba September 2, 2013 Publish Date: 02-SEP-2013 10:47 AM Ontario will commit $2 million a year to keep the Experimental Lakes Area open, and Manitoba will contribute another $900,000 over six years through its funding of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), which will run the site, the two provincial governments announced Monday. The future of the internationally renowned research site for the study of water pollution and lake ecosystems has been in question ever since the federal government announced last year that it would be closing it in March 2013 as part of budget cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Un projet de station arctique au Nunavut est grevé par les délais et les coûts (French) Publish Date: 01-SEP-2013 10:43 AM L'une des pierres angulaires de la stratégie gouvernementale dans l'Arctique est enlisée en raison d'un nettoyage environnemental avançant à pas de tortue et les risques de poursuites judiciaires, révèlent des documents fédéraux. Une entreprise privée qui exploite une mine de zinc désormais abandonnée dans la région, Breakwater Resources, qui appartient à Nyrstar N.V., doit encore compléter le nettoyage d'un terrain contenant des réservoirs de carburant, malgré quatre années de pression de la part de l'armée. Une remise en état environnementale de l'endroit, qui appartient au gouvernement fédéral, est nécessaire avant que la Défense ne puisse en prendre possession.
How do you fund great science? Ask a great scientist Publish Date: 10-AUG-2013 10:03 AM Larry Tanenbaum likes hockey. He likes it so much he bought a quarter share of Toronto’s NHL team. He had already given Mount Sinai hospital $35 million in 2006, but he started to think he hadn’t done as much as he could after Jason Blake, a Leafs forward who’d recorded two assists in the 2007 All-Star Game, announced he had chronic myelogenous leukemia. Now, the good news about that nasty disease is that it’s highly treatable: put the patient on Gleevec and send him off to practice.
Les dépenses fédérales en science continuent de chuter (French) Publish Date: 31-JUL-2013 09:33 AM Le gouvernement fédéral continue de diminuer ses investissements en science et technologie. Statistique Canada a révélé hier que les ministères et organismes fédéraux prévoient d'investir 10,5 milliards en science en 2013-2014, une baisse de 3,3% par rapport à l'an dernier. Cette réduction de 355 millions s'ajoute aux baisses encaissées précédemment. Au cours des quatre dernières années, les investissements du fédéral en science et technologie ont chuté de près de 13% (en dollars constants).
Scientists Bristle at Canadian Leader’s Applied Research Push Publish Date: 28-JUN-2013 08:48 AM The policies of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper are threatening the federal government's entire $11-billion-a-year research portfolio, his critics say. But his supporters believe that Harper's focus on applied research and commercialization is necessary to overcome a culture that is risk-adverse and lives in the shadow of a scientific superpower.
Relationship between scientists, feds tense these days Publish Date: 03-JUN-2013 08:20 AM The relationship between science and the federal government is tense these days, not just because of government cutbacks in federal laboratories and the muzzle on federal scientists in talking about their work, but also because of a view of some that the Harper government is even anti-science altogether. This tension exists despite the fact that the Harper government has sustained high levels of spending on university-based scientific research.
Federal Scientists Don’t Feel They Can Speak Out, Even If Public Health and Safety at Risk
Publish Date: 21-OCT-2013 10:58 AM
The results of the first extensive survey on the actual scale and impact of muzzling and political interference among federal government scientists are in, and they are even more damning of the Harper government – and more worrying for science and the public interest – than at first feared.
Between June 5 and 19, 2013, invitations to participate in an online survey on science and the federal public service (conducted by Environics) were sent to 15,398 federal scientists who are PIPSC members, of which 4,069 participated. The results of the survey, outlined in a report published today titled The Big Chill: Silencing Public Interest Science, A Survey, are considered accurate + or - 1.6%, 19 times out of 20.
The Harper government has dismantled one of the world's top aquatic and fishery libraries as part of its agenda to reduce government as well as limit the role of environmental science in policy decision-making.
Scientists try to identify chemicals as developments continue to expand. Working with some of the country’s most sensitive equipment, the team of 60 experts is putting together the most complete picture of air pollution from oilsands projects to date, determining the various emissions from mines, upgraders, trucks, how far the pollution spreads and the impact on forest and lakes and human health.