News

Company blames CSA for some cost overruns

28-JUL-2014 10:34 AM   Jordan Press, The Star Phoenix

The company involved in the building of a made-in-Canada asteroid hunting satellite says an audit that was critical of the project was more about deflecting blame for the Canadian Space Agency's handling of the project than about understanding any problems. Space firm MSCI said the challenges with the satellite project, some of which were identified in the audit, weren't a result of a lack of experience on its part. Rather, the company argues, the problems with the project started with poorly written system requirements that lacked specifics. It said members of the CSA who tried to mentor MSCI - as the audit suggested they should - generally got in the way.

 

L’Arctique à risque (French)

26-JUL-2014 10:26 AM   Le Devoir, La Presse canadienne

Si un déversement majeur de pétrole devait se produire dans l’ouest de l’océan Arctique au Canada, les répercussions environnementales pourraient se manifester jusqu’en Russie, selon une nouvelle étude. Ces conclusions sont présentées par la division canadienne du World Wildlife Fund (WWF) alors que l’Office national de l’énergie se prépare à étudier des scénarios préventionnistes pour deux projets distincts d’exploration de pétrole dans la mer de Beaufort menés par la Pétrolière impériale et Chevron.

 

L’Office national de l’énergie (ONE) a ordonné à Enbridge de cesser ses travaux le long d’une canalisation située au Manitoba en raison de préoccupations relatives à la sécurité et à l’environnement. L’organisme fédéral a indiqué qu’une inspection de la canalisation courant entre l’Alberta et le Wisconsin, menée plus tôt ce mois-ci, avait permis de déceler plusieurs problèmes.

 

Solar power surging to forefront of Canadian energy

26-JUL-2014 10:11 AM   Richard Blackwell, The Globe and Mail

The Newboro project is part of a solar building boom under way across Ontario this summer, with construction crews active on about two dozen large solar projects. They will add to the more than 70 large solar farms already up and running all over the province. While that puts Canada among the top 10 countries of the world when it comes to the amount of solar installed, the planned and operational solar farms will contribute only about 1 per cent of Ontario’s power. Still, combined with other renewables such as wind, it is helping the province to wean itself away from fossil fuels, and close its coal-fired power plants.

 

Le gouvernement conservateur de Stephen Harper a dépensé 145 000$ au cours de l'hiver dernier pour sonder les Canadiens sur l'un des dossiers de l'heure au pays, soit les enjeux énergétiques. Mais l'exercice est qualifié de «pure propagande» par l'opposition officielle à Ottawa.

 

Alors que la 20e Conférence internationale sur le sida, qui se tient à Melbourne jusqu’au 25 juillet, fait une priorité de la politique de réduction des risques infectieux chez les toxicomanes, deux structures d’accompagnement des toxicomanes à Sydney sont considérées comme un modèle dans la réduction des risques de transmission tout comme pour leur impact sanitaire.

 

E-cigarette market on fire while scientists wage heated debate

25-JUL-2014 08:49 AM   Daniel Schwartz, CBC News

Electronic cigarette use is skyrocketing, revenue has reached the billions of dollars, legislators are talking about — and enacting — regulations, and more and more research is published every month. But the jury is still out on their safety, and whether they are a gateway to smoking.

 

World Wildlife Fund study used computer models to predict how oil spills would behave in Beaufort Sea. New research suggests a major oil spill in Canada's western Arctic would likely spread quickly and foul oceans around Alaska and possibly as far west as Russia. The research, funded by the World Wildlife Fund, comes as the National Energy Board prepares to consider blowout prevention plans in two separate proposals for offshore energy drilling.

 

Saskatchewan researchers help crack the wheat genome

24-JUL-2014 08:26 AM   Manitoba Co-Operator

University of Saskatchewan researchers are part of an international team who published the first chromosome-based draft sequence of the wheat genome, a development that promises wheat breeders powerful new tools in developing varieties to meet the challenges of world population growth and climate change.

 

Chicken farmers get fed funding for disease control research

24-JUL-2014 08:10 AM   Scott Larson, The Star Phoenix

A new research project aims to reduce the need for antibiotics in broiler chickens. The project, run by the Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan and co-financed with $275,000 in federal funding, will focus on disease control in the Saskatchewan broiler chicken industry. Its aim is to identify and characterize new variants of the avian reovirus and determine how they are transmitted. It also aims to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for inclusion body hepatitis (IBH) in field trials.

 

Pen Canada, a Canadian charity that fights for freedom of expression and represents more than 1,000 writers and supports is the latest group identified for a political-activities audit by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).The group has been a vocal opponent of some of the Harper government’s recent policies, including the muzzling of federal scientists and the alleged surveillance of Canadian citizens as revealed through the Edward Snowden leaks.

 

Québec vient d'adopter le règlement provincial sur l'eau potable réclamé à cor et à cri par Gaspé depuis deux ans. Moins sévère que celui de la municipalité, il a pour effet de donner le feu vert à Pétrolia pour forer Haldimand n° 4.

 

Québec fixe enfin des règles (French)

24-JUL-2014 09:54 AM   Alexandre Shields, Le Devoir

Québec a finalement dévoilé mercredi son règlement sur la protection de l’eau potable, une mesure qui confirme que Pétrolia pourra poursuivre ses forages dans la ville de Gaspé, malgré la controverse qu’ils suscitent. Le Règlement sur le prélèvement des eaux et leur protection (RPEP) fixe pour la première fois la distance « minimale » qui devra être respectée entre un site de forage et une source d’eau potable. Celle-ci devra être de 500 mètres.

 

The Harper government heavily censored a memo showing the effectiveness of a non-partisan environmental group that had its funding axed, documents show. The government initially released the censored memo, sent to former environment minister Peter Kent, following a request through access to information legislation. It later released some of the censored passages following a complaint that prompted an investigation by the office of the federal information commissioner.

 

Canada’s space-bound laser has eyes for asteroid

22-JUL-2014 10:22 AM   Kate Allen, Toronto Star

A motley crew of kids, scientists and politicians posed in front of a boxy machine at the Royal Ontario Museum on Thursday. The instrument, known as a laser altimeter, quickly scanned them to create a multi-dimensional map of the scene. Four years from now, a new version of that instrument will be sent to map something slightly trickier — the asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich space rock with a fascinating, if slightly menacing, biography.

 

Nearly one third of access to information requests on Ottawa’s plate this spring were expected to take more than four months to release, according to new data analyzed by the Star. Information tabled in Parliament revealed that 29 per cent of access to information requests being processed by Ottawa in May were expected to take more than 120 days to release.

 

Energy regulator reviews easing Arctic drilling rules

22-JUL-2014 10:16 AM   Mike De Souza, The Toronto Star

Canada’s national energy regulator is reviewing whether to ease longstanding safety rules surrounding deep water oil exploration in the Arctic. The National Energy Board announced the mid-summer review, potentially drifting from a long-standing Arctic policy still in effect in the United States that requires companies to drill emergency relief wells to contain spewing oil in case of a blowout.

 

Records de chaleur planétaires (French only)

22-JUL-2014 10:13 AM   Alexandre Shields, Le Devoir

De nouvelles données américaines confirment la hausse continue des températures et l’ampleur de la crise climatique. La dépendance de l’humanité aux énergies fossiles se reflète de plus en plus sur le thermomètre planétaire. De nouvelles données scientifiques publiées lundi révèlent en effet que les derniers mois ont battu des records historiques à la hausse, tant sur les continents qu’à la surface des océans. Un signal de plus de l’aggravation de la crise climatique.

 

D’ici deux ou trois ans, le Dr Jean-Pierre Routy espère que les recherches contre le sida permettront d’offrir aux personnes atteintes du VIH des thérapies intelligentes qui permettront de tuer ou encore de déloger ce virus mortel qui affecte actuellement 35 millions de personnes dans le monde. Dans le cadre de la 20e Conférence internationale sur le sida à Melbourne, cet expert de l’Université McGill présentera, ce mardi, les recherches menées au Canada qui visent à mieux comprendre les mécanismes permettant au VIH de continuer de se cacher dans certaines cellules du corps malgré les traitements antiviraux.

 

Marine life in the high seas soak up twice as much CO2 from the atmosphere as Canada emits every year, a new study by the Global Ocean Commission revealed last month. This is a vitally important carbon reduction service and worth an estimated $148 billion a year.

 

Newfoundland’s healthy honeybees are an increasing draw for researchers in the race to understand why colonies across much of the globe are struggling or dying off. An international panel of 50 scientists last month called for tighter regulations and an ultimate phase-out of such products [neonic pesticides]. The group calling itself the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides compared so-called neonics or neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide that’s chemically reminiscent of nicotine, to the use of DDT in the 1960s.

 

La NASA a honoré l'un de ses plus célèbres astronautes, lundi, en rebaptisant un édifice du centre spatial Kennedy, en Floride. L'édifice porte maintenant le nom de Neil Armstrong, premier homme à avoir marché sur la lune, il y a 45 ans.

 

New research from the Heiltsuk First Nation points to a sort of bear highway through the Great Bear Rainforest on B.C.'s Central Coast. William Housty, a director with the Qqs Society, says they've found that the grizzly bears under study are travelling hundreds of kilometres each year along preferred routes — and one trail in particular along the salmon-producing Koeye River.

 

Federal health cuts hurt refugees claimants

20-JUL-2014 01:27 PM   Dr. Philip Berger and Dr. Meb Rashid, Toronto Sun

Ottawa’s refugee health care cuts have had a devastating impact on many refugees and put the health of all Canadians at risk. Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care warned the government the cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program, made two years ago, would be cruel and costly. All of the evidence has borne this out.

 

Tenderized beef will soon need labels

20-JUL-2014 01:25 PM   Global News, The Canadian Press

Canadian shoppers will be able to see next month if the beef they’re buying has been mechanically tenderized. Labelling regulations to take effect Aug. 21 are designed to protect consumers after the largest meat recall in the country’s history two years ago. Health Canada says beef that has been mechanically tenderized must have a sticker saying that. Packaged steaks must also have cooking instructions.

 

Le 20 juillet 1969, Buzz Aldrin n'avait pas les pieds sur terre lorsqu'une bonne partie de l'humanité s'est unie pour saluer un événement sans précédent. Alors, en cette date anniversaire de la mission Apollo 11 - et à cinq ans du 50e anniversaire -, Aldrin demande à tous de se souvenir où ils étaient lorsqu'Armstrong et lui sont devenus les premiers êtres humains à marcher sur la Lune, et de partager leurs souvenirs sur Internet.

 

Québec mise sur l’éolien malgré le marché défavorable (French only)

18-JUL-2014 11:48 AM   Alexandre Shields, Le Devoir

Même si l’achat d’énergie éolienne se fait à perte pour le Québec et dans un contexte d’importants surplus d’électricité, les libéraux entendent bien poursuivre le développement de la filière. Ils comptent d’ailleurs mandater un groupe de travail formé des « principaux acteurs de l’industrie » pour les conseiller sur la suite des choses.

 

What do these PMs know that economists don’t?

18-JUL-2014 11:41 AM   Munir Sheikh, The Globe and Mail

During Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s recent visit to Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper commented on climate change: “No matter what they say, no country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country. We are just a little more frank about that.” Mr. Abbott, having abolished Australia’s carbon tax, added: “I’ve always been against a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme because it harms our economy without necessarily helping the environment.” These two prime ministers were saying that a theory we economists have studied all our working lives, based on knowledge that has been accumulated for a century, is all wrong.

 

« Le ministère québécois de l’Agriculture [MAPAQ] a manifesté son intérêt d’acquérir quelque 100 hectares de cette propriété, a confirmé à la Terre Patrick Girard, agent des relations avec les médias à Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada, le 17 juillet dernier. Le ministère fédéral des Travaux publics amorcera bientôt la négociation pour la vente de la propriété », ajoute-t-il. Les négociations, auxquelles la municipalité de Frelighsburg est associée, peuvent durer jusqu’à 90 jours.

 

Canada is about to build technology that will be used to map an asteroid in 3D using lasers on an upcoming space mission. Canadian scientists will work with space technology firm MacDonald, Dettwiller and Associates Ltd. (MDA). The company is about to start building and testing the new tool, known as the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA).

 

They look like Fruit Roll-ups, they smell like bubble gum, but they can kill like tobacco. Research shows these products are six times more popular with youth than with adults. What's more, a recent study showed that more than half of tobacco users in Grades 9 through 12 smoke flavoured products, and the Health Canada survey it was based on estimated that every month about 29,000 teenagers try one of these fruity or minty nicotine delivery devices for the first time.

 

Politicians on attack after scientists call for more research into fracking

16-JUL-2014 02:50 PM   Peter O’Neil & Rob Shaw, Vancouver Sun

Deputy premier Rich Coleman challenged Thursday the conclusions of a scientific panel into the environmental effect of shale gas development using fracking. The group of Canadian and U.S. scientists, appointed in 2011 by former federal environment minister Peter Kent to examine the sector's potential and risks across Canada, urge a cautionary, go-slow approach until more research is done on a relatively new sector.

 

Executive Director of ELA offers update on facility

16-JUL-2014 02:47 PM   Grace Protopapas, Kenora Online

With research underway and a new board of directors in place, things are looking up at the Experimental Lakes Area."We're really happy with the board we have put together," says Matt McCandless, who is the CEO. "The ELA has always been known for water research excellence, and we have board members who bring that. But now that the Experimental lakes Area is run by the IISD, there is a business dimension we need to consider.

 

L'Australie a aboli jeudi une taxe carbone vivement critiquée par les groupes miniers notamment, instaurée il y a deux ans par le gouvernement travailliste pour réduire les émissions carbone et lutter contre le changement climatique.

 

A leading Toronto doctor has reignited debate over research fraud saying doctors and academics who fudge and fabricate data should be locked up. Research misconduct can have “huge” impacts, and “it is time to regard such behaviour in the same category as criminal fraud and deal with it accordingly,” Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, co-director of the Centre for Global Child Health at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, argues Tuesday in the British Medical Journal.

 

NEB to delay decision on Trans Mountain pipeline

15-JUL-2014 02:40 PM   Mark Hume, The Globe and Mail

The National Energy Board will delay its final recommendation on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project by almost seven months because of proposed route changes by the company.

 

An environmental group says its annual review of the state of Canada's parks has left it worried. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society says most parks and proposed protected areas are facing greater challenges than they were a year ago.

 

Scientist wants to use LED light to grow plants on other planets

14-JUL-2014 09:18 AM   Walter McDaniel, Digital Journal

Researcher Mike Dixon with the University of Guelph in Canada has some big plans to amplify Light-Emitting Diode (LED) energy. If these work they could provide an energy source for plants to grow on Mars and other planets throughout the solar system.

 

Nuclear waste plan unsafe, panel hears

14-JUL-2014 09:16 AM   Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail

A retired nuclear scientist has slammed Ontario Power Generation over its proposed $1-billion nuclear waste burial site on Lake Huron, saying the utility’s safety assessment contains some dangerous errors. In a submission to a federal review panel, nuclear chemist Frank Greening said OPG’s contractors seriously underestimated the potential impacts of a bombing in the vicinity of pressure tubes that have been removed from reactors and stored as waste. In contrast to OPG assurances, Dr. Greening said the zirconium in the tubes would burn fiercely, setting off chain reactions similar to those in cluster bombs.

 

Canadians find ‘Agri-food’ label a little confusing, aggravating

14-JUL-2014 09:14 AM   Jordan Press, The Star Phoenix

Public opinion research conducted for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada found confusion around the term "agri-food" in the department's title. Some thought it had "negative connotations"; others found it "somewhat meaningless."

 

National parks under threat, report says

14-JUL-2014 09:12 AM   Gloria Galloway, The Globe and Mail

From the caribou breeding grounds in the Northwest Territories to the diverse forests of New Brunswick, the country’s leading wilderness advocate says the integrity of Canada’s parks is being threatened by budget cuts, human activity and, especially, resource extraction.

 

Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose has unveiled proposed changes to food nutrition labels that she says aim to make them both easier to read, and more "relevant" to Canadians’ lives. Speaking in Edmonton on Monday, Ambrose said the proposed changes are the result of a series of consultations between the government and Canadian families that focused on the current food nutrition labels, and how they might be changed.

 

Controversial pesticides, which are used “prophylactically” on millions of hectares of Canadian farmland, have now been linked to not only the declines in bees, but birds. A Dutch study released Wednesday provides the strongest evidence yet that neonicotinoids are harming insect-eating birds like swallows, which are in sharp decline.

 

For animal producers, antibiotics are an important management tool to keep their herds and flocks healthy and profitable. It's estimated that up to 80 per cent of the world's antibiotics are used in agriculture. Antibiotic use on farms is creating superbug infections in humans. The World Health Organization warns that unless antibiotic use is reined in, the world is headed for a dystopian future where routine infections are deadly.

 

A group of medical doctors will urge Health Canada today to recognize that microwave radiation from common wireless devices is making some of their patients sick. The group includes physicians from across Canada and professors from four universities who say there is now "considerable evidence and research that exposure to WiFi, Smart Meters and Cell towers can have an adverse impact," on human health.

 

Changing climate at root of ‘utterly unprecedented’ summer flood

07-JUL-2014 08:57 AM   Margaret Munro, Postmedia News

Smith Creek in southeastern Saskatchewan normally runs dry in July. Last week it hit an all-time high and the stream gauge that scientists have been monitoring for decades is now under water. So are countless homes and farms in Saskatchewan and Manitoba where the province has declared a state of emergency and called in the military to help deal with the stunning summer flood.

 

First Nations critical of oilsands biodiversity

07-JUL-2014 08:55 AM   Maria Church, Northern Journal

A report showing plant and animal life in the oilsands region is flourishing at more than 80 per cent compared to undisturbed areas is raising eyebrows among those conducting a First Nations community monitoring program downstream. Bruce Maclean, research coordinator for the Mikisew Cree First Nation and head of Fort Chipewyan’s community-based water monitoring efforts, said the report does not accurately reflect what’s happening on the ground in First Nations communities downstream of the oilsands.

 

Dreaded Asian Carp the target of new Ontario lab

07-JUL-2014 08:53 AM   Adam Carter, CBC News

Canada has a new tool to battle the spread of an insatiable invasive species: an Asian carp research lab that’s the first of its kind in the country. Researchers say the Burlington, Ont.-based lab at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters (CCIW) will be an integral part of the battle against a fish that threatens to decimate food sources for native species in North America. The facility was formally unveiled Monday.

 

Examining Canada’s scientific footprint

04-JUL-2014 08:50 AM   Ivan Semeniuk, The Globe and Mail

Science is serious business. Governments, companies and charities invest hundreds of billions to fuel research efforts worldwide. The results, they hope, will increase knowledge, drive economic growth, improve lives and create new possibilities for people in the future. But which science matters most and who’s doing it? Those are the questions underlying a new list of the world’s top researchers compiled by the data and media company Thomson Reuters.

 

Meteorologists have allegedly been added to the list of government employees that are not allowed to say anything to the media about climate change, but a former employee of Environment Canada says that's only part of the problem. When the Harper government was elected, a communications directive was issued that prevented scientists from speaking to the media without permission. It seems that meteorologists are now falling under that umbrella.

 

No Canadian at space station before 2017

02-JUL-2014 08:44 AM   Peter Rekobowchuk, Calgary Herald

Unless Canada makes a lot more contributions to the International Space Station, it could be a while before another Canadian astronaut visits the giant orbiting space laboratory.For the moment, what's clear is that no Canadians will be heading up to the space station before 2017 - at the earliest.

 

Des standards dictés par l'industrie, déplorent des experts (French only)

29-JUN-2014 08:18 AM   Marie-Claude Malboeuf, La Presse

Tags Health

Les Canadiens qui veulent maigrir se font jeter de la poudre aux yeux par l’industrie des produits de santé naturels et par le ministère fédéral de la Santé. On y découvre les 61 recommandations du Groupe de travail sur l’efficacité des produits amaigrissants, qui a été créé en 2011 pour conseiller la Direction des produits de santé naturels de Santé Canada. Jusqu’ici, le gouvernement avait systématiquement refusé de rendre ce rapport public.

 

A new study from the University of Manitoba will soon challenge industry and government claims downplaying environmental health impacts of oilsands development, said the chief of a First Nations community Friday. First Nations communities have alleged that toxic pollution from oilsands operators is contaminating their air, water and food. Representatives from industry and the federal and provincial governments have pointed to research suggesting the toxins aren’t yet at unsafe levels.

 

Feds Quintuple allowed Catch on Endangered Salmon Species

27-JUN-2014 02:30 PM   Kristian Secher, The Tyee

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is allowing commercial fishermen to catch five times as many endangered coho salmon in anticipation of this year's massive sockeye run on the Fraser River. Conservationists are outraged with the federal decision, which they say will further threaten the coho species in the rush to allow fishermen a greater catch during the annual sockeye return.

 

New Parks policy limits information

26-JUN-2014 02:26 PM   Cathy Ellis, Rocky Mountain Outlook

A new communication policy directing all Parks Canada media requests go through high-ranking bureaucrats in Ottawa means Banff residents – and the Canadian public – no longer have the same access to information about their national parks as they used to. The policy to put tighter controls on the release of information means every media request, no mater how benign, must be approved at the top with the only exception being immediate public safety issues.

 

Report warns world's fragile oceans pushed to point of collapse

23-JUN-2014 02:23 PM   Gloria Galloway, The Globe and Mail

The Global Ocean Commission has put forward a report on the declining health of the planet’s high seas, the 64 per cent of the ocean surface that isn’t under the control and protection of a national government. The commission is a combination of public and private sector figures, including former heads of state and ministers as well as business people, supported by scientific and economic advisors working on ways to reverse the degradation of the ocean and address the failures of high seas governance. Their report sets out five main problems, from dramatic over-fishing to rising pollution, and a set of recommendations for reversing the decline.

 

Scientists Call for Tar Sands Moratorium

25-JUN-2014 08:26 AM   Jane Kleeb, Boldnebraska.org

In a groundbreaking Nature Journal article, a group of economists, policy researchers, ecologists, and scientists make the case for a moratorium on new pipelines in North America until a “more coherent approach” can be developed to evaluate tar sands projects in the context of a broader energy and climate strategy, taking into account the long-term and cumulative consequences of multiple projects or of global carbon pollution.

 

Evidence-based Union? A new alliance for science advice in Europe

23-JUN-2014 02:15 PM   James Wilsdon, The Guardian

David Cameron’s increasingly forlorn efforts to block Jean-Claude Juncker continue to generate the heat in European politics, but today sees the launch of a welcome effort to bring light to the sometimes murky recesses of EU policymaking. This afternoon, at the Euroscience Open Forum in Copenhagen, a new pan-EU network of government science advisers will hold its first meeting. Senior scientific representatives from twelve member states, including the UK’s Sir Mark Walport, will discuss how to strengthen the use of evidence in EU policymaking and improve coordination between national systems, particularly during emergencies, such as when clouds of volcanic ash from Iceland grounded flights across Europe in 2011.

 

Shuffle sees new top bureaucrats at Energy, Environment

20-JUN-2014 02:08 PM   Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen

Serge Dupont is leaving his job as deputy minister of Natural Resources Canada to become the IMF’s executive director. Environment Canada deputy minister Bob Hamilton got the nod to replace Dupont at Natural Resources. The shuffle at the energy and environment portfolios come on the heels of the Conservative government’s approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, subject to Enbridge meeting the 209 conditions laid down by a federal review panel.

 

They're also a little hazy on some of the things it does.

 

Barrette vise des compressions de 600 millions $ (French)

25-JUN-2014 08:24 AM   Alexandre Robillard, Le Devoir

Tags Funding Health

Le ministre de la Santé, Gaétan Barrette, envisage des compressions qui pourraient être de l’ordre de 600 millions $ dans la «bureaucratie» du réseau de la santé.

 

Fix the link where science and policy meet

23-JUN-2014 08:22 AM   The Globe and Mail

The connection between science and public policy within the federal government is broken, and the consequences for Canada are becoming disastrous. We propose four ways to fix this problem. But first, how is the connection broken, and why should Canadians care?

 

Un récent discours livré à Washington lors duquel le ministre canadien des Affaires étrangères John Baird a demandé des développements rapides dans le dossier de l'oléoduc Keystone XL semble avoir provoqué beaucoup d'anxiété à Ottawa.

 

Foote says government failing to address climate change

23-JUN-2014 08:18 AM   The Southern Gazette

In a press release, Foote said the Conservatives have failed to take any meaningful action to protect the environment after nearly a decade in power

 

Turning salmon waste into biodiesel

23-JUN-2014 08:17 AM   Clayton Hunt, The Beacon

Dr. Dave is leading the Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development’s (CASD) marine biodiesel research team in creating biodiesel and other value added products from salmon waste.

 

Waterhen Lake, in Manitoba, is a modest speck on Canada’s vast freshwater landscape. The lake produces a modest amount of commercially caught walleye and northern pike. As of Tuesday, Waterhen Lake will boast an immodest label: the first sustainably certified freshwater fishery in the Western Hemisphere.

 

Censorship of government scientists bad for Canadians

19-JUN-2014 09:58 AM   Stefan Klietsch, Insideottawavalley.com

Canadians can pride themselves for living in one of the most reputable countries in the world, but they should also regret that such respect exists in spite of the Harper Conservatives. Their censorship of government scientists is now infamous abroad, which first received international attention when Nature magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science called for greater Canadian scientific freedom.

 

Ottawa refuse de revoir la norme sur le béton (French)

19-JUN-2014 10:27 AM   Guillaume Bourgault-Côté, Le Devoir

Le gouvernement conservateur n’a pas l’intention de revoir la norme fédérale qui établit si un béton peut être utilisé en construction, malgré une recommandation formulée jeudi dernier par la Cour supérieure. C’est à Québec de voir au problème, répond Ottawa.

 

Canada-Russia relations cast pall over space launch

19-JUN-2014 11:17 AM   Ivan Semeniuk, The Globe and Mail

Tags Space

Two Canadian satellites, each the size of a toaster, are heading to space on Thursday to probe the inner workings of some of the brightest stars in the sky. But in a time of roiling political tension over the situation in Ukraine, the Canadian Space Agency has made no public mention of the launch, scheduled for 3:11 p.m. (ET), aboard a Russian rocket.

 

Ottawa répond aux désirs des géants pétroliers (French)

18-JUN-2014 10:52 AM   Alexandre Shields, Hélène Buzzetti

Malgré l’ampleur de la controverse soulevée par le projet Northern Gateway, le gouvernement Harper a approuvé mardi la construction de ce pipeline d’Enbridge qui permettra d’exporter du pétrole des sables bitumineux vers l’Asie. Une bonne nouvelle pour l’industrie de l’énergie fossile, mais une décision dénoncée par les partis d’opposition et les groupes environnementaux.

 

Lubrication helps explain slow, silent earthquakes on B.C. coast

18-JUN-2014 11:07 AM   Margaret Munro, The Globe and Mail

Tags

The “slow” quakes emanate from the deep like clockwork every 14 months on Canada’s west coast. They typically release the energy of a Magnitude 7 earthquake, but the powerful tectonic events are almost imperceptible because they occur slowly over two weeks, instead of in sudden jolts that last just seconds.

 

L'Équipe d'enquête du Bureau de la sécurité dans les transports du Lac-Mégantic fait partie des lauréats des prix d'excellence de la fonction publique décernés hier dans le cadre de la Semaine nationale de la fonction publique.

 

Sécurité ferroviaire: le BST satisfait de la réaction d'Ottawa (French)

18-JUN-2014 10:33 AM   La Presse canadienne, La Presse

Tags

Le Bureau de la sécurité des Transports (BST) s'est dit globalement satisfait des mesures mises en place et envisagées par Transports Canada en matière de transport ferroviaire dans la foulée de la tragédie de Lac-Mégantic.

 

Government silent as questions mount about asbestos danger

17-JUN-2014 10:57 AM   Gloria Galloway, The Globe and Mail

The federal Conservative government is refusing to join the rest of the developed world in declaring that there are no safe uses for asbestos, even though the material is the top workplace killer in Canada and deaths from exposure are expected to rise.

 

Ottawa withholding data on B.C. salmon farms: report

16-JUN-2014 10:55 AM   Mark Hume, The Globe and Mail

The federal government is hampering scientific research on fish diseases by refusing to release all of the data gathered from salmon farms on the West Coast, a new report by the University of Victoria has concluded.

 

Stephen Harper wants public servants to know he cares. That's the point of this week's National Public Service Week to celebrate those "Proudly Serving Canadians." But public servants aren't buying it. In fact, they're boycotting the whole thing.

 

Providing healthcare to everyone in Canada, including refugees

16-JUN-2014 10:40 AM   Dr. Ali Zentner, Global News

Doctors and healthcare support workers are protesting government cuts to refugee healthcare. Dr. Ali Zentner explains what those cuts are and their effect on patients and healthcare providers.

 

Dozens protest cuts

16-JUN-2014 10:37 AM   Ian MaCalpine, The Whig

Some 50 people, including doctors, health-care professionals and interested citizens took to Springer Market Square on Monday to protest federal government cuts to refugee health car.

 

Stephen Harper’s government: Oilsands toxins like BBQ steak

16-JUN-2014 10:34 AM   Mike De Souza, mikedesouza.com

Ten days ago, I asked Environment Canada whether any of its scientists would be available for interviews about their research. The department hasn’t yet answered this question along with others. The questions arose following the publication of a new study concluding that deposits of toxic mercury were forming a bull’s eye around oilsands operations in Alberta.

 

Editorial: Lyme disease needs research

14-JUN-2014 10:32 AM   Editorial, Times Colonist

Elizabeth May has achieved something of a miracle — the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and the leader of the federal Green party got a private-member’s bill through Parliament with unanimous approval. More important, the bill opens the door to better diagnosis and treatment of a serious disease that many say is a growing threat to the health of Canadians.

 

National Energy Board spends $21 million on Calgary move

14-JUN-2014 10:28 AM   Mike De Souza, Mike De Souza.com

Canada’s national energy regulator estimates it will spend about $21 million over two years – more than new funding announced to improve its existing oversight of pipeline companies – to move into its new Calgary offices.

 

Accurate jobs data crucial for Canada

13-JUN-2014 10:21 AM   Editorial, Guelph Mercury

This would be funny if it wasn't so alarming. At the same time as employers are struggling with increasingly unreliable jobs data, the federal government cut spending on labour market research by 20 per cent — that's something like $14 million.

 

Canada needs to take a long-term approach to oil and its alternatives

13-JUN-2014 03:37 PM   Bob McDonald, Quirks and Quarks

Tags Energy

While Canadian politicians lobby other countries to take our oil and gas through pipelines, rail and northern shipping routes, science museums across the country are showcasing a cleaner energy future. Canada is clearly an oil producing country. With more than $150 billion invested in oil sands development and billions more in fracking natural gas, we are rapidly becoming the Saudi Arabia of North America. The Athabasca oil sands project alone is the third-largest reserve in the world, with production expected to reach 6.4 million barrels a day by 2030. According to the Alberta government's own documents, the province can expect $350 billion in royalties and $122 billion in tax revenue over the next 25 years. This massive short-term gain from selling off our natural resources is what our government is counting on to keep the economy strong. But what about the long-term?

 

Le Saint-Laurent étouffé par l’acidification (French)

12-JUN-2014 10:56 AM   Alexandre Shields, Le Devoir

Le Saint-Laurent souffre particulièrement de l’acidification accélérée de ses eaux. Ce phénomène inévitable, provoqué en bonne partie par les émissions de CO2 issues de la combustion d’énergies fossiles, constitue une menace de plus en plus sérieuse pour l’ensemble de la chaîne alimentaire.

 

Des conservateurs réclament un débat (French)

11-JUN-2014 11:15 AM   La Presse canadienne, Le Devoir

Le ministre fédéral de la Justice dit aux médecins québécois de respecter le Code criminel, malgré l’adoption par Québec d’une loi pour encadrer les soins de fin de vie.

 

New wind research laboratory seeks to understand effects of storms

11-JUN-2014 03:03 PM   Ivan Semeniuk, The Globe and Mail

Horia Hangan doesn’t hesitate when you ask him why he finds wind so fascinating. “Because you can’t see it,” he says. “Always you have to guess it, you have to reveal it, which is fantastic.” Now Dr. Hangan is ready to reveal the wind like no one has before. His brainchild is the newly completed Wind Engineering Energy Environment Research Institute – WindEEE – a $34-million domed laboratory that sits like a giant tortoise over the rural landscape near London, Ont. The facility is unique in the world because it can reproduce wind movement in all its three-dimensional complexity, from sudden gusts and downdrafts to swirling tornadoes that rip across a simulated landscape.

 

The public is up in arms after Canadian officials decided to prohibit government weather forecasters from publicly discussing climate change.

 

Plus de 2000 formulaires de recensement égarés (French)

09-JUN-2014 11:45 AM   Hugo De Grandpré, La Presse

Tags Census

Statistiques Canada et Postes Canada ont perdu la trace de plus de 2000 formulaires lors du dernier recensement, dont plus de 500 au Québec, malgré les efforts déployés par le gouvernement Harper pour ménager la vie privée des Canadiens.

 

The federal government is coming under fire over allegedly adding meteorologists to the list of people not allowed to discuss climate change but a former employee of Environment Canada says that’s only part of the problem.

 

Flawed joint review panel doesn’t reflect science-based policy

09-JUN-2014 01:38 PM   Katie Gibbs, Hill Times

OTTAWA—Last week, prominent Canadian scientists released an analysis of the Joint Review Panel’s (JRP) assessment of the Northern Gateway Pipeline. A letter, signed by more than 300 scientists, calling on the Prime Minister to reject the report, accompanied the analysis. This comes as a final decision on the controversial pipeline project is expected in the coming weeks. The letter is sure to spur debate over the appropriate role of scientific evidence in important government decisions like the Northern Gateway pipeline. The Prime Minister has stated from the outset that the pipeline project would be “evaluated on an independent basis scientifically” and Joe Oliver, the former Natural Resources minister, called the report “a rigorous, open and comprehensive science-based assessment.”

 

A new report argues that, with federal science cuts and policy changes, Canadians don’t have enough scientific knowledge of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to allow for safe oil and gas exploration there. A lack of research and newly-relaxed environmental assessment regulations leave too much unknown, wrote the co-authors of the St. Lawrence Coalition report, all of whom are scientists working for environmental organizations. For example, the decline of the beluga population in the area “should trigger the alarm” that more work is needed to understand contaminants currently in Gulf waters, as well as the effects of climate change, says the report. Nine conservation groups from Eastern Canada signed the report.

 

C. Scott Findlay: The uses of evidence in politics

07-JUN-2014 08:25 AM   C. Scott Findlay, Ottawa Citizen

In a recent interview, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was unequivocal on the issue of childhood vaccination. He believes it works: “We know, we scientifically know, what vaccinations and immunizations have done for us.” He was equally unequivocal about whom the public should trust: “Don’t indulge your theories; think of your children and listen to the experts.” Harper is to be commended for his well-informed public stand on the vaccination issue. But on the importance of scientific evidence and the role of scientific expertise, the government’s record is one of ambivalence, even capriciousness.

 

Stephen Harper’s blatant hypocrisy on science

06-JUN-2014 01:44 PM   Alana Westwood, The Star

Tags Funding Health

In a rare one-on-one interview this past Thursday with the CBC, Prime Minister Stephen Harper definitively laid out his position on vaccination. Directly confronting the anti-vaccination movement, he chided Canadians, “Don’t indulge your theories; think of your children and listen to the experts.” Harper is right: vaccinations have saved millions of lives, and the science in support of them is overwhelming. Andrew Wakefield, the former British surgeon who claimed to show a link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism has been widely discredited and exposed as a fraud. Unfortunately, his misguided claims infected public consciousness and led to a resurgence of deadly diseases once thought eradicated. Harper called Canadians out, saying, “it’s a tragedy when people start to go off on their own theories and not listen to scientific evidence.” He’s reinforcing that sentiment with a commitment to a further $3.5 billion of continued funding for maternal and child health worldwide, with vaccination being a cornerstone of the program.

 

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. - An Environment Canada study has found elevated levels of mercury in northern Alberta with the bull's-eye centred on oilsands developments. "These results suggest that oilsands developments are a source of airborne (mercury) emissions to local landscapes and water bodies," says the study, which has been reviewed and published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Levels of the most dangerous form of the potent neurotoxin are about 13 times higher than normal in the most affected area, about 60 kilometres north of Fort McMurray and a little east of the community of Fort McKay.

 

Des centaines de scientifiques demandent au premier ministre Stephen Harper de rejeter le rapport de la commission fédérale d'examen, qui recommandait l'approbation du projet d'oléoduc Northern Gateway, d'Enbridge.

 

L’attente toujours trop longue au Canada (French)

03-JUN-2014 12:40 PM   Amélie Daoust-Boisvert, Le Devoir

Les temps d’attente pour obtenir des soins de santé s’améliorent légèrement au Canada, mais demeurent trop élevés en comparaison d’autres pays ayant un système universel, selon l’Alliance sur les temps d’attente.

 

David Suzuki: The challenge of sustaining our oceans

03-JUN-2014 08:22 AM   David Suzuki, Straight.com

June 8 is World Oceans Day. It's a fitting time to contemplate humanity's evolving relationship with the source of all life. For much of human history, we've affected marine ecosystems primarily by what we've taken out of the seas. The challenge as we encounter warming temperatures and increasing industrial activity will be to manage what we put into them. As a top predator, humans from the tropics to the poles have harvested all forms of marine life, from the smallest shrimp to the largest whales, from the ocean's surface to its floor. The staggering volume of fish removed from our waters has had a ripple effect through all ocean ecosystems. Yet the ocean continues to provide food for billions of people, and improved fishing practices in many places, including Canada, are leading to healthier marine-life populations. We're slowly getting better at managing what we catch to keep it within the ocean's capacity to replenish. But while we may be advancing in this battle, we're losing the war with climate change and pollution.

 

U.S. urges Canada to act on climate change

03-JUN-2014 08:11 AM   Campbell Clark, The Globe and Mail Ottawa

As President Barack Obama unveiled the first major regulations to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States, his ambassador in Ottawa urged Canada to do the same and take action to combat climate change. It is a reminder to Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the political challenge he now faces: His chief climate-change policy has been to match U.S. action, but now the Americans are getting more aggressive, and publicly suggesting Canada act too. U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, in his first speech since taking office in April, noted the U.S. move unveiled Monday to cut emissions from coal plants by 30 per cent by 2030. And then he called for more action, including on Canada’s fastest-growing source of emissions, oil production.

 

300 scientists slam “flawed” review of Enbridge pipeline

03-JUN-2014 08:08 AM   Mike De Souza, Investigative reporter

Some 300 scientists are urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reject a report that recommended approval of a major oil pipeline to the west coast of British Columbia, describing it as a “flawed analysis” that downplayed key environmental impacts. Following lengthy hearings, a review panel last December recommended approving the project – a 1,177 pipeline network, proposed by energy company Enbridge, that would send 525,000 barrels per day of bitumen, the heavy oil from Alberta’s oilsands, to Kitimat, B.C. The panel recommended 209 conditions be attached to the project approval. But the scientists, led by Kai Chan, an associate professor and principal investigator at the University of British Columbia’s Connecting Human and Natural Systems Lab, sent Harper a letter on Monday concluding that the review’s final report wasn’t balanced and had five major flaws that made it “indefensible.”

 

Marijuana: Santé Canada inondé de demandes (French)

02-JUN-2014 12:56 PM   La Presse Canadienne, Le Devoir

Santé Canada croule sous le grand nombre de demandes de permis pour cultiver de la marijuana à des fins médicales, car plusieurs entreprises veulent participer à l’essor prévu de ce secteur.

 

They call themselves “the people of the land of the willow” and have survived for thousands of years hunting, fishing and trapping along the Athabasca River in northern Alberta. But today the 1,200 members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) are caught up in one of the largest industrial developments on the face of the planet — the expansion of the sprawling, land-devouring oilsands operations intended to produce 5.2 million barrels of oil a day by 2030. The oilsands boom is seen by petroleum companies and the Harper government as essential to Canada’s future economic strength. But to the ACFN, it means something entirely different: Troubling cancer rates, contamination of vital waterways and damage to their homeland, livelihood and culture.

 

What is it about the Harper government's special kink about fisheries -- and the media's failure to hold it to account for its unrelenting assault on it and everything related to it (including environment, foreign affairs and the abuse of Parliament) -- which, more than anything, reveals the government's nasty streak? Consider this episode of fisheries-related Harperism on the international stage. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has drafted guidelines, after five years of member-state consultations, to promote small-scale fisheries worldwide, with the emphasis on sustainability and food security in impoverished countries. Of nearly 100 countries involved, guess which is the only one not signing -- and thereby holding up the procedure under UN rules of unanimity, which could well scuttle it?

 

Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a strong case for parents to accept scientific evidence about the effectiveness of vaccines. “We do have scientists and medical professionals who do great work and verify this and I just think its a tragedy when people start to go off on their own theories and not listen to the scientific evidence,” he told the CBC in an exclusive interview. “Don’t indulge your theories, think of your children and listen to the experts.” Within his own government, scientists and professionals who do research and gather evidence, are urging the prime minister to take a second look at his own theories.

 

Ban Ki-Moon appelle les autres pays à s’engager (French)

31-MAY-2014 01:02 PM   La Presse canadienne, Le Devoir

Le secrétaire général des Nations unies, Ban Ki-moon, a imploré vendredi le Canada d’augmenter son financement de l’aide internationale pour atteindre une ambitieuse cible mondiale, lors de son passage au sommet sur la santé maternelle, néonatale et infantile à Toronto.

 

Reports from earlier this week have confirmed that Canadian meteorologists are forbidden from publicly discussing climate change, on the basis that the mere study of meteorology does not qualify an individual to make predictions past a few months. Science news site IFL Science reported this week that all weather forecasters employed by the Canadian Meteorological Service have been banned from discussing long-term climate change patterns and predictions. Environment Canada spokesperson Mark Johnson said that meteorologists can speak to their specific areas of expertise only.

 

The climate change science cop-out

30-MAY-2014 03:11 PM   Jason Samenow, Washington Post

If you’re asked about climate change science, duck and cover. That’s the spineless strategy of politicians and governments without the courage to discuss or encourage dialog on this important, timely issue. Politico reports some Republicans have recently evaded questions about climate change science with responses such as ”I am not a scientist” or “we are not experts”. On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner said he’s “not qualified to debate the science over climate change” when asked if he thought it was a problem. Meanwhile, the Canadian government has directed its weather forecasters not to talk about climate change according to environmental journalist Mike De Souza. Apparently, Environment Canada doesn’t think its own meteorologists are equipped to talk about climate change, De Souza reports…

 

Climat, météo et fédéral (French only)

29-MAY-2014 02:45 PM   Jean-François Cliche, Le Soleil

Vient-on de découvrir une nouvelle épaisseur de bâillon imposé aux scientifiques fédéraux ? C’est ce que soutient le journaliste politico-environnemental Mike De Souza dans un billet qu’il vient de publier sur son blogue et qui a déclenché une petite tempête sur les réseaux sociaux. Vous me direz bien ce que vous en pensez mais, pour ma part, je suis un peu partagé… Je comprends bien le contexte dans lequel le billet de M. De Souza s’inscrit et je trouve moi aussi démocratiquement dommageable, inexplicable et injustifiable le bâillon que le gouvernement Harper impose aux scientifiques fédéraux. Mon collègue De Souza fait d’ailleurs un bon résumé de ce contexte et insiste beaucoup dessus dans son billet.

 

Innovation and strong business impulses will be driving factors in reducing maternal and child mortality in the post-2015 development agenda, experts said during the final day of Canada’s maternal, newborn and child health summit in Toronto. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said a lot has changed since the the world decided on its Millennium Development Goals in 2000, and now there’s an opportunity to come up with a vision on how to fund aid projects that will “really stretch people’s imagination.” He made the remarks during a panel discussion moderated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which also included Tanzanian President Jakaya M. Kikwete, Plan Canada's Rosemary McCarney, World Health Organization director-general Margaret Chan, and Dr. Rajiv Shah of the United States Agency for International Development.

 

Governments need to loosen muzzles on public-health officers

29-MAY-2014 03:04 PM   André Picard, The Globe and Mail

If we want a healthy population and healthy public policies that support that goal, we need fearless, independent and outspoken Medical Officers of Health. We don’t need toadies doing the biding of government and business – there are enough of those already. And we don’t need more muzzled public employees – there are legions of those already, too. We need Medical Officers of Health to speak health-care truths to power no matter how uncomfortable it makes the powers-that-be. That’s why governments from coast-to-coast-to-coast should pay attention to a call Thursday by the New Brunswick Medical Society to ensure the independence of the public health doctors in the province and, by extension, in every jurisdiction.

 

OTTAWA-Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is describing fresh allegations of muzzling as “absolutely ridiculous.” Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq rejected criticism from opposition New Democratic Party MP Megan Leslie who said the government “will stop at nothing to hide the consequences of climate change.” Leslie raised the issue in the Canadian House of Commons following comments from Environment Canada explaining that its meteorologists were not supposed to talk about climate change in media interviews. Some recently-released quotes from a union survey included comments from a meteorologist who expressed concerns about publicly speaking about climate change and described it as a “career-limiting move.”

 

I like it when people talk about climate change. I even like it when they speak against climate change – as long as they bring arguments and act rationally. People shouldn’t be forbidden from talking about these kind of things, one way or another – everybody should be encouraged to look at the scientific facts, and emit opinions based on them – not half baked media outlets. However, Canada’s government doesn’t think that way. In a survey by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada 86% of respondents said that if a government policy had the potential to harm public health and safety or the environment they “could not share their concerns with the public or media or public without censure or retaliation.”

 

Vaccinations are 'proven to work': Melinda Gates, Stephen Harper

29-MAY-2014 02:49 PM   Trinh Theresa Do, CBC News

Tags Funding Health

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he doesn’t understand why people in the developed world don’t get vaccinated. Harper, speaking alongside Melinda Gates in an exclusive TV interview with the CBC’s Hannah Thibedeau, said vaccinations have been “lifesavers” in our society and elsewhere. “It's hard for me not to get very emotional about this because we know, we scientifically know, what vaccinations and immunizations have done for us, personally, in our generation and for generations after us,” he said on the second day of the government's maternal, newborn and child health summit. “I frankly don't understand people who are walking away in our society from something that's proven to work.”

 

HALIFAX — Canadian scientists are urging the federal government to approve guidelines aimed at protecting small-scale fisheries around the world, but which are being held up by Ottawa over concerns the process has become too politicized. About 70 academics, fisheries experts and ecologists from across the country signed a letter to the prime minister and the ministers of foreign affairs and fisheries, urging them to sanction the document from a committee with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Ratana Chuenpagdee, a Memorial University professor in St. John’s, N.L., who consulted on the guidelines, said they sent the letter Monday after Canada abruptly registered its opposition to certain wording and became the only dissenting voice out of 97 other member states.

 

À la mi-mai, 10 mois après la catastrophe qui a frappé la ville de Lac‑Mégantic, les procureurs du gouvernement du Québec ont déposé des accusations criminelles contre trois employés de première ligne de la société Montréal Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA), alors que les dirigeants, les administrateurs et les propriétaires de l'entreprise échappaient à toute poursuite. Chaque suspect, qui a dû défiler en public, menottes aux poings, dans le plus pur style américain de la « marche du condamné », a été accusé de 47 chefs d'accusation de négligence criminelle ayant causé la mort.

 

Here’s why Statistics Canada’s in so much trouble

28-MAY-2014 02:31 PM   Jason Kirby, MacLean’s

Tags Funding

That Statistics Canada is in chaos is no secret. Incidents of poor or incomplete data have been highlighted with increasing and disturbing regularity. The barren wasteland of Canadian statistics was already a concern before Auditor-General Michael Ferguson warned the government has serious gaps in its numbers around job vacancies. Earlier this month the agency’s director of labour statistics said any new survey on vacancies would cost “well over” $5 million and budget cuts make that impossible. So yeah, StatsCan’s a mess. But it’s still easy to forget just how deep the job cuts at the agency have been. Today StatsCan released figures about Ottawa’s spending on science and technology, and buried in the tables was a breakdown of federal workers engaged in science and technology by department and agency, including StatsCan.

 

Melanoma a fast rising cancer in Canada

28-MAY-2014 02:25 PM   CBC News

Tags

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is on the rise among Canadian men and women, but it is also one of the most preventable forms, according to a new report. The Canadian Cancer Society’s annual statistics report shows skin cancer rates in the past two decades have increased, especially among those over 50. Yet it’s the risky trends among younger people that the society is worried about. "More Canadians are spending time out in the sun and protecting themselves less than they used to," said Prithwish De, an epidemiologist with the Canadian Cancer Society in Toronto. It's the younger Canadians under the age of 30, specifically between the ages of 16 and 24, that tend to spend the most time out in the sun without protecting themselves very much and also that's the same age group that tends to use indoor tanning the most."

 

What Do Canadians Value? The Government No Longer Knows

27-MAY-2014 02:20 PM   Sean Holman, TheTyee.ca

Tags Funding

As a result of a lack of federal government funding, Canada wasn't included in the most recent World Values Survey -- one of the few means we have of knowing what our values are, how we differ from people in other countries and whether those values have changed over time. The survey, which uses face-to-face interviews rather than phone calls, has happened six times over the past 33 years, with the most recent conducted in 59 different countries. Respondents answer a questionnaire that measures nearly 250 indicators covering everything from someone's feelings about race to their political leanings. In the past, the survey has included Canada, with 2,164 Canadian respondents in 2005 and 1,931 in 2000.

 

Weather forecasters at Environment Canada aren’t supposed to discuss climate change in public, says a Canadian government spokesman. Environment Canada made the comments in response to emailed questions about its communications policy. The department defended its policy by suggesting that Environment Canada meteorologists – among the most widely-quoted group of government experts in media reports and broadcasts – weren’t qualified to answer questions about climate change. “Environment Canada scientists speak to their area of expertise,” said spokesman Mark Johnson in an email. “For example, our Weather Preparedness Meteorologists are experts in their field of severe weather and speak to this subject. Questions about climate change or long-term trends would be directed to a climatologist or other applicable authority.”

 

Salmon farmers fish for federal legislation

27-MAY-2014 01:59 PM   Patrick Blennerhassett, Business Vancouver

Tags

The lack of a federal aquaculture act is hurting British Columbia salmon farming, and the sector as a whole in Canada, say industry leaders. “We’re the only seafood farming industry in the world that doesn’t have its own legislation,” said Ruth Salmon, the executive director of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA). Salmon and Jeremy Dunn, the BC Salmon Farmers Association’s executive director, both say the system in place, coming under provincial and federal jurisdiction, is inefficient and outdated. They cite as examples fishing licences, which last for only one year even though salmon can take up to two years to farm, and the confusion arising from having both the provincial Ministry of Agriculture and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans independently oversee specific industry guidelines.

 

Genome research has been a boon for unravelling the mysteries surrounding autism, allowing scientists to identify around 100 altered genes associated with the neurodevelopmental disorder. But genome research has also compounded the puzzle of autism. Those who display the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may carry the same number of genetic mutations as their unaffected siblings. One person with ASD will carry mutations totally different from the next, and half of those diagnosed will have none of the known mutations at all. “There are no common patterns,” says Stephen Scherer, director of the Hospital for Sick Children’s Centre for Applied Genomics. The new research, published in the journal Nature Genetics, suggests that autism begins to develop in the womb. It will help clinicians diagnose ASD earlier — hugely important, since autism is easier to treat the earlier it is caught.

 

Isotope maker Nordion sale faces final hurdle with shareholders

25-MAY-2014 01:51 PM   Richard Blackwell, The Globe and Mail

Nordion Inc., the Canadian medical isotope provider with a long and storied history, is about to become part of an American company. Created almost seven decades ago as the radium sales department of Eldorado Mining and Refining Ltd., Nordion took over the sale of radioisotopes from the nuclear research facility at Chalk River, Ont., before becoming part of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. in the 1950s. It was part of MDS Health Group for two decades before being spun off as a standalone public company in 2010. And if shareholders give their okay at a meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nordion will move into its next phase – as the subsidiary of a U.S. company based in Chicago.

 

Canadian astronomers hope for spectacular meteor shower

22-MAY-2014 01:48 PM   Ivan Semeniuk, The Globe and Mail

Astronomers are gearing up for some celestial fireworks when Earth hurtles through a curtain of space dust a million kilometres thick later this week. Although predictions range widely, the result may be an exceptionally good meteor shower in the wee hours of May 24, just when Canada has a front-row seat. “I’m hopeful this is going to be one for the top ten list,” says Paul Wiegert, an astronomer at the University of Western Ontario. Meteors, sometimes called shooting stars, appear as glowing specks of light that streak rapidly across the night sky. They are caused by small bits of interplanetary debris, from pea-size rocks to powder-size specks, that tear into the atmosphere, usually at speeds well above 50,000 kilometres per hour, and burn up while still high above Earth’s surface.

 

Group wants probe of B.C. salmon farms

22-MAY-2014 01:44 PM   Mark Hume, Vancouver — The Globe and Mail

Officials at an environment commission established under the North American free-trade agreement are calling for an investigation into whether Canada is enforcing pollution laws around salmon farms in British Columbia. In a statement released Thursday, the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation said there are grounds to investigate complaints “that Canada is failing to effectively enforce fish habitat protection and pollution prevention provisions … in relation to salmon aquaculture operations authorized by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in coastal B.C.” The CEC’s three-member governing council – which is made up of the highest-ranking environmental officials of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. – now has until Aug. 12 to vote on whether to accept the secretariat’s recommendation.

 

Le traité transatlantique ne fait pas grand bruit aux É.-U. (French)

22-MAY-2014 01:04 PM   Jeremy Tordjman, La Presse

 

Ministers say salmon not being restored in Fraser River

21-MAY-2014 01:34 PM   Mark Hume, Vancouver — The Globe and Mail

Almost none of the 75 recommendations B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen made on how to restore sockeye stocks in the Fraser River have been acted on by Ottawa, two federal ministers indicate. Critics have long accused the government of failing to follow up on the $26-million Cohen Commission report in a meaningful way. But it wasn’t until Liberal MP Lawrence MacAulay recently asked detailed questions about which recommendations were adopted that the government verified the extent of its actions.

 

Des coupes en santé sont possibles (French)

24-MAY-2014 10:22 AM   Claude Lafleur, Le Devoir

Tags Health

Comme tout le monde, Daniel Boyer, président de la Fédération des travailleurs du Québec (FTQ), se demande comment le nouveau gouvernement parviendra à remettre d’aplomb notre système de santé.

 

The made-in-Canada problem facing nuclear medicine

26-MAY-2014 10:18 AM   Kelly Crowe, CBC News

Albert Mann winced as he sat upright on the scanner bed to talk to me. A large camera had just processed an image of his body, reading the gamma rays radiating from his bones. I asked him what he had to do to prepare for this test. "What did I have to do? Get cancer," he said.

 

Toronto, ON – A new letter from the Canadian government reveals it is trying to undermine NAFTA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to stop an investigation into the lack of enforcement of the federal Fisheries Act pertaining to leaking toxic liquid waste from tar sands tailings lakes. “This letter is the latest in a dangerous pattern of the federal government systematically attacking anything that gets in the way of its reckless plans for tar sands expansion,” says Hannah McKinnon of Environmental Defence. “The government has muzzled scientists, gutted environmental laws, shut the public out of pipeline hearings, attacked environmental organizations, abandoned other international treaties, and now it is attacking the respected CEC for doing what it is mandated to do – look into the pollution of our water.”

 

Departments holding onto ATIPS: documents

21-MAY-2014 09:03 AM   Annie Bergeron-Oliver, iPolitics

Tags Health

Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault’s wrist slap over Canada’s access to information regime seems to have done little to spur change in the intervening months, new documents indicate. The information commissioner raised concerns last year that the country’s access to information system was broken and in need of desperate repair. Complaints were up nine per cent, and departments were short-staffed, waiting up to six months before even responding to request, Legault found in her most recent annual report. But ahead of the release of the Commissioner’s 2013-2014 report, parliamentary documents appear to show the landscape has not changed. Order paper documents released earlier this month show numerous federal government departments are holding onto access to information requests for more than 120 days, and are routinely requesting three to six month extensions.

 

Climate change plan due in September: Hancock

21-MAY-2014 09:00 AM   Karen Kleiss and Erika Stark, Edmonton Journal and

EDMONTON - Alberta’s strategy to address climate change and carbon emissions could become clearer in September, with the release of a new climate change plan and potential renewal of the provincial carbon tax rules. Premier Dave Hancock said that with carbon levy regulations set to expire Sept. 1, provincial leaders are debating how to move forward. “The in situ (oilsands) operators would argue that they’ve done a lot of technological improvements and they’re not really on the verge of another breakthrough at the moment, so what is their innovation opportunity to get reduction? They don’t see one right now,” Hancock said.

 

Nanoparticle exposure test developed by Canadian scientists

21-MAY-2014 08:56 AM   Emily Chung, CBC News

Tags Health

Canadian researchers have developed the first test for exposure to nanoparticles — new chemical technology found in a huge range of consumer products — that could potentially be used on humans. Warren Chan, a University of Toronto chemistry professor, and his team developed the skin test after noticing that some mice changed colour and others became fluorescent (that is, they glowed when light of certain colours were shone on them) after being exposed to increasing levels of different kinds of nanoparticles. The mice were being used in research to develop cancer treatments involving nanoparticles. The research by Chan and his team is in a recent issue of the journal Nature Communications.

 

Peter MacKay should heed evidence, not eliminate it: Editorial

20-MAY-2014 03:13 PM   The Star, Editorials

Tags Funding

Of all the many parts of the federal justice budget, the Conservative government has found exactly the wrong one to cut. A Canadian Press report last week revealed that in April, $1.2 million was removed from the department’s research budget – 20 per cent of the total. As a result, eight researchers have lost their jobs. The dual purpose of the cut, in the convoluted, vaguely ominous words of Justice Minister Peter MacKay: “To ensure that we bring value to hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars” and that “research is … undertaken to obtain information to support priorities of government.” But if the government wants to reduce the justice budget it ought to heed the evidence, not eliminate it. Since the Conservatives took power in 2006, justice spending has risen by more than 30 per cent, even as the crime rate has continued its steady, two-decade-long, largely demographics-driven decline.

 

Climate change research shows pockets of warming around world

20-MAY-2014 08:53 AM   Margo McDiarmid, CBC News

The world is getting warmer, but it's not happening at same pace around the globe, according to research by scientists at Florida State University. The research also suggests the greatest warming is happening in a swath of the world including Canada. The team of four scientists used new techniques to measure the short- and long-term fluctuations in land and surface air temperatures from the year 1900 onward. This let them show for the first time in more detail how different regions around the world have different rates of warming and, in some cases, cooling.

 

This spring most Canadian corn and soybean growers will be planting another crop of pesticide-coated seeds, even as researchers raise new warnings that the practice may have deadly side effects for bees and other wildlife. The heated debate around the use of the neonicotinoid-coated seeds, developed by Bayer CropScience and introduced here about a decade ago, has divided farmers, beekeepers and scientists, and turned Canada into a kind of environmental battlefront. To protect its bees, Europe banned the use of neonic pesticides last year, while U.S. authorities have so far taken a more cautious approach, saying these pesticides are just one possible factor in the collapse of so many bee colonies. Bayer filed a court challenge against the EU ban in August last year, saying the EU has wrongly linked the pesticide to bee deaths.

 

Lac-Mégantic: Suppressing the Truth Behind Regulatory Failure

20-MAY-2014 08:45 AM   Bruce Campbell, National Newswatch

Tags Regulation

Last week, 10 months after disaster struck the town of Lac-Mégantic, Québec government prosecutors laid criminal charges against three front-line employees of Montréal Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA). Each suspect, paraded publicly in handcuffs in a classic U.S. style “perp walk,” was charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death. Residents reacted with disbelief at the travesty of the bankrupt MMA, which was also charged and only faces fines if convicted. Its senior executives, directors, and owners have escaped prosecution while the three employees face life behind bars. For those hoping to achieve justice through the criminal courts, this is a cautionary tale.

 

HOWARDS COVE - A Howards Cove seafood processing plant has not had its registration renewed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). A CIFA spokesperson said Red Cove seafood processing was allowed to resume operations following an earlier suspension on April 14 under ongoing inspection by CFIA. On May 8, CFIA decided not to renew Red Cove’s registration. Red Cove Seafood Products Inc. in Howard’s Cove was given the first new lobster processing licence in more than a decade on April 30 this year.

 

VANCOUVER -- The mountains of British Columbia cradle glaciers that have scored the landscape over millennia, shaping the rugged West Coast since long before it was the West Coast. But they're in rapid retreat, and an American state-of-the-union report on climate change has singled out the rapid melt in British Columbia and Alaska as a major climate change issue. "Most glaciers in Alaska and British Columbia are shrinking substantially," said the U.S. National Climate Assessment, released last week to much fanfare south of the border. "This trend is expected to continue and has implications for hydropower production, ocean circulation patterns, fisheries, and global sea level rise."

 

WOODY POINT, N.L.—On a cold, clear Newfoundland morning last week, a man slicked neck to toe in whale grease read aloud from a sort of shopping list. The man covered in grease was Burton Lim, assistant curator of mammalogy at the Royal Ontario Museum. The wish list was from Jack Lawson, a marine mammal research scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. And they were “shopping” from the exposed abdominal cavity of a subway-car-length, 100-plus-tonne dead blue whale. The whale had floated to the shore of Trout River, Newfoundland, two weeks ago, bloated with gas, captivating the world with the threat it might explode. It didn’t. But after the ROM gained permission to take the whale’s skeleton back to Ontario, the gods of gross-out news handed reporters a new gift.

 

Quand la guerre du climat se fait devant les tribunaux (French)

16-MAY-2014 11:20 AM   Agence Science-Presse

Et c’est du coup un soulagement pour les universitaires, toutes disciplines confondues, dont la liberté d’expression aurait été mise à mal s’il s’était avéré que leurs correspondances privées relevaient du domaine public. Le jugement, rendu le 17 avril par la cour supérieure de l’État de Virginie, conclut que les courriels du climatologue Michael Mann sont de propriété privée parce qu’en lien avec des recherches académiques, et ne relèvent donc pas de la loi de la Virginie sur l’accès à l’information — qui s’adresse aux organismes gouvernementaux ou relevant de l’État. La poursuite avait été déclenchée, il y a trois ans, par l’American Tradition Institute (ATI), un organisme dénoncé à l’époque pour ses « attaques personnelles contre les climatologues », par l’Association américaine pour l’avancement des sciences.

 

$3.2M forest research lab being built in Sussex

16-MAY-2014 08:17 AM   CBC News

Tags NRC Forestry

A $3.2-million forest research lab being built in Sussex is expected to create better quality, insect-tolerant, resilient seedlings for planting across the region. It could lead to higher-value Canadian planted trees and much faster regeneration of managed forests, federal, provincial and J.D. Irving Limited officials announced on Friday. Rob Moore, minister of state for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, spoke at the research lab announcement in Sussex on behalf of federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford. (Brian Chisholm/CBC). The new facility, which will be operated by Maritime Innovation Limited, a division of JDI, will produce four million seedlings a year by the plant reproduction method called somatic embryogenesis (SE).

 

Life expectancy in Canada and other countries around the world is growing, according to a new report from the World Health Organization, with most of the progress apparent in low-income countries. In Canada, average life expectancy for males born in 2012 is 80 and for females 84, the agency said in Thursday’s report, World Health Statistics 2014. In comparison, males born in Canada in 1990 could expect to live to 74 and females to 81 on average.

 

Ottawa’s new pipeline rules may address B.C.’s demands

14-MAY-2014 11:11 AM   Mark Hume and Justine Hunter, Vancouver & Victoria

A day after announcing new safety measures for tankers, the federal government has introduced tougher regulations for pipelines, taking a “big step” toward meeting British Columbia’s requirements for approving projects to the West Coast. Under the changes, the National Energy Board will be given increased regulatory control over the 73,000 kilometres of pipeline that transport more than $100-billion worth of oil, gas and petroleum products across Canada each year. The new regulations, announced Wednesday by Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford and Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, require the NEB to increase the number of oil and gas pipeline inspections by 50 per cent annually and to double the number of yearly safety audits.

 

Researchers say farmed salmon escapes aren't being tracked by DFO

14-MAY-2014 11:05 AM   George Baker, CBC Television

Fisheries and Oceans Canada have not been adequately tracking escapes Atlantic salmon, says a new report from the University of Victoria's Environmental Studies department. George Baker brings us this story.

 

Canadians Have a Bright Future in Innovative Healthcare

14-MAY-2014 11:02 AM   Russell Williams, Huffington Post - Politics

One of Canada's biggest economic opportunities is to find solutions that will result in a greater number of Canadian ideas making it into the marketplace. Innovation -- the creation of a new product, new service or an improved way of doing something better than something that existed before -- is essential to create jobs into today's knowledge economy and ensure our future. Although Canada is the world's 11th biggest economy, according to the latest data from the World Intellectual Property Organization we rank 19th in the total number of direct resident trademark applications -- so we clearly have potential to strengthen our performance.

 

The struggle to keep the Experimental Lakes Area

14-MAY-2014 10:55 AM   Thomas Hall, Wildlife – Canadian Geographic

The lakes allow scientists to study the impact of pollutants on entire ecosystems, and, since opening in 1968, have provided reams of invaluable data. But for the past two years the ELA has been making headlines for reasons other than research. “It was May 17, 2012, the day that changed so many of our lives,” says Diane Orihel, who at the time was a visiting University of Alberta graduate student who’d been working at the ELA on and off for a decade. She remembers seeing the facility’s scientists as they made their way to the meeting where Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials announced that the ELA’s federal funding would be cut. At first she was shocked. Then she acted. “I felt like I needed to be a voice for the muzzled scientists in the room,” she says. Familiar with the ELA’s research, politics and, unlike the full-time scientists who worked there, not an employee of the federal government, she was well positioned to speak her mind.

 

The announcement caused outrage in the international science community, among journalists and the general public. The Harper government, bewildered that there would be such widespread support for an obscure low-budget field station, quickly changed its story: they would be seeking a new operator for the site. Only one such operator showed interest: the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Winnipeg-based think tank. Negotiations between DFO and IISD began in the autumn of that year. March 31, 2014 was set as a target date for an agreement.

 

Les casseurs de science (French)

13-MAY-2014 10:44 AM   Valérie Borde, L’Actualité

Quand donc nos politiciens vont-ils arrêter de nuire à la science et à l’innovation en changeant sans cesse les structures gouvernementales qui en sont responsables ? Déjà, en 1986, le défunt Conseil de la science et de la technologie critiquait, dans son rapport de conjoncture (pdf), le remaniement fréquent des structures des politiques scientifique et technologique depuis qu’elles avaient été mises sur pied au Québec, à la fin des années 1970. La perception d’une instabilité permanente des institutions gouvernementales responsables de la politique scientifique et technologique risque d’engendrer une confusion et à terme, une perte de crédibilité auprès des représentants des milieux industriels et universitaires et même auprès des gestionaires de la fonction publique.

 

L’exploitation d’uranium comporte des risques (French)

13-MAY-2014 10:41 AM   Alexandre Shields, Le Devoir

La coalition Québec meilleure mine estime qu’une nouvelle étude produite par l’Institut national de la santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) met en lumière «de nombreux risques, impacts et incertitudes» liés à l’exploitation d’uranium. La publication de cette étude, passée relativement inaperçue, survient à quelques jours du début de l’étude de la filière uranifère par le Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement. Le document de plus de 300 pages conclut essentiellement qu’il existe énormément d’incertitudes quant aux impacts sur la santé humaine imputables à l’exploitation d’une mine d’uranium. Une bonne part de ce flou tient au fait qu’il existe très peu de données permettant d’évaluer correctement les effets potentiels des éléments radioactifs.

 

It's time we trusted scientists on global warming

13-MAY-2014 10:36 AM   Michael Gerson, Calgary Herald

Science has its own explanation for why people are often resistant to scientific beliefs. In evolutionary theory (assuming you believe such a thing), our intuitions about the physical world are generally accurate on a human scale - calculating the proper force and trajectory to hit a mammoth with a spear. But on matters that are not immediately related to our survival - say, on quantum motion, or the nature of black holes - our intuitions are pretty much useless. Science has often advanced in an uphill fight against common intuitions. Resistance to evolution in America is often associated with conservative religion. And skepticism about climate change is correlated with libertarian and free-market beliefs.

 

Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt

12-MAY-2014 10:33 AM   Justin Gillis and Kenneth Chang

A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries. Global warming caused by the human-driven release of greenhouse gases has helped to destabilize the ice sheet, though other factors may also be involved, the scientists said.

 

Canada’s national energy regulator is spending months, and in some cases years, tied up in discussions and paperwork with Canadian pipeline companies that break federal rules, according to its own records. The National Energy Board has the power to prosecute or impose fines, but in several recent cases involving spills, ruptures or inadequate infrastructure, the records — including investigation reports, audits and correspondence — show that the board generally responded to incidents with warnings or orders to restrict pipeline pressure and fix defects.

 

Internal survey blasts feds for missing database: long form census

11-MAY-2014 10:19 AM   Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press

Tags Census Funding

The Conservative government has touted the thousands of databases it is making public as proof of its openness and transparency. But key data users in a Treasury Board survey complained about one giant database that has actually disappeared: the long-form census, killed by the Harper government in 2011 and again for the 2016 census. Treasury Board President Tony Clement has repeatedly rebuffed complaints the government is opaque about information, citing in part its Open Government Action Plan, which includes the web posting of 200,000 data sets available for free download on data.gc.ca.

 

All Science Is Wrong, Concludes Esteemed Fox News Panel

09-MAY-2014 10:07 AM   Jonathan Chait, New York Intel

There is no issue where educated ignorance is on more perfect display than watching the conservative movement confront scientific evidence of climate change. George F. Will and Charles Krauthammer are two of the intellectual giants of the right, former winners of the Bradley Foundation’s $250,000 annual prize, Washington Post columnists, and Fox News All-Star panelists. On their Fox News All-Star Panel appearance this week, both men discussed the U.S. National Climate Assessment, which they dismissed with various irritable mental gestures. Their evasions and misstatements, clothed in faux-erudition, offer a useful entrance point to study the current state of the right-wing mind. What follows is an annotated analysis of Will and Krauthammer’s remarks, the intellectual quality of which starts off low, and grows increasingly and even frighteningly so as the program progresses. After a brief introduction of the climate report.

 

Washington sonne l’alarme (French)

07-MAY-2014 10:04 AM   Alexandre Shields, Le Devoir

Un nouveau rapport du gouvernement américain vient confirmer que les changements climatiques ont déjà des impacts significatifs sur le territoire du deuxième émetteur de gaz à effet de serre de la planète. Les dommages associés aux bouleversements du climat « devraient devenir de plus en plus perturbateurs à travers le pays au cours de ce siècle et au-delà », prévient aussi ce document intitulé National Climate Assessment. Mais déjà, les effets se font sentir dans différentes régions du pays. C’est notamment le cas en Alaska, un État qui « s’est réchauffé deux fois plus vite que le reste des États-Unis », note le rapport, en pointant des « changements majeurs aux écosystèmes » dus à la disparition des glaciers, ainsi que des « dégâts aux infrastructures » avec le dégel du pergélisol.

 

Scientists discover ancient nine-kilometre-wide crater in Alberta

07-MAY-2014 10:01 AM   Ivan Semeniuk, The Globe and Mail

Tags Space

Scientists are reporting a newly discovered impact crater in southern Alberta. The crater is so large that creatures standing 200 kilometres away (on the site of present-day Calgary, for instance) would have received first-degree burns from the explosion that created it. “It would have been roughly 200 times the energy released in the largest-ever nuclear blast,” said Doug Schmitt, a geophysicist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

 

StatsCan can't get good data on small areas, report says

07-MAY-2014 09:31 AM   Jason Fekete, Postmedia News

Tags

Canada's main survey on job openings across the country is often unreliable and regularly does not provide an accurate employment picture for governments and the private sector, the federal auditor general says in a new report on Statistics Canada. The federal government has already come under fire for relying on what opposition parties say is sketchy data about the jobs market in Canada. The Conservatives, until recently, had been using job vacancy information from classified websites such as Kijiji to help identify labour needs and whether temporary foreign workers were required in certain sectors.

 

Minister unveils whistleblower legislation

06-MAY-2014 09:24 AM   The Western Star

Tags Muzzling

Public Engagement Minister Steve Kent finally took the wraps off whistleblower legislation. Public Engagement Minister Steve Kent speaks to reporters about new whistleblower legislation. Kent called it a "new and very significant" law, which will protect public servants who see wrongdoing on the job. Any public employee can make a report if they see something criminal, unsafe, or something that's a "gross mismanagement" of public resources. Public servants go to the Office of the Citizen's Representative to make the complaint, and then the province's ombudsman will investigate the situation. The act also puts in place a mechanism for employees to get satisfaction through the Labour Relations Board if they feel like there's been reprisal because they made a whistleblower report.

 

Group calls on NEB to revise Kinder Morgan hearing proceedings

06-MAY-2014 09:24 AM   Mark Hume, Vancouver — The Globe and Mail

National Energy Board restrictions on who can participate in the Kinder Morgan pipeline review are being challenged by a group of people who say they have been robbed of their right to free speech. In a notice of motion, the NEB is being asked to reject as unconstitutional recent federal legislative changes to the National Energy Board Act that limit public participation in hearings on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion proposal. “As a result, NEB hearings have lost their essential purpose. If the public cannot be heard, the public interest cannot be assessed,” said David Martin, legal counsel to the applicants.

 

Health regulation update aims to reduce disease at fish farms

06-MAY-2014 09:19 AM   Michael Gorman, Herald News

The fisheries and aquaculture minister says an update of the province’s health regulations for fish farms will increase information for department staff as the industry develops. A call for proposals was issued this month that would see an extensive, yearlong review and update with the aim of controlling disease pathogens of fish and establishing steps to prevent or control disease outbreaks. “We’re trying to set a new standard for the industry and make sure we have the documentation to back it up,” said Keith Colwell.

 

L’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) a décrété lundi un état « d’urgence de santé publique de portée globale » à la suite de la propagation de la poliomyélite dans plusieurs pays. « Si elle n’est pas contrôlée, la situation pourrait mettre en échec l’éradication globale d’une des maladies les plus graves que l’on puisse empêcher par la vaccination », souligne le communiqué. L’OMS estime que les foyers potentiels de pandémie sont le Pakistan, le Cameroun et la Syrie, et demande aux autorités locales de mener des campagnes de vaccination pour ceux qui doivent voyager.

 

NEB figures show oil exports by rail up 900 per cent

06-MAY-2014 08:59 AM   Lauren Krugel, Calgary — The Canadian Press

Tags Energy

New National Energy Board figures show that oil-by-rail exports have risen more than 900 per cent in less than two years, but that’s still far behind what’s moving by pipeline – and by what the stalled Keystone XL alone aims to carry. The Canadian energy regulator’s numbers, released Monday, show that more than 146,000 barrels a day were exported on trains to the United States in the past three months of 2013, compared with just under 16,000 in the first three months of 2012. But in all of 2013, less than 5 per cent of Canada’s 2.6 million barrels a day of crude oil exports moved by rail, according to a separate NEB report released in March.

 

Something is wrong in Canada

06-MAY-2014 08:55 AM   Hans Rollmann, The independent.ca

Warming waters. Coastal erosion. Erratic fish behaviour patterns. If climate change is becoming an increasingly potent reality, in a country whose government has by all appearances dedicated itself to the pursuit of oil and to stifling environmental activism, what will be the actual consequences for everyday Canadians? Or, as O’Neill Yates put it: “Who’s going to pay the price?” […]. Yet at a time when the risks to Canadians are becoming more pronounced, the federal government has been systematically dismantling its own ability to analyze and respond to that risk. By eliminating the mandatory long-form census, by attempting to defund vital climate change research facilities, by transferring public research dollars to the whims of corporate industry (by stacking research granting councils with political and corporate appointees, for instance), and by curtailing scientists’ free speech, the federal government is shutting down Canada’s first line of defense against the risks of a world undergoing rapid change.

 

Health emergency declared over global resurgence of polio

05-MAY-2014 02:08 PM   Margaret Munro, Postmedia News

Tags Health

A crippling disease that had almost been eradicated is on the move prompting the World Health Organization to declare the spread of polio an international public health emergency. The resurgence threatens to unravel a nearly three-decade effort to eradicate polio, which can lead to partial and sometimes fatal paralysis. WHO’s declaration that polio is now a “public health emergency of international concern” is extraordinary, only the second time the UN agency has given such a designation; the first was prompted by the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009. While the risk to Canadians is low, the Public Health Agency of Canada advises people travelling to affected countries to ensure they’re vaccinated.

 

Managers at Health Canada admitted that changes to the department's library services would lead to risks to the department's credibility and its ability to produce evidence-based decisions, according to documents obtained by CBC News. The managers' concerns have one observer saying that if the federal health minister doesn't reverse the changes, "she's putting Canadians at serious risk." The Access to Information documents reveal management's point of view during a number of changes that saw staff cut, the physical library moved across town to a National Research Council facility and scientists forced to use a new computer system called Infotrieve to get research material.

 

Le mauvais train (French)

05-MAY-2014 08:34 AM   Jean-François Nadeau, Le Devoir

Tags

Combien de fois le scénario de Lac-Mégantic se répètera-t-il ? La semaine dernière encore, à Lynchburg, en Virginie, une ville de 80 000 habitants, des flammes ont léché le ciel après que des wagons de pétrole brut eurent explosé à proximité de la rivière James. La fumée noire corbeau était visible à des kilomètres à la ronde tandis que le pétrole gluant s’agrippait à la terre. Au Dakota du Nord, le 30 décembre 2013, quelque 1,5 million de litres de brut se sont répandus depuis des wagons-citernes renversés. Le 13 janvier 2014, à Plaster Rock au Nouveau-Brunswick, d’autres wagons-citernes ont flambé durant des jours, forçant l’évacuation du village. Au Canada, 144 accidents ferroviaires mettant en cause des matières dangereuses ont été rapportés en 2013.

 

When it comes to LNG, Clark is out to deliver – but at what cost?

04-MAY-2014 09:10 AM   Mark Hume, The Globe and Mail – Vancouver

When the Council of Canadian Academies examined the impact of shale-gas development on the environment, researchers found a disturbing shortage of data on issues of deep concern to British Columbians. The gas industry, which Premier Christy Clark is selling this week in a trade mission to Asia, is booming in B.C. There are currently 13 liquefied natural gas plants proposed and if they go ahead, up to 6,000 new wells could be drilled to supply them. But what will the development of all those wells, pipelines and processing plants mean in terms of environmental impact?

 

Ces ondes omniprésentes dans nos vies (French)

03-MAY-2014 01:49 PM   Pauline Gravel, Le Devoir

Tags Health

Absolument personne n’y échappe sur la planète. Autant à l’intérieur de nos habitations que dans le fond de la campagne, nous sommes tous exposés aux champs électromagnétiques engendrés par les radiofréquences émises par les tours de téléphonie cellulaire, les antennes de radiodiffusion (télévision et radio), les téléphones cellulaires, ainsi que les bornes Bluetooth et Wi-Fi donnant accès à des réseaux Internet sans fil. Alors que ces différentes sources d’émissions se multiplient dans notre environnement, plusieurs redoutent leurs effets sur la santé. La science nous démontre qu’il n’y a pas lieu de s’inquiéter dans les conditions actuelles.

 

Même si les océans sont indissociables du paysage canadien, plusieurs scientifiques estiment que le gouvernement Harper a tout simplement décidé de leur tourner le dos en supprimant des pans entiers de la recherche sur ces milieux fragilisés. « Pêches et Océans Canada n’a plus la moindre expertise en science environnementale dans le domaine de la contamination et de la protection des habitats marins contre la contamination », résume et déplore Émilien Pelletier, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en écotoxicologie marine à l’Université du Québec à Rimouski. Ottawa a effectivement imposé des compressions majeures au ministère chargé de veiller à la santé des océans qui bordent les côtes canadiennes. En plus des dizaines de postes supprimés à travers le pays, le gouvernement a fermé cinq laboratoires de Pêches et Océans, dont celui de l’Institut Maurice-Lamontagne de Mont-Joli. Il se consacrait précisément à l’écotoxicologie.

 

La vraie nature des radiofréquences (French)

03-MAY-2014 11:38 AM   Pauline Gravel, Le Devoir

Tags Health

La nature des interactions qui ont lieu entre les ondes électromagnétiques et l’organisme humain dépend de la fréquence de ces ondes, soit le nombre d’oscillations par seconde. Plus cette fréquence est élevée, plus les ondes, ou les particules auxquelles elles sont associées en vertu de la dualité onde-particule décrite par la mécanique quantique, sont dotées d’énergie. Ainsi, les ondes de très hautes fréquences, telles que les rayons gamma émis par les substances radioactives, les rayons X et les ultraviolets, possèdent suffisamment d’énergie pour arracher un électron aux atomes et casser une liaison chimique, voire « changer la chimie du corps et causer le cancer », souligne le physicien Normand Mousseau de l’Université de Montréal. C’est pourquoi on les dénomme « rayonnements ionisants ».

 

Government Nurtures Innovation

02-MAY-2014 11:32 AM   Government Nurtures Innovation

But that’s exactly what Manzi has done in a new and important essay in the spring issue of National Affairs — an essay that is getting widespread attention. Titled “The New American System,” Manzi’s essential point is that American innovation — the key to our prosperity — has always relied, to some extent, on government support. In the early days of the republic, he writes, Alexander Hamilton proposed government help for the developing manufacturing industries — “the high-tech sector of its day.” Hamilton’s basic insight, he adds, was “that the enormous economic value that innovative industries could offer the nation merited public efforts to enable their success.”

 

Rapport alarmant sur l'extraction du gaz de schiste (French)

02-MAY-2014 09:05 AM   Martin Croteau, La Presse

À la demande de l'ancien ministre de l'Environnement, Peter Kent, le Conseil des académies canadiennes s'est penché sur l'impact de l'extraction par fracturation hydraulique. Son rapport final, publié hier matin, conclut que les effets de cette technique sont, somme toute, méconnus. Ses auteurs appellent les autorités à mieux surveiller cette industrie. «Les affirmations de l'industrie concernant ses prouesses technologiques ou les affirmations du gouvernement selon lesquelles les effets environnementaux sont acceptables ne seront pas suffisantes pour obtenir l'acceptation du public, peut-on lire dans le document. Pour ce faire, il faudra assurer une surveillance transparente et crédible des incidences environnementales.»

 

10 Health stories that mattered this week

02-MAY-2014 08:53 AM   Canadian Medical Association Journal

The dangers of fracking to the environment and human health have not been properly monitored or considered, according to a report by a panel of 14 international experts, commissioned by Environment Canada. The extent of potential risks, such as natural gas entering the water supply or from chemicals used during fracking, cannot be assessed because of a lack of information, states the report.

 

Canada extends search for new lab director

01-MAY-2014 11:09 AM   Helen Branswell, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - The federal government has made some changes to its eyebrow raising job posting for the position of head of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory. The revised posting drops the requirement that the lab director must be bilingual and is extending the period of time candidates have to apply, Dr. Gregory Taylor, the acting head of the Public Health Agency of Canada said in an interview Thursday. He also said the agency would appoint a small advisory committee to help it find the right candidate, and would seek advice from the former director, Dr. Frank Plummer. The members of the committee haven't yet been selected, he said, but insisted they would be "top-flight individuals."

 

A rising tide: the case against Canada as a world citizen

01-MAY-2014 11:27 AM   Chris David Simms, The Lancet Global Health

A generation ago, Canada was perceived to be an exemplary global citizen by the rest of the world: it took the lead on a host of international issues, including the Convention of Child Rights, freedom of information, acid rain, world peacekeeping, sanctions against South Africa's apartheid regime, and humanitarian and development assistance—much of this under conservative leadership. During recent years, Canada's reputation as a global citizen has slipped, in recent months more precipitously than ever before, and in new directions. The Climate Action Network1 recently ranked Canada 55th of 58 countries in tackling of greenhouse emissions. Results of other analyses2 show a government systematically removing obstacles to resource extraction initiatives by gutting existing legislation, cutting budgets of relevant departments, and eliminating independent policy and arms-length monitoring bodies.

 

Politicians go on the attack after scientists call for more research into fracking

01-MAY-2014 11:08 AM   Peter O'Neil and Rob Shaw, Vancouver Sun

OTTAWA — Deputy Premier Rich Coleman challenged Thursday the conclusions of a scientific panel into the environmental effect of shale gas development using fracking. The group of Canadian and U.S. scientists, appointed in 2011 by former federal environment minister Peter Kent to examine the sector’s potential and risks across Canada, urge a cautionary, go-slow approach until more research is done on a relatively new sector. Coleman, responsible for an industry that Victoria considers an economic linchpin for decades, said the B.C. industry is advanced and a model for the world.

 

Fisheries Act changes include too much power: Myers

01-MAY-2014 11:05 AM   Teresa Wright, The Guardian

Tags Fisheries

Opposition Leader Steven Myers raised concerns Tuesday about an amendment made to the Fisheries Act that grants Fisheries minister power to issue processing licences to ineligible applicants. P.E.I.’s infamous Ocean Choice deal expired earlier this month, and when it did, Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley was finally given authority to issue new seafood processing licences — even to applicants who are ineligible. Opposition Leader Steven Myers raised concerns Tuesday about an amendment made to the Fisheries Act during a cabinet meeting on April 15.

 

War on science seems a reality

01-MAY-2014 11:03 AM   Dan Lett, Winnipeg Free Press

One of the world's most accomplished HIV-AIDS researchers, Plummer's departure after 13 years is a blow to both the lab and to Winnipeg, which has fought valiantly to create and maintain a centre of excellence in infectious diseases. Just as worrisome for scientists is the very real possibility Ottawa may replace Plummer with a less qualified and thus less expensive person: possibly even someone who does not have a medical degree.

 

De nouveaux fonds pour mieux comprendre l'autisme et l'Alzheimer (French)

01-MAY-2014 08:47 AM   La Presse Canadienne, Montréal

Tags Funding Health

Le gouvernement fédéral s'associe à des fondations privées pour accroître le financement de la recherche sur l'autisme et la maladie d'Alzheimer, notamment. Le premier ministre Stephen Harper en a fait l'annonce, jeudi à Montréal, entouré de représentants de la famille Chagnon, de la Fondation Azrieli et de la Fondation Neuro Canada. Cette injection de fonds permettra de lancer cinq nouveaux projets de recherche visant à mieux comprendre les troubles du spectre de l'autisme, le syndrome de l'X fragile, la maladie d'Alzheimer et d'autres troubles connexes pour améliorer le traitement et la prévention.

 

Access to information among concerns in CJFE Review of Free Expression in Canada

30-APR-2014 02:50 PM   Grant Buckler, The Canadian Journalism Project

Tags Muzzling

In the past year Canadians have lost even more of their ability to know what their government is doing and why, the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) said in its 2014 Review of Free Expression in Canada. The Review—the fifth one CJFE has published annually to coincide with World Press Freedom Day on May 3—also raises concerns about muzzling of government scientists, harassment of journalists in Quebec, restrictions on union advocacy in Alberta and other freedom of expression issues.

 

La résistance aux antibiotiques n'est plus une menace, mais une «réalité», avertit l'Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) qui craint que des infections considérées aujourd'hui comme mineures ne puissent à nouveau tuer. Un nouveau rapport alarmiste de l'OMS, le premier portant sur la résistance aux antimicrobiens à l'échelle mondiale, affirme que «cette grave menace n'est plus une prévision, mais bien une réalité dans chaque région du monde, et que tout un chacun, quels que soient son âge et son pays, peut être touché». Les antibiotiques sont considérés par l'OMS comme un des piliers de notre santé, nous permettant de vivre plus longtemps et en meilleure santé. Mais leur usage inapproprié les a rendus quasiment inefficaces en quelques décennies.

 

What experts say we don’t know about shale gas

30-APR-2014 02:18 PM   Ivan Semeniuk, The Globe and Mail

When it comes to understanding the hazards associated with the shale gas boom in Pennsylvania, Bernard Goldstein doesn’t mince words. “We’re racing ahead without seriously thinking through how best to do this,” said Dr. Goldstein, a professor of Environmental and Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh and one of the authors of a new report on the environmental impacts of shale gas extraction in Canada. Dr. Goldstein’s chief worry is that the pace of the industry has left environmental and public-health experts in this state scurrying to keep up. And those experts are finding themselves chronically short of the kind of data that would allow them to say with confidence what effects the industry may or may not be having.

 

A report from a panel of top Canadian scientists is urging a go-slow approach to the booming industry of hydraulic natural gas fracking. So little is known about the long-term impacts of extracting gas by fracturing rock beds with high-pressure fluids that scientists and regulators need to start now to understand how to develop the resource safely and cleanly, said co-author Rick Chalaturnyk, an engineering professor at the University of Alberta. "Perhaps cautionary is the right philosophy," he said. "We really do stand a chance to put in place the regulatory framework to answer the questions around environmental impact."

 

Ottawa rejects union's claim that food is unsafe

30-APR-2014 10:56 AM   By Peter O'Neil, Postmedia News- The StarPhoenix

Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose accused Canada's largest public-sector union Tuesday of irresponsibly undermining Canadians' confidence in the safety of their food. The union alleged last week that federal job cuts have left consumers vulnerable to ripoffs and tainted food. "The union's portrayal is not accurate and irresponsibly undermines public confidence in the knowledge that the food on their dinner table is safe," she told Postmedia News in a statement.

 

New York et Chicago interdisent les cigarettes électroniques (French only)

29-APR-2014 02:13 PM   Associated Press, Le Devoir

Tags Health

De nouvelles lois adoptées à New York et à Chicago interdisent les cigarettes électroniques dans les bars, les restaurants et les autres endroits publics. Les interdictions entrées en vigueur mardi sèment la controverse parmi les responsables de la santé publique, l'industrie de la cigarette électronique et les usagers, quant à l'avenir du produit.

 

DFO scientist warns of health hazards posed by decomposing whales

29-APR-2014 10:53 AM   Gary Kean, The Western Star

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) says it will likely be up to the local and provincial governments to find a way to dispose of rotting blue whale carcasses on the shorelines near Trout River and Rocky Harbour. There are now three of the mammoth marine mammals beached in the vicinity, including one on the beach near Bakers Brook just north of Rocky Harbour. Jack Lawson, a research scientist with DFO's marine mammals section, said the onus usually falls to the municipality — if it is affected — and then the province.

 

AECL privatizing 2,850 jobs at Chalk River

30-APR-2014 10:51 AM   Ian MacLeod, Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Almost 3,000 federal AECL jobs at Chalk River are to be privatized, leaving employees worried and the venerable Crown corporation a shadow of its former self, according to the government’s restructuring plan. The move to a “government-owned contractor-operated” (GoCo) business model for Canada’s largest scientific research establishment is expected to strip almost all of the 2,850 Chalk River employees of their federal jobs, pension plan eligibility and other public service benefits. Sometime next year, their employment is to be transferred to an as-yet unknown private-sector company that is to assume control of Chalk River Laboratories, the last significant piece of the former Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. powerhouse that helped pioneer the global nuclear industry.

 

Federal government spends $9.2M on rail crossing safety

28-APR-2014 10:45 AM   The Canadian Press, Metro News

MILTON, Ont. – The federal government says it will spend $9.2 million this year to improve safety at railway crossings. The money is being made available as part of a cost-sharing agreement with railways and governments that have authority over local roads. Transport Canada says the improvements could include installing flashing lights and bells, gate barriers and other devices at crossings.

 

About 300 people protested today to denounce the construction of a port in Cacouna, near Rivière-du-Loup, for shipping oil from the Alberta tar sands. Under the Energy East pipeline project, the TransCanada company has already obtained the approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada to conduct drilling in the marine area of Bas-Saint-Laurent. About a dozen organizations planned the event, including Nature Québec, Greenpeace and the Quebec Association Against Air Pollution. They say they want both Ottawa and Quebec to further analyze the project before allowing TransCanada to go forward.

 

Ottawa only interested in science that supports its own priorities

26-APR-2014 10:39 AM   Ross A. Klein, The Telegram

It is easy to be wowed by the federal government’s claims that it is a great supporter of science and research, particularly university science and research — given its many announcements of funding and new programs. But it is important to take a closer look at what is actually happening. First, the total amount of funding for the granting councils, which provide the support for most of the fundamental research in Canada, has decreased substantially since the Harper government budgets began rolling out.

 

Scientists cite energy East pipeline threat to belugas

25-APR-2014 10:35 AM   Shawn McCarthy, The Glode and Mail Ottawa

Marine scientists in Quebec are raising alarms that TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Energy East pipeline project will threaten falling beluga populations in the St. Lawrence River. TransCanada is conducting seismic activity near Cacouna, Que., on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River across from the mouth of the Saguenay River. Belugas are believed to calve in the Cacouna area in the late spring and early summer. Three leading marine researchers wrote a letter this week to Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, complaining that seismic activity and other planned work pose a serious threat to the St. Lawrence belugas.

 

Getting science wrong, with dire consequences

25-APR-2014 09:23 AM   Hans Rollmann, The independent.ca

Barb Neis is no stranger to the challenges of living along Canada’s rural and coastal margins. A sociologist by trade, her work in Newfoundland and Labrador has included extensive research on the fishery, on occupational health and safety, on migrant workers (including interprovincial workers), and more. What is strange to her is the growing – and troubling – tendency of the federal government to interfere in the ability of herself and other experts to conduct the research they’re trying to do, research which they hope will help improve lives and reduce the vulnerability of Canadian residents to social and environmental risks. Yet according to many, political interference in the funding and carrying out of basic scientific research is reaching a crisis point in Canada, and it’s the topic of an innovative town hall meeting happening in St. John’s on Monday night.

 

Federal cuts mean the end of Canada’s world-class Cereal Research Centre

23-APR-2014 10:20 AM   Marc Montgomery, Radio Canada International

Tags Funding

To most Canadians the name Cereal Research Centre means virtually nothing, but to grain farmers across the country, the CRC is an extremely well-known and important institution. The research station will close this month as part of government austerity measures. It marks the end of almost a century of scientific effort by the publicly-funded CRC and other research stations which have provided most of Canada’s cereal crop varieties in a multi-billion dollar grain industry. The Cereal Research Centre has long focussed on wheat and oat breeding to improve cereal quality and resistance to disease, insects, and climate conditions.

 

À quelques semaines de l’approbation probable du projet de pipeline Northern Gateway, le gouvernement Harper vient d’éliminer une mesure de protection environnementale qui aurait pu retarder le transport de pétrole des sables bitumineux vers la côte ouest. Un autre exemple de copinage avec l’industrie pétrolière, selon le NPD et les groupes environnementaux. Dans un décret publié samedi dans la Gazette du Canada, Ottawa a ordonné de retirer à la baleine à bosse du Pacifique Nord son statut d’espèce « menacée », en vertu de la Loi sur les espèces en péril (LEP). Sa situation est désormais considérée comme « préoccupante ».

 

Government needs to help with rising health-care costs

23-APR-2014 08:44 AM   Editorial Staff, Moose Jaw Times Herald

Tags Funding Health

A recent Statistics Canada Report — Trends in out-of-pocket health-care expenditures in Canada, by household income, 1997-2009 — noted one in 10 Canadians cannot afford to pay for their prescription drugs. According to the report, lower income-earning families are bearing the brunt of the expanded costs of health-care. In 1997, the average Canadian household paid $631 in medical expenses annually. Jump ahead to 2009 and those costs have jumped up to $1,030. In 2014, those numbers are sure to be even higher.

 

Canada phasing out antibiotic use in livestock

11-APR-2014 08:45 AM   Margaret Munro, Postmedia News

Amid growing international concern over the spread of superbugs on farms, slaughterhouses and supermarket meat counters, Health Canada is moving to phase out use of antibiotic growth promoters in Canadian livestock. The drugs have been used for decades to spike the feed and water of chickens, pigs and cattle to boost their growth — “mass medication” that Canada’s top doctor, and many others, has said should stop. In a statement Friday, Canadian drug producers say they have agreed with Health Canada “to phase out uses of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion.” The phase-out is expected to take three years.

 

Le retour du printemps n’a pas seulement remis en circulation du pétrole qui s’était déposé au fond de la rivière Chaudière à la suite de la catastrophe de Lac-Mégantic. Depuis une semaine, des millions de litres d’eau contaminée ont aussi été pompés sur le site même de la tragédie ferroviaire. Selon ce qu’a précisé mercredi au Devoir un porte-parole du ministère de l’Environnement, Paul Benoît, «de six à sept millions de litres d’eaux huileuses» ont ainsi dû être récupérés au cours des derniers jours. Ces millions de litres d’eau contaminée par le pétrole sont pompés à partir des «tranchées de récupération» aménagées pour éviter la migration de la pollution. L’eau est ensuite acheminée vers une unité de traitement sur place, ou encore à un bassin de rétention construit pour contenir les grands volumes de liquides récupérés lors de la fonte ou lorsqu’il pleut.

 

Researcher hopes work on invasive species will make a difference

23-APR-2014 08:42 AM   Cory Hurley, The Western star

Scott Caines has been studying the waters of the Bay of Islands for invasive species, and he has found reason for concern. There are seven species recognized as invasive in Newfoundland and Labrador waters and three of these have been introduced to the west coast of island. Globalization is being credited with the exponential increase in introduction through the voyages along oceanic vessels — with aquaculture and the aquarium trade recognized as contributers.

 

Union warns of reduced meat inspections, more food fraud in Vancouver

22-APR-2014 08:39 AM   Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – Canada’s food safety system is being pushed beyond its limits, warns the union representing federal food inspectors, which singles out Vancouver area-consumers as potentially the most at risk. Some $35 million and 192 inspectors are on the food safety program’s chopping block over the next two years, according to online documents posted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The agency has also disbanded a team of inspectors dedicated to protecting consumers from food fraud throughout Metro Vancouver. The Consumer Protection Unit once boasted 11 inspectors, but that number dwindled to four due to attrition.

 

Dimanche dernier, l'émission Découverte, de la chaîne publique Radio-Canada, proposait le document « Science et pouvoir: le bâillon » qui traite des compressions dans la science fédérale, où chercheurs et scientifiques affectés se vident le cœur et livre une mise en garde à la population. Ce reportage est largement inspiré du documentaire de la CBC Fifth Estate "Silence of the Labs", paru en janvier dernier. Extra : Témoignage de Claude Rouleau, écotoxicologue de l'IML congédié suite au RÉ. « La science, c'est l'essence de toutes nos connaissances, le point de départ de tous les progrès, de la santé à l'habitat. Elle était jadis indépendante de la politique publique, mais au Canada, tout ne tourne pas rond dans ce domaine. D'un littoral à l'autre, et même aux limites de l'Arctique, la science qui ne sert pas les objectifs politiques est marginalisée ou mise au rancart. »

 

Government reduces whale protection

22-APR-2014 08:30 AM   Peter O'Neil, The StarPheonix

The Harper government is downgrading the protection of the North Pacific humpback whale despite objections from a clear majority of groups that were consulted. Critics say the whales could face greater danger if two major oilsands pipeline projects get the go-ahead, as both would result in a sharp increase in movement of large vessels on the West Coast that occasionally collide with, and kill, whales. The decision was made under the Species At Risk Act, and declares the humpback a "species of special concern" rather than "threatened." The reclassification means the humpback no longer will be "subject to the general prohibitions set out in SARA, nor would its critical habitat be required to be legally protected under SARA," said the federal government notice published this month in the Canada Gazette.

 

Canadian chicken farmers are putting an end to controversial egg injections, which provided the world with a “textbook” example of the perils of mass medication. By injecting eggs at hatcheries with ceftiofur, a medically important antibiotic, the farmers triggered the rise of resistant microbes that showed up in both chickens and in Canadians creating a “major” public health concern. The case – documented by federal and provincial sleuths who track microbes at farms, slaughterhouses and retail meat counters – is held up as powerful evidence of resistant superbugs moving from farm to fork. “It is going to be in medical textbooks for as long as there are textbooks around,” says John Prescott, a professor with the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.

 

As Canada dawdles, Denmark shows the world how to stop mass medicating animals

18-APR-2014 02:58 PM   Margaret Munro, Postmedia News

COPENHAGAN, Denmark — Michael Nielsen unlocks the door to his pig factory. He doffs his jacket, pants and muddy boots and zips on white coveralls. Then he steps into the maze-like complex housing several thousand pigs. From the birthing room — where one enormous sow has just delivered 22 squirming piglets — to the insemination stalls where the next generation is in the works, Nielsen prides himself on smart, efficient farming. Here in Denmark that means recording every single dose of antibiotic farmers use. Unlike Canadian farmers who can import antibiotics by the truckload, Nielsen can only obtain them by prescription at a pharmacy. Use too many antibiotics and Nielsen would get a dreaded “yellow card” from the Danish government that has the world’s most comprehensive surveillance system for tracking and targeting overuse of antibiotics.

 

151 Prescription drugs under safety investigation in Canada

15-APR-2014 02:57 PM   Recovery Network: Toronto

Toronto Star has published a list of 151 prescription drugs undergoing safety investigations in 2o13. The Star obtained the information only after persistently bugging officials at Health Canada. With a remarkable example of doublespeak, up till now Canada’s drug safety authority though the best way to keep us safe was to keep this information secret from both the individuals who put these drugs in their bodies and from the Doctors who prescribe them. Quite why Health Canada ever thought this was their role is yours to guess and ask. Maybe they reasoned that the mass panic ensuing from making the information available would cause us all to ask for motte drugs in such a rush that Docs would run out of prescription pads.

 

Kinder Morgan’s pipeline studies may contravene park-research permit

11-APR-2014 02:52 PM   Mark Hume, The Globe and Mail

Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. is conducting pipeline studies in B.C. parks under a permit that was issued at a time when any research was supposed to be focused on gathering scientific knowledge to help better manage protected areas. The permit falls in a grey area because while research related to potential industrial projects would be permitted in parks under new legislation – which passed just two weeks ago – Kinder Morgan got authorization last November. At that time, the regulations stated that research in parks “must contribute to the scientific knowledge of the protected area(s).”

 

Cleaning up contaminated sites to cost billions more than expected: PBO

10-APR-2014 02:49 PM   Steve Rennie, Cumberland News Now

OTTAWA - Cleaning up nearly 25,000 sites across the country contaminated by hazardous waste and pollution will cost billions of dollars more than the federal government has anticipated, says a new analysis by Canada's budget watchdog. And the cost could run even higher now that a new chemical used in fire-retardant foam has been found in the groundwater at some airports, says the report by the Parliamentary Budget Office released Thursday. "The likely financial costs associated with contaminated sites are significant and are not reflected in the figures reported to Parliament in the public accounts," says the report.

 

Le directeur parlementaire du budget estime que la décontamination des milliers de sites un peu partout au pays coûtera 2,1 milliards de dollars supplémentaires, soit deux fois plus cher que ce qu'Ottawa avait prévu. Les auteurs du rapport estiment à 3,9 milliards le coût total des dépenses d'assainissement du gouvernement; ils fondent leur analyse sur les données relatives aux 22 000 sites répertoriés dans l'inventaire fédéral établi par le Conseil du Trésor. Ottawa a la responsabilité de ces sites. « Les coûts probables associés aux sites contaminés sont significatifs et ne sont pas reflétés dans les chiffres rapportés au Parlement dans les comptes publics. De plus, les coûts pourraient augmenter à cause de formes de contamination qui ne sont pas encore identifiées », indique le Bureau du directeur parlementaire du budget.

 

Ottawa physicist collects another international prize for pioneering work

08-APR-2014 02:45 PM   Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen

Tags Innovation

OTTAWA — Ottawa physicist Paul Corkum has just picked up yet another big international prize, and his university says the people who win this one often wind up with the Nobel itself. Corkum teaches physics at the University of Ottawa and also works at the National Research Council. He uses incredibly short flashes of laser light to capture the movement of electrons in molecules. Corkum can send these light pulses in bursts measured in attoseconds. There are a billion, billion attoseconds in one second.

 

No Big Risk, Feds Promise

08-APR-2014 02:11 PM   Blacklock’s Reporter

New use of pesticides by fish farmers will pose no “unacceptable risk” to the environment, promises Health Canada. However a member of a Senate committee noted the department has already been cited for failing to protect habitat. “I get the impression there is a lot of confusion with respect to aquaculture generally,” said Senator Thomas McInnis (Conservative-N.S.); “Is everything just fine?” The Senate fisheries committee is studying regulation of aquaculture including permitted use of chemicals in lake and ocean pens. “Pesticides are inherently a hazardous substance,” said Jason Flint, director of Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency; “A registration under the Pest Control Products Act will only be granted if these assessments show the product can be used safely.”

 

Produire du pétrole grâce à l'océan (French only)

07-APR-2014 02:08 PM   Radio-Canada avec Agence France-Presse

Des chercheurs de la marine américaine ont réussi à transformer de l'eau de mer en carburant, en partant de l'idée que les hydrocarbures, dont fait partie le pétrole, sont composés de carbone et d'hydrogène, présents en grande quantité dans l'eau de mer. En capturant le dioxyde de carbone (CO2) et l'hydrogène contenus dans l'océan, les scientifiques sont arrivés à produire un kérosène de synthèse utilisable dans les moteurs de navires ou d'avions. Après neuf ans de travail sur le sujet, les chercheurs du Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) ont démontré la viabilité du concept en parvenant à faire voler un modèle réduit d'avion avec ce type de carburant.

 

Drugs reviews mostly stay secret

03-APR-2014 02:05 PM   Diana Zlomislic, Toronto Star

Health Canada is keeping secret the vast majority of the drug reviews it conducts despite a clear promise from the federal minister to publish this critical safety information. Only 24 of 152 drug reviews completed last year by Health Canada are being considered for public release, the Toronto Star has learned. The drug safety reviews that will be open to the public are those triggered by alarms raised by foreign regulators, medical or scientific literature or Health Canada’s routine monitoring activities. “We thought they were rolling out a Mercedes, turns out it’s a Vespa,” said Dr. David Juurlink, a clinical pharmacologist and drug safety researcher at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

 

Climat : on peut s’adapter, mais vite! (French only)

03-APR-2014 02:02 PM   Ève Christian, Radio-Canada

Les changements climatiques ne sont vraiment pas une vue de l’esprit. L’année qui vient de se terminer le prouve encore. Selon l’Organisation météorologique mondiale (OMM), c’est la sixième année la plus chaude de l’histoire, ex aequo avec 2007. La température moyenne était de 14,5 degrés, 0,5 degré de plus que la normale calculée pour la période de 1961-1990, et 0,03 degré de plus que la décennie 2001-2010. D’ailleurs, cette dernière décennie a battu tous les records des trois dernières décennies, qui ont été toutes plus chaudes les unes que les autres. En fait, 13 des 14 années depuis le début du nouveau siècle sont parmi les plus chaudes. De vastes territoires ont enregistré des records de chaleur, dont l’Australie et le centre de l’Asie et de l’Afrique.

 

OTTAWA — It turns out that scientists are like pop music fans: They want access online to all their favourite material, but they have trouble paying for it. A new survey of Canadian scientists puts it a little more formally: “Researchers agree with principle, not cost, of open access,” it says in a headline. So, what’s “open access”? It’s a system that is turning the way scientists share knowledge on its head. The science world revolves around its journals, thousands and thousands of them.

 

Les directives proposées par Santé Canada quant aux niveaux de radiofréquences pouvant être émis sans danger par les téléphones cellulaires et autres technologies de communication sans fil sont adéquates et permettent d’assurer une protection convenable de la population, conclut un rapport d’experts. Ces derniers recommandent toutefois de poursuivre activement les recherches visant à vérifier si une faible exposition aux radiofréquences peut participer à l’apparition du cancer. Ils soulignent également l’urgence d’éclaircir la question de l’hypersensibilité électromagnétique dont se plaignent plusieurs citoyens.

 

The National Energy Board has come under fire for restricting the number of people permitted to participate in the review process for the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in British Columbia. More than 2,100 individuals, aboriginal groups, companies and organizations applied to participate in the coming hearings, which will examine the suitability of a project that will twin an existing line, increasing capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.

 

De la science dans les élections: pour quand? (French only)

02-APR-2014 11:48 AM   Agence Science-Presse

Sans surprise, la science n’a pas été un enjeu de la campagne électorale québécoise. Mais que ni la santé ni l’environnement n’en aient fait partie non plus, voilà qui surprend un peu. À moins que ça ne fasse désormais partie de l’ordre naturel des choses? L’an dernier, nous avions interviewé Anne Glover, conseillère scientifique du président de l’Union européenne, qui avait résumé le fait que science et politique semblent appartenir à deux planètes différentes, par ces mots: «les scientifiques adorent l’incertitude, les politiciens la détestent». Deux façons de travailler, deux façons d’appréhender le monde, deux objectifs divergents.

 

Produire des carburants grâce au carbone contenu dans des résidus forestiers, agricoles ou domestiques est une idée prometteuse. Ces biocarburants de 2e génération, générés à partir de matières non comestibles, offrent un grand potentiel pour le Québec et le Canada. À terme, leur production permettrait d’éviter de diriger une partie du carbone vers les sites d’enfouissement. Toutefois, les chercheurs ont beaucoup de pain sur la planche pour en arriver à proposer des méthodes permettant de déployer la production de biocarburants à grande échelle, et surtout, à coût raisonnable. Spécialiste de la question, Jean-Michel Lavoie dirige la Chaire de recherche industrielle en éthanol cellulosique et en biocarburants de seconde génération. Ce professeur de la Faculté de génie proposait une conférence le 28 mars, durant la Quinzaine du développement durable.

 

An expert panel’s review of Canadian safety limits for exposure to radio waves such as those produced by cellphones and wireless devices says there is no reason to change existing standards. The independent panel was convened by the Royal Society of Canada at the government’s request to review scientific evidence relevant to proposed changes to Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, which deals with exposure to radiofrequency (RF) energy – or radio waves. The panel released its report on Tuesday.

 

VANCOUVER — Tom Pedersen sounds almost upbeat about climate change, putting a positive spin on the decidedly gloomy subject. “You must never lose hope,” says Pedersen, executive director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions at the University of Victoria in B.C., who foresees a “brighter, smarter” future for the planet. There is no question the world is facing enormous threats as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations group, made clear once again this week. “If the world doesn’t do anything about mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases and the extent of climate change continues to increase, then the very social stability of human systems could be at stake,” Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, said as the report was released.

 

Tensions are rising on a remote stretch of British Columbia’s Central Coast, where a commercial herring fleet is gathering to fish in an area long closed because of conservation concerns. Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea overruled her own staff recently in deciding to allow fishing this spring, but as the opening approaches, First Nations are increasingly demanding that the fishery be called off. “We actually had an emergency community meeting last night on how we are going to deal with this,” Doug Neasloss, resource stewardship director of the Kitasoo band, said Monday in an interview from Klemtu, B.C.

 

Violent conflicts and threats to the territorial integrity of some of the world’s most vulnerable countries are among the more ominous risks posed by an ever-warming planet, according to the UN organization given the task of assessing the impacts of climate change. In a report that for the first time includes human security in its review of how global warming will be experienced around the world, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lists outcomes such as the displacement of populations, food shortages and economic shocks that are triggered or exacerbated by rising temperatures. “If the world doesn’t do anything about mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases and the extent of climate change continues to increase, then the very social stability of human systems could be at stake,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, at a news briefing in Yokohama, Japan, where the report was released.

 

Science-based Decisions – In Whose Interest?

28-JAN-2014 11:28 AM   Anonymous, National Farmers Union

Governments and farm organizations tell us over and over again that decisions made on our farms and by government regulatory agencies must be 'science-based'. Entwined with this adherence to 'science-based' decision making is a demand that we accept that science is absolute and unbiased – that it is never-changing and is never influenced by the interests of funders of the research. Our understanding of our world and of our own farms, however, is ever-changing. Yesterday's knowledge leads us to new discoveries today, which will lead to new understandings tomorrow. Scientific knowledge can never be absolute since if we are open to learning it can constantly lead us to new discoveries and to new knowledge. As evidence we need only look at seed; from the time farmers started collecting and replanting seeds to grow food and feed, we have been actively adding to our collective, ever-changing knowledge of science and of plant breeding.

 

Un rapport conclut à l'innocuité des «compteurs intelligents» (French only)

01-APR-2014 11:11 AM   Jean-François Cliche, Le Soleil

Tags Health

(Québec) Malgré tout le boucan qui entoure les «compteurs intelligents» et les antennes cellulaires, rien ne permet de croire qu'ils sont nocifs ou que les normes canadiennes actuelles sont trop laxistes, conclut un rapport d'experts divulgué mardi matin.

 

Tandis qu’on épluche les rapports d’impôt des politiciens, l’actualité scientifique dévoile ces jours-ci deux bombes qui risquent d’influencer plus lourdement nos vies que ces politicailleries : la biologie synthétique et le second chapitre du cinquième rapport du Groupe intergouvernemental d’experts sur le climat (GIEC).

 

Réchauffement climatique : le GIEC sonne à nouveau l'alarme (French only)

31-MAR-2014 11:07 AM   Valérie-Micaela Bain, Radio-Canada

Le réchauffement climatique mondial représente une menace croissante pour la santé, les perspectives économiques, de même que pour l'alimentation et les ressources en eau douce de milliards d'habitants, selon le dernier rapport du Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental sur l'évolution du climat (GIEC).

 

Les Canadiens de certaines régions du pays pourraient faire face à des pénuries de lits et à une hausse du coût des médicaments, à la suite de l'expiration, lundi, de l'accord fédéral-provincial sur la santé, prévient un groupe de défense des soins de santé.

 

Le retour du mammouth (French only)

29-MAR-2014 11:00 AM   Manon Cornellier , Le Devoir

Ottawa — Les conservateurs n’ont pas pu résister. Ils ont encore transformé leur dernier budget en projet de loi omnibus, un fourre-tout qui amende une trentaine de projets de loi, la plupart n’ayant rien à voir avec le budget. (…)

 

Ottawa officialise le péage du futur pont Champlain (French only)

10-APR-2014 10:57 AM   Marie Vastel , Le Devoir

Après avoir martelé pendant des mois que ce serait «pas de péage, pas de pont», le gouvernement de Stephen Harper vient ainsi de rendre officiel son mantra.

 

De ces pénuries impromptues de médicaments (French only)

26-MAR-2014 10:55 AM   Thomas Duchaine, Université de Laval

Tags Health

Du Ritalin aux injectables en passant même par la pénicilline, les pénuries de médicaments sont fréquentes au Québec et au Canada. Pourquoi? Et surtout, y-a-t-il des solutions? Nous pouvions lire dans les médias le 26 février dernier qu’une pénurie de Ritalin était en cours au Québec.

 

New natural resources minister invested in hedge fund with energy holdings

24-MAR-2014 10:53 AM   Glen McGregor, Calgary Herald

Tags Energy

New Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford holds investments in an elite hedge fund that trades securities in the energy sector he will now oversee. According to his conflict of interest disclosure, Rickford owns an unspecified number of units in the Waratah One Fund, an investment vehicle administered by Toronto firm Waratah Advisors.

 

Fewer science officers on public lands

24-MAR-2014 10:51 AM   Cam Fortems, Kamloops This Week

The Professional Employees Association, which represents 2,500 people who work for the provincial government, has released a report showing its membership declined 19 per cent in the past five years.

 

America’s Underappreciated Entrepreneur: The Federal Government

23-MAR-2014 10:34 AM   Teresa Tritch, The New York Times

Imagine a world in which the United States government — not the private sector — is the economy’s indispensable entrepreneur, innovating at the frontiers of science and technology, able and willing to take risks and to persevere through uncertainty.

 

Canada falling behind on innovation

23-MAR-2014 10:32 AM   Mariana Mazzucato, The Toronto Star

While we tend to celebrate private entrepreneurship, the state is crucially important in driving and shaping innovation. The question of which economies will thrive and which will lag behind on innovation has a lot to do with sound public policy.

 

Guerre à la science (French only)

21-MAR-2014 10:30 AM   Isabelle Burgun, Agence Science Presse

«La liberté de la science contribue à une démocratie forte. Coupures, fermetures de bibliothèques et de laboratoires, licenciement et ingérence, les politiques actuelles diminuent notre capacité à bâtir de solides connaissances scientifiques», dénonce Katie Gibbs

 

Recent media reports have described the closing of federal science libraries dealing with fisheries, forests and health as well as the absurd lengths to which government scientists have had to go to obtain documents that they require in their work.

 

L’univers naissant (french only)

21-MAR-2014 02:57 PM   Mario Roy, La Presse

Tags Space

L'astrophysicien Stephen Hawking avait engagé un pari avec un collègue, Neil Turok, directeur du Perimeter Institute, un organisme de recherche ontarien (le célèbre scientifique britannique est en effet un parieur invétéré). Or, il y a quatre jours, il a apparemment gagné: on a bel et bien détecté des ondes gravitationnelles générées par le Big Bang, il y a près de 14 milliards d'années.

 

The Alward government is being accused of muzzling its scientists and ignoring their advice in moving ahead with a new Crown lands policy that allows for a 21 per cent increase in cutting softwood in public forests. Green party Leader David Coon and a former wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are raising the concerns as the debate about the new policy continues to rage more than a week after it was unveiled.

 

25 years later, Exxon Valdez spill effects linger

20-MAR-2014 02:53 PM   Dan Joling, The Toronto Star

Twenty five years later, most of the species have recovered but some wildlife, as well as the people who live in the region, are still struggling.

 

The Day the Earth Moved: Canada’s Muzzled Researchers

20-MAR-2014 02:51 PM   Mary Frary, Social Science Space

Tags NRC

On Wednesday 24 June 2010 in Ottawa, office workers returning from their lunch breaks were surprised to feel the earth move beneath their feet. People in the city immediately suspected an earthquake, though they are relatively rare in the region. As might be expected, reporters at newspapers in the city contacted Natural Resources Canada to find out what was going on. The journalists were surprised to discover that government seismologists told them they were unable to speak about it. Meanwhile, the US Geological Survey was giving out plenty of information.

 

Greg Rickford’s appointment as the federal natural resources minister could signal a change in tone as the government tries to overcome opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline and other energy and mining projects. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Rickford was taking over the natural resources portfolio from Joe Oliver, who has become the finance minister following Jim Flaherty’s surprise resignation.

 

Greg Rickford takes Natural Resources at crucial moment

19-MAR-2014 02:45 PM   Alex Boutilier, The Toronto Star

Newly minted Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford gives the Harper government a new face on the energy portfolio as a number of key projects hang in the balance. Prime Minister Stephen Harper promoted the Kenora MP from a junior minister to one of the most important and sensitive portfolios in the Conservative government in a mini cabinet shuffle Wednesday. Rickford replaces Joe Oliver, who was moved to finance after the surprise departure of Jim Flaherty on Tuesday. The move gives the Conservatives a chance to change the tone of debate surrounding a number of large-scale pipeline and mining projects; a debate that turned toxic at times under Oliver’s watch.

 

Echoes of Walkerton in Environment Canada cuts

19-MAR-2014 02:43 PM   Thomas Duck, The Toronto Star

Albert Einstein’s well-known definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is unsettlingly relevant to a new round of federal government cuts. The latest slashing of Environment Canada, which by 2016 will have half the budget it had in 2007, calls to mind a series of deep cuts to environmental protections in Ontario in the late 1990s. Some of the players are even the same, so they cannot reasonably claim to be ignorant of the tragic consequences.

 

The appointment of amiable backbencher Ed Holder as Minister of State for Science and Technology is not expected to inflame the testy relationship between the Conservative government and many members of Canada’s scientific community. But neither is Mr. Holder’s elevation to the junior cabinet portfolio being read by the scientists – who have complained of closed research facilities, muzzled scientific staff, and scientific evidence being ignored – as a sign that Prime Minister Stephen Harper may become more conciliatory.

 

Changes to scientific funding at the federal level are taking their toll on the work done in some University of Western Ontario research labs. Christopher Pin — an associate professor in the university’s department of pediatrics, oncology, and physiology and pharmacology — has experienced the repercussions first-hand as grants available through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) shrink.

 

La Garde côtière canadienne a indiqué mercredi qu’elle envoie davantage de brise-glace pour aider à dégager le passage dans les Grands Lacs et la Voie maritime du Saint-Laurent. Évoquant les pires conditions de glace en 20 ans, la Garde côtière a affirmé qu’il est trop tôt pour déterminer à quel moment les navires de transport du grain et d’autres produits de base seront en mesure de traverser les corridors commerciaux habituels. L’Association des constructeurs de navire canadiens avait déploré mardi qu’un manque de brise-glace retarderait les livraisons de grain des Prairies et d’autres marchandises, incluant le minerai de fer, des matériaux de construction et des produits pétroliers.

 

UK Budget sees boosts for data science, graphene an cell therapy

19-MAR-2014 02:35 PM   Richard Van Noorden, Nature

British scientists already know that their public funding for the next two years is frozen at £4.6 billion (US$7.6 billion) annually (as it has been since 2010, which for the nation’s seven research-grants agencies has meant a 10% cut in real terms over the past three years), so they did not expect anything transformative from today’s budget. Right on cue, UK chancellor George Osborne continued his trend of throwing small crumbs of funding to science and technology — £222 million additional cash over the next five years — while at the same time failing to announce either long-term support for basic science or a strategy to develop UK industrial research, both of which are sorely needed, say science-policy experts.

 

Seven Steps Back for Canada’s Natural Defence

19-MAR-2014 02:32 PM   Chris Wood, The Tyee

Canada once was an active environmental leader, helping coax other nations into such landmark international measures to protect the planet as the Montreal Protocol to defend the ozone layer. That was then. This is now. Canada walked away from the Kyoto Protocol in 2011. Now, the Montreal Protocol appears to be one of seven important international conventions to prevent the spread of hazardous toxins and other pollutants that the Conservative government quit "engaging" on in recent years.

 

Obama Turns to Web to Illustrate the Effects of a Changing Climate

19-MAR-2014 02:29 PM   Coral Davenport, The New York Times

President Obama wants Americans to see how climate change could deluge or destroy their own backyards — and to make it as easy as opening a web-based app. As part of an effort to make the public see global warming as a tangible and immediate problem, the White House on Wednesday inaugurated a website, climate.data.gov, aimed at turning scientific data about projected droughts and wildfires and the rise in sea levels into eye-catching digital presentations that can be mapped using simple software apps. The project is the brainchild of Mr. Obama’s counselor, John D. Podesta, and the White House science adviser, John P. Holdren.

 

Les gouvernements doivent prendre garde, dans leurs efforts d’assainissement des finances, de ne pas aggraver les problèmes d’inégalité et de fracture sociale qui se sont accélérés avec la Grande Récession, prévient l’OCDE. La plupart des indicateurs de qualité de vie sont toujours en berne dans les pays développés, notamment en matière de revenu des ménages, d’emploi des jeunes, de partage de la richesse, de dépenses en éducation, et même en matière de taux de fécondité.

 

Des physiciens américains ont annoncé lundi avoir détecté les toutes premières secousses du Big Bang, confortant ainsi cette théorie de la naissance de l’univers il y a près de 14 milliards d’années, une avancée majeure en physique. Cette première détection de ces ondes gravitationnelles primordiales, prévues dans la théorie de la relativité d’Albert Einstein, confirme l’expansion extrêmement rapide et violente de l’univers dans la première fraction de seconde de son existence, une phase appelée l’inflation cosmique.

 

Early in his career, a scientist named Mario J. Molina was pulled into seemingly obscure research about strange chemicals being spewed into the atmosphere. Within a year, he had helped discover a global environmental emergency, work that would ultimately win a Nobel Prize. Now, at 70, Dr. Molina is trying to awaken the public to an even bigger risk. He spearheaded a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, which released a stark report Tuesday on global warming. The report warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing.

 

Lac-Mégantic: 1/16e de la puissance d'Hiroshima (French only)

18-MAR-2014 02:09 PM   Jonathan Custeau, La Tribune

«Si un jour je vais en enfer, je saurai à quel point c'est chaud!» Tels ont été les mots du directeur du Service de protection contre les incendies de Sherbrooke (SPCIS) Gaétan Drouin pour décrire l'intensité de la boule de feu qu'il a dû combattre à Lac-Mégantic, le 6 juillet 2013. «La force des explosions représentait 1/16e de la puissance d'Hiroshima, illustre-t-il encore. Un incendie d'hydrocarbures comme celui-là était du jamais vu en Amérique du Nord. C'était d'une ampleur telle... Je sens encore l'odeur du pétrole sur le site. Réussir à éteindre un incendie d'une telle ampleur dans un délai de 12 à 14 heures, ça veut dire que les gens ont travaillé très fort sur le terrain. Nous avons utilisé une quantité de mousse astronomique, soit 8000 gallons, pour procéder à l'extinction.»

 

Scientists map seafloor for future offshore drilling

17-MAR-2014 02:06 PM   Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison, Northern Journal

Canadian researchers, in partnership with scientists from the USA and Korea, are busy laying the groundwork for exploratory offshore drilling in the Beaufort Sea. More than 100 scientists, technicians and crew members took part in a Canada-Korea-USA Arctic research expedition in September, whose preliminary findings were presented to a crowd of more than 30 at Aurora College in Inuvik last Wednesday. Their main goal: to ensure offshore drilling happens in a safe and responsible way.

 

Scientists are often thought to be mild-mannered, introverts who are most comfortable toiling away in anonymity in the comforts of their laboratory, but this stereotype is being challenged as Canada’s scientific researchers step out of their labs and into national headlines.

 

A Memorial University researcher says marine conservation efforts often miss the mark because they don't target areas truly under threat. In a study published in the journal Aquatic Conservation, Rodolphe Devillers says protection is often granted in areas where it won't inconvenience fishing and other industrial activities — a method he says is at odds with preserving wildlife. Meanwhile, regions that house at-risk species as well as fishing or industrial operations are frequently neglected because governments fear the economic and political costs of interfering with business, he says.

 

Feds plan more ‘transformation’ at National Research Council

17-MAR-2014 10:30 AM   Chris Plecash, The Hill Times

The federal government plans to continue with its business-focused transformation of the National Research Council in 2014, according to briefing notes prepared for Minister of State for Science and Technology Greg Rickford, while the agency’s latest plans and priorities forecast a nearly 10-per-cent drop in staffing at the agency over the next year.

 

Cosmic Bulletins: Two Major Discoveries Rock Science

17-MAR-2014 10:28 AM   Michael D. Lemonick, Time

Nearly a century ago, Einstein came up with the idea of gravitational waves. Now, in a discovery that physicists are calling "extraordinary" and "spectacular," observers at the South Pole have found the first direct evidence they exist.

 

L'Institut de l'énergie du Nouveau-Brunswick investira plus de 500 000 $ dans une étude sur les eaux souterraines afin d'évaluer les répercussions possibles du développement des gaz de schiste sur la qualité de l'eau des puits des particuliers. Le président intérimaire de l'organisation, David Besner, a affirmé lundi que les citoyens s'inquiètent de l'impact du développement des ressources sur leur approvisionnement en eaux souterraines. Il a fait valoir que ces données scientifiques doivent contribuer à mieux comprendre les enjeux sur la qualité de l'eau.

 

Billionaires with big ideas are privatizing American science

16-MAR-2014 10:20 AM   William J. Broad, New York Times

Last April, President Barack Obama assembled some of the nation's most august scientific dignitaries in the East Room of the White House. Joking that his grades in physics made him a dubious candidate for "scientist in chief," he spoke of using technological innovation "to grow our economy" and unveiled "the next great American project": a $100 million initiative to probe the mysteries of the human brain.

 

Concerns Over Measurement of Fukushima Fallout

16-MAR-2014 09:43 AM   David McNeill, The New York Times

In the chaotic, fearful weeks after the Fukushima nuclear crisis began, in March 2011, researchers struggled to measure the radioactive fallout unleashed on the public. Michio Aoyama’s initial findings were more startling than most. As a senior scientist at the Japanese government’s Meteorological Research Institute, he said levels of radioactive cesium 137 in the surface water of the Pacific Ocean could be 10,000 times as high as contamination after Chernobyl, the world’s worst nuclear accident. Two months later, as Mr. Aoyama prepared to publish his findings in a short, nonpeer-reviewed article for Nature, the director general of the institute called with an unusual demand — that Mr. Aoyama remove his own name from the paper.

 

The Harper government's plan for Environment Canada, the department tasked with coordinating the country's environmental policies and programs, involves millions of dollars in cuts and hundreds of job losses over the next three years. The cuts are outlined in a newly-released 2014/15 report on plans and priorities for the department, along with government rhetoric that promises "a clean, safe and sustainable environment while supporting economic prosperity."

 

Scientists Baffled over Fukushima Radiation Found in Park in B.C., Canada

14-MAR-2014 09:31 AM   Esther Tanquintic-Misa

Tags

Radioactive activity from Fukushima has reached Fraser River Valley in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Although the scientists uncovered very low levels of cesium-134 in the soil, they remain baffled as to how it arrived in the area.

 

A radioactive metal from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan has been discovered in the Fraser Valley, causing researchers to raise the alarm about the long-term impact of radiation on B.C.’s west coast. Examination of a soil sample from Kilby Provincial Park, near Agassiz, has for the first time in this province found Cesium 134, further evidence of Fukushima radioactivity being transported to Canada by air and water.

 

Fish Farm Pesticides Closer

14-MAR-2014 10:35 AM   Blacklock’s Reporter

A federal law deemed a “critical impediment” to aquaculture by the Department of Fisheries has been assigned to Environment Canada. The transfer is seen as a step to legalizing fish farmers’ use of pesticides. Cabinet ordered the transfer of the Fisheries Act Section 36 that forbids dumping of chemicals into habitat. Fisheries managers had complained of “fuzziness” over the law that restricted aquaculture companies from treating species with chemicals, and proposed it be legalized and regulated similar to crop sprays.

 

Il faudrait 83 ans pour tout restaurer (French only)

11-MAR-2014 09:58 AM   Alexandre Shields, Le Devoir

Résultat de décennies de négligence environnementale, les sites miniers abandonnés continueront longtemps de faire partie du paysage québécois. Si Québec continue les travaux de restauration au rythme actuel, il ne faudra pas moins de 83 ans pour venir à bout de cet héritage toxique, pour un coût dépassant le milliard de dollars. Et la facture sera assumée uniquement par les contribuables.

 

‘Hype’ hurts scientific progress: conference

14-MAR-2014 10:32 AM   Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

A Vancouver conference is calling on government to protect independent research, as the increasingly cutthroat politics behind funding is pressuring scientists to go for sexy over sensible. The scientific community is struggling in an age where “hype” is harming the quality of research, said health law and policy researcher Timothy Caulfield, speaking downtown Thursday at the Brain Science and Social Responsibility conference. The call comes as Ottawa is under fire for cutting federal programs and shutting down research facilities — backing economic interests at the expense of pure science.

 

The federal government is investigating laying charges against a U.S.-based pipeline company after a damning report by an Alberta regulator into a 2012 spill. "Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch has an ongoing investigation into this incident to determine if a contravention of federal environmental legislation has occurred, and continues to work in cooperation with provincial regulatory authorities," said department spokesman Mark Johnson. Alberta is also looking into whether charges will be laid under provincial legislation.

 

A global summit on scientific advice

13-MAR-2014 10:28 AM   The Guardian

In the five years since he was appointed as New Zealand's first science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman has earned a reputation as one of the world's most thoughtful practitioners at the interface between science, society and public policy. In 2009, after a distinguished career in medical research, focused on how a baby's environment between conception and birth determines its life-long health, Gluckman was invited by John Key, New Zealand's newly-elected Prime Minister, to create and lead the Office of the PM's Science Advisory Committee. As he admits: "The committee has only one member, namely me. But this was a constitutional way to ensure its independence."

 

Farmers’ privilege is hollowed out in Bill C-18

13-MAR-2014 10:25 AM   Terry Boehm & Ann Slater

Farmers have been selecting, harvesting, cleaning, storing, replanting and sharing seeds with each other for many millennia. Through Bill C-18, the Canadian government would turn this customary practice into a “privilege” – a hollow privilege that can be taken away at any time.

 

The art of science advice to government

12-MAR-2014 10:23 AM   Peter Gluckman, Nature

Peter Gluckman, New Zealand's chief science adviser, offers his ten principles for building trust, influence, engagement and independence.

 

If we really cared about endangered species

12-MAR-2014 10:18 AM   David Suzuki, Net News Ledger

Of 345 species at risk in Canada, more than 160 have waited far too long for recovery strategies. Thanks to a recent federal court decision, four luckier ones are finally getting overdue plans detailing steps needed to save and protect them, including identifying habitat they need to survive. But to make it happen, environmental groups such as the David Suzuki Foundation had to take the federal government to court. It wasn’t the first time we’ve gone to court to protect wildlife.

 

Environment Canada braces for cuts to climate programs

12-MAR-2014 10:15 AM   Alex Boutilier, The Toronto Star

Canada’s efforts to combat climate change could be scaled down as Environment Canada braces for more budgetary belt-tightening over the next three years. A recently released report on Environment Canada’s plans and priorities reveals the department plans to reduce spending from $1.01 billion in 2014-2015 to $698.8 million in 2016-2017.

 

The Canadian government is quickly using up its allotment of surveillance time on the country’s most sophisticated satellite and could find itself doing without by 2017 unless it comes up with more money, according to Department of National Defence documents. Federal departments were to receive $445 million worth of data collected by the Radarsat-2 satellite in exchange for the government’s financial contribution to the building of the satellite, which is owned and operated by a British Columbia company. But the spacecraft has become so essential, particularly for the military’s surveillance of the country’s coastline, that the federal government is fast using up its data credits.

 

Cosmos : Making science sexy again

10-MAR-2014 10:03 AM   Nicole Mortillaro, Global News

Tags Space

If you were around in the 1970s, you’ll likely remember the PBS special Cosmos, hosted by renowned astronomer Carl Sagan. For many people, that show was responsible for introducing them to our universe. It was wildly successful, reaching an estimated 700 million people. In the show, Sagan explored not just astronomy, but the very essence of life, from the infinitesimally small, to the uncomprehendingly large. More than 30 years passed and rumours swirled about the possibility of reintroducing the series to a whole new generation. But in our day and age — a time of instant gratification and shortened attention spans — how do you wow the audience in a 13-part show about the universe?

 

Ottawa takes another stab at solving the innovation conundrum

09-MAR-2014 10:01 AM   Barrie McKenna, The Globe and Mail

Canadians might be surprised to learn their country has a science and technology strategy. Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled what he called a “bold new framework” in 2007 – “Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage.” Mr. Harper vowed at the time that the plan would make Canada “a world leader in science and technology and a key source of entrepreneurial innovation and creativity.” Seven years later, the promise remains largely unfulfilled. Canada continues to slide further behind other developed countries on most key measures of innovation.

 

Cinq ans plus tard, ce rêve — ou cauchemar, scandent les groupes environnementaux — est devenu réalité. Près de 15 mois après le dépôt d’une demande officielle, le groupe albertain Enbridge a le feu vert pour inverser le flot d’écoulement de son pipeline Québec-Ontario, appelé communément « Ligne 9 », de manière à transporter vers l’est le pétrole issu des sables bitumineux.

 

AECL management contract bidding starts

10-MAR-2014 09:55 AM   World Nuclear News

The announcement follows the government's February 2013 decision to involve the private sector in the management of the national nuclear laboratories. It is the second stage in the restructuring of AECL announced in 2009; the first stage saw the sale of AECL's former Candu Reactor Division to SNC-Lavalin subsidiary Candu Energy Inc in 2011. Interested suppliers are invited to submit a request for response evaluation (RFRE) to demonstrate that they have the experience, expertise and financial capacity to manage the nuclear laboratories. Qualifying suppliers would then engage in detailed consultations with the government with a view to submitting a request for proposal (RFP). The closing date for RFRE submissions is 6 August.

 

Décrit dans la revue médicale Nature Medicine, le test sanguin permettrait de prédire l'apparition de la maladie, avec une précision atteignant les 90 %. Basé sur l'identification de dix lipides (graisses) dans le sang, le test pourrait faire l'objet d'essais cliniques dans deux ans, précisent les chercheurs.

 

La science à l’assaut de la paralysie (french only)

07-MAR-2014 09:07 AM   Brigitte Castelnau, La Presse

Prothèse bionique, greffes de cellules, gestes animés par la pensée grâce aux interfaces cerveau-machine, substances neuroprotectrices: la recherche foisonne pour combattre la paralysie. Jusqu'à faire espérer, un jour, la fin des Jeux paralympiques.

 

The National Energy Board has approved energy giant Enbridge's plan to reverse the flow and increase the capacity of a pipeline that has been running between southern Ontario and Montreal for years. The green light for the Calgary-based company is subject to certain conditions and requirements.

 

Des analyses rendues publiques jeudi par le Bureau de la sécurité des transports (BST) confirment que la haute volatilité du pétrole transporté par la Montreal Maine & Atlantic a joué un rôle déterminant dans l'incendie qui a ravagé le centre-ville de Lac-Mégantic.

 

L'Office national de l'énergie a donné son feu vert à l'inversion du pipeline 9 d'Enbridge vers Montréal, jeudi. L'organisme réglementaire a publié une décision de près de 200 pages en toute fin de journée pour confirmer sa décision. Enbridge peut donc inverser le flux de son oléoduc de 639 kilomètres entre North Westover et Montréal, qui coule actuellement d'Est en Ouest. La compagnie pourra aussi hausser la capacité de la conduite de 240 000 barils par jour à 300 000.

 

Four suitors for Chalk River Laboratories

06-MAR-2014 08:55 AM   Dean Chase, The Daily Observer

Four major consortiums will bid to become the new operators of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's Chalk River Laboratories. That was a piece of good news coming out of last week's Canadian Nuclear Association Conference and Trade Show in Ottawa where the future of the facility was front and centre. This is a critical year for Chalk River with the federal government initiating a significant restructuring of AECL by moving to a "government-owned, contractor-operated" (Go-Co) model, while deciding on the future of the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor.

 

Un astéroïde déjà connu des astronomes doit passer mercredi à proximité de la Terre à une distance inférieure à celle séparant notre planète de la Lune, mais sans présenter de danger de collision, a indiqué la Nasa sur son site internet.

 

Canadian Space Agency quietly marks 25th anniversary

05-MAR-2014 08:52 AM   City News, Toronto

Tags Space

The Canadian Space Agency quietly marked a quarter-century of existence last Saturday. The 25-year anniversary on March 1 was highlighted by a short statement from president Walt Natynczyk on the agency’s website and its Facebook page.

 

Government suggests no need to test for radiation

05-MAR-2014 08:49 AM   John Gleeson, Coast Reporter

Health Canada is citing two separate series of radiation tests on BC fish, along with ongoing ocean monitoring, as reasons why regular domestic seafood testing is not warranted in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident. “What we’ve seen so far presents no health risk,” said Sean Upton, Health Canada senior media relations officer. “If increased radiation is found in the waters in 2014 or 2015 then more testing would be done, as needed. We know there’s going to be radiation from Fukushima for years to come. The testing will never stop.”

 

Nearly 2,000 people have signed a petition calling on the federal government to reinstate fired archaeologist Patricia Sutherland in her position at the Canadian Museum of History so she can resume her groundbreaking research on contact between Europeans and the Dorset, the ancient, vanished people of the Arctic. Sutherland was curator of Arctic archeology at what was then called the Canadian Museum of Civilization when she was abruptly fired in April 2012, just months before her Arctic research was featured in National Geographic magazine and on the CBC show The Nature of Things.

 

Scientists have discovered a new type of virus in 30,000-year-old permafrost and managed to revive it, producing an infection. The new virus, named Pithovirus sibericum, infects amoebas and is not harmful to humans. The researchers suggest that looking for amoeba-infecting viruses in permafrost is an "inexpensive and safe way to realistically assess the threat" posed by pathogens that might be released from ancient frozen soils and sediments as permafrost melts, either due to global warming or industrial activities such as mining and drilling.

 

Un nouveau type de virus géant, baptisé «Pithovirus», a survécu plus de 30 000 ans à la congélation, dans une couche de permafrost sibérien contemporaine de l'extinction de l'homme de Neandertal, selon une étude publiée lundi.

 

La puissance du nombre (French only)

01-MAR-2014 08:33 AM   Pauline Gravel, Le Devoir

Depuis une dizaine d’années, on évalue, on note et on classe les chercheurs, les universités, voire les pays, à l’aide d’« indicateurs d’excellence » qui souvent ne reflètent pas vraiment la qualité de la recherche mais répondent avant tout à des impératifs de marketing. Le sociologue des sciences à l’UQAM, Yves Gingras, décrit dans son dernier livre les dérives de l’évaluation de la recherche et montre les dangers de vouloir tout résumer à un chiffre.

 

Bruce Power pushes $15-billion upgrade with lead shareholders

28-FEB-2014 08:30 AM   Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail

Tags Energy

Bruce Power is working to secure the commitment from its two leading shareholders – TransCanada Corp. and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) – for a 15-year, $15-billion project to refurbish six Candu reactors at its Lake Huron site. The effort comes after Saskatoon-based uranium giant Cameco Corp. reached an agreement in January to sell its 31.6-per-cent stake in the nuclear power operator to OMERS’s Borealis infrastructure unit. That would leave the provincial pension fund with a 56.1-per-cent stake in Bruce Power, although TransCanada – currently at 40 per cent – and other small shareholders are still reviewing their right of first refusal to take up the Cameco shares.

 

The fate of the venerable NRU nuclear research reactor at Chalk River rests on it delivering innovative scientific and economic benefits once medical isotope production ceases in 2016, the head of AECL said Thursday at the Canadian Nuclear Association’s annual Ottawa conference. Earlier, Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver told the several hundred nuclear industry delegates the government hopes to complete its reorganization of AECL into a government-owned contractor-operated (GoCo) partnership next year. He gave no details about which private parties are in the running.

 

Millions of scallops dying off B.C. coast

27-FEB-2014 09:25 AM   Amy Judd, Global News

Many of B.C.’s scallops are grown from larvae at a hatchery in Qualicum Beach. It is a controlled environment, carefully monitored to give the shellfish the best possible chance. But moving to the ocean is the next step, where things are becoming increasingly difficult as the waters seem to have reached a tipping point.

 

Main estimates : Statistics Canada reviewing how it gathers data

27-FEB-2014 09:22 AM   Jordan Press, The Province

The federal statistics agency will undertake a comprehensive review of how it collects key data about the Canadian population. The review is outlined in the main estimates tabled in Parliament Thursday, where Statistics Canada announced it was cutting its expected spending by more than $21 million — a five per cent cut from the estimates it tabled last year. In all, Statistics Canada expects to spend almost $380 million over the next 12 months. The estimates last year were for spending of more than $400 million.

 

Local salmon advocate files federal petition

27-FEB-2014 09:19 AM   John French, Pique

A Whistler advocate of salmon preservation and habitat protection feels the federal government isn't doing enough following the release of the Cohen Commission into the Decline of Fraser Sockeye — so Dave Brown filed a petition with the auditor general of Canada expressing his concerns.

 

Des coupes pourraient être décrétées en santé si le gouvernement n'arrive pas à convaincre les médecins d'étaler leurs futures hausses de salaire, indique le ministre Réjean Hébert. Le titulaire du portefeuille de la Santé et des Services sociaux a évoqué cette hypothèse, mercredi, en se présentant au Conseil des ministres.

 

Court overrules DFO decision to reopen herring fisheries

26-FEB-2014 09:15 AM   Kristan Secher, The Tyee

A Federal Court judge has ruled in favour of the five B.C. First Nations' injunction against Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada's (DFO) proposal to reopen commercial herring roe fisheries on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The ruling came after it was revealed in court that Fisheries Minister Gail Shea went against the advice of her own scientists when she decided to reopen the west coast of Vancouver Island for commercial herring fisheries.

 

The deteriorating health of B.C.'s oceans is impacting not only the province's marine life, but also its economy. Millions of shellfish are dying off before they can be harvested at Island Scallops, near Parksville, B.C., due to increased acidity levels in the ocean.

 

No global warming ‘hiatus’ for extreme heat days

26-FEB-2014 09:08 AM   Emily Chung, CBC News

The number and intensity of extremely hot days has been increasing steadily despite a "pause" in the rise of average surface temperatures over the past 15 years, a new study has found. "This analysis shows that not only is there no pause in the evolution of the warmest daily extremes over land but that they have continued unabated over the observational record," said the paper published Wednesday in Nature Climate Change. "Furthermore, the available evidence suggests that the most 'extreme' extremes show the greatest change." The average global temperature is a common measure of climate change used by scientists and policymakers, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

 

About 100 key players, including representatives from industry, academia and government, met at the Canadian Space Agency on Tuesday for what was billed as the country’s first annual space conference. The event took place just a few weeks after Industry Minister James Moore announced Canada’s new space policy framework.

 

Pourquoi aller dans l’espace? (French only)

26-FEB-2014 09:04 AM   Le labo du journalisme scientifique

Avec des coûts de construction et d’entretien dépassant les 100 milliards de dollars, la Station spatiale internationale est sans aucun doute la structure la plus dispendieuse assemblée par l’être humain. Est-ce que cet investissement colossal en vaut la peine? Outre que les scientifiques y bénéficient de la possibilité d’étudier les effets de cette faible gravité sur le corps humain, ce sont les technologies développées spécifiquement pour la Station qui ont eu le plus d’applications concrètes sur Terre. L’exemple parfait est le neuroArm, un bras robotique très précis qui permet de faire des chirurgies du cerveau auparavant impossibles qui requièrent une dextérité élevée. Le neuroArm s’inspire du bras robotique Canadarm2, de conception canadienne, qui a contribué à l’assemblage et à l’entretient de la Station spatiale.

 

Les nouveaux propriétaires de la société Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway ont laissé entrevoir des investissements importants pour mettre à niveau le chemin de fer lors d'une rencontre, lundi, avec la mairesse de Lac-Mégantic, Colette Roy-Laroche.

 

The Harper approach to science is holding us back

25-FEB-2014 08:59 AM   Dak T. de Kerckhove, iPolitics

Over the last seven years, our federal government has directed funding away from basic science toward industry-led research programs, and clashed publicly with the scientific community on issues ranging from censorship to laboratory closures. In 2014, Industry Canada’s innovation strategy, which was opened to public consultation, promised more of the same approach.

 

TransCanada, l’entreprise qui prévoit construire l’oléoduc Énergie Est qui s’étendra sur près de 1000 km au Québec, a cerné la majorité des dangers et des risques de son réseau actuel, mais certains aspects ne sont toujours « pas conformes », conclut un rapport de l’Office national de l’énergie.

 

McMaster scientists take lead in new national health networks

25-FEB-2014 08:54 AM   Suzanne Morrison, McMaster Daily News

Tags Funding Health

A McMaster researcher will head a new Canadian network which has been formed to find innovative ways to prevent stroke. McMaster colleagues have been called on to assist with two new Canadian networks looking at respiratory health and vascular disease. The three Emerging Networks were announced by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in Ottawa today.

 

Telescopes in southern Spain have recoctvrded the flash of a meteorite that a new report says hit the Earth's moon with a force equivalent to 15 tonnes of TNT – at least three times as great as that from the previous record-holding lunar impact observed by NASA last March. This rock, recorded on Sept. 11, 2013, carved out a new crater measuring 40 metres in width. It had the mass of a small car, weighed about 400 kilograms and was travelling at 61,000 km/h.

 

A National Energy Board audit has found room for improvement when it comes to TransCanada's pipeline safety practices. Although the federal energy watchdog is "of the view that the processes presently used by TransCanada have identified the majority, and most significant, of its hazards and risks," it says the company is still breaking the rules in some areas.

 

We need to cultivate economic benefits from Canadian discovery research

24-FEB-2014 08:42 AM   Ted Hsu, The Hill Times

Tags Innovation

The success of GreenCentre as a Centre of Excellence for the Commercialization of Research (CECR) in cultivating the economic benefits of discovery research in green chemistry from Canadian post-secondary institutions, as well as entrepreneurs, should be built upon and generalized to certain other sectors in order to transform innovation in Canada. All of the major advances in prosperity resulting from science and technology can be traced back to basic research. Basic research can be driven by curiosity, by a desire to be systematic, by a desire for rigour or a desire to accomplish a technical feat. Basic research is, by definition, an enterprise whose goal cannot be fixed and whose final outcome cannot be predicted. And yet, this undirected enterprise has been, historically, a most successful one.

 

Budget 2014 represents a subtle shift in the federal government’s strategy for the research and innovation file. With the next election on the near horizon, the Conservatives are now trying to hide their shortsighted cuts with lavish promises of billions in investments delayed over the next decade. Most of these commitments are slotted to be spent on a future government’s dime, with funds promised that won’t start to flow until after 2015. The Conservatives are playing politics with research funding and have tabled nothing more than a “positioning budget” for the next election.

 

Canada needs a senior science and innovation minister

24-FEB-2014 08:35 AM   Paul Dufour, The Hill Times

When federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced his 10th budget on Feb. 11, he once again demonstrated that science, technology, and innovation suffer from that Ottawa affliction known as CPA, continuous partial attention. Budgets with this government and others before it are usually careful to make some sort of statement about the need to invest in knowledge and innovation—only the emphasis and context changes (see, for example any, of the word clouds in Flaherty’s previous budgets for ‘research,’ ‘science,’ and ‘innovation’).

 

When federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea approved the reopening of commercial herring roe fisheries on First Nations' territories in British Columbia, she ignored the recommendations of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) scientists. This was revealed in an internal DFO document released yesterday during a court hearing of five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations' injunction against DFO's proposal to reopen the west coast of Vancouver Island to commercial herring roe fisheries in 2014.

 

En recherche, le gouvernement fédéral est un acteur majeur lorsqu’il est question de financement. Et le dernier budget Flaherty déposé indique clairement qu’une nouvelle donne régit en terre canadienne la distribution des subsides. La recherche doit-elle être uniquement évaluée selon sa capacité de soutenir les entreprises ? Selon sa seule capacité de générer des revenus potentiels ? Si, à cette double question, le gouvernement Harper répond « oui », il se trouvera dans le monde universitaire plus d’un acteur pour souligner le côté pervers d’une telle politique.

 

Ottawa is laying the regulatory groundwork for the transfer of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) to a Winnipeg think-tank. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is floating the use of a special exemption under the Fisheries Act that would allow the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD), the ELA’s prospective owners, to authorize the dumping of pollution into the remote network of 58 lakes for the sake of environmental research

 

No radiation in fish tested: Health Canada

21-FEB-2014 08:22 AM   John Gleeson, Coast Reporter

Canadian Food Inspection Agency; International Atomic Energy Agency; First Nations; Monitoring Health Canada is citing two separate series of radiation tests on B.C. fish — along with ongoing ocean monitoring — as reasons why regular domestic seafood testing is not warranted in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

 

A secret report from a committee of federal deputy ministers stresses the need for the federal government to further combat climate change and manage the risks that threaten Canadian communities, government infrastructure, food security and human health. The report from the Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment to the Clerk of the Privy Council Wayne Wouters also identifies priority areas for potential “government intervention” on energy and environmental innovation, including taking action on unconventional oil and gas, water and next-generation transportation.

 

On October 21, 2013 I asked a Canadian federal scientist named David Tarasick to talk about ozone depletion for an episode of my radio show, The Terry Project on CiTR. David Tarasick is a somewhat controversial figure in Canada. After he published a landmark paper in Nature, Dr. Tarasick was kept from speaking to the press by Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent. That said, the Terry Project is a campus radio program. Many of our episodes have received less than 100 listens and downloads. It is hardly the sort of show that would frighten serious communications professionals–let alone ministers.

 

Canada needs to better control and contain resistant microbes — or superbugs — that are killing and sickening thousands of Canadian each year, say leading doctors. A good place to start, they say, is to close “loopholes” that permit Canadian farmers to import antibiotics by the truckload to feed to their animals – a practice that helps breed resistant microbes

 

La résistance croissante des microbes aux antibiotiques est devenue une menace à l'échelle de la planète, prise très au sérieux par les autorités sanitaires qui, comme l'OMS, commencent à multiplier mises en garde et plans d'action.

 

Editorial : Ocean-watcher back on the job

20-FEB-2014 09:12 AM   Times Colonist

It was a dark day for environmental research in Canada when the federal government axed marine-mammal toxicologist Peter Ross and his team from the Institute of Ocean Sciences in North Saanich. The outlook brightened this week with the news that Ross has joined the Vancouver Aquarium to head a new initiative called the Ocean Pollution Science Program. Although the government was wrong to get rid of Ross’s ocean-pollution research, it’s reassuring to know that some of it will be able to continue under the auspices of the aquarium.

 

New federal research has confirmed that water from vast oilsands tailings ponds is leaching into groundwater and seeping into the Athabasca River. Previous studies using models have estimated the leakage at 6.5 million litres a day from a single pond. But the Environment Canada study used new technology to actually fingerprint the mix of groundwater chemicals in the area.

 

Experimental Lakes Area expected to open in spring

19-FEB-2014 09:08 AM   Andrea Hill, Leader Post

The federal government has yet to close a deal to keep the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area research facility open, but is already introducing regulations so research can get underway this spring. In the latest publication of the Canada Gazette, the government said it hopes to have the necessary regulatory framework in place for a non-profit group to take over operation of the ELA before May 1, the beginning of the research season. To do this, it has proposed changes to the Fisheries Act that will allow a new operator to dump toxic substances into the ELA’s 58 northern Ontario lakes for research purposes. A similar piece of provincial legislation was announced by the Government of Ontario earlier this year.

 

Canada’s missed opportunities at AAAS

19-FEB-2014 09:06 AM   Léo Charbonneau, University Affairs

Canada was both present and missing at this year’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, Feb. 13-17. AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and its annual meeting attracts thousands of leading scientists, engineers, educators, policymakers and journalists from around the world to discuss recent developments in science and technology. Canada was well represented at the scientific symposia, with researchers talking about impacts of the Arctic thaw, fisheries management, brain simulation and seeing elections through the lens of mathematics, among other topics. But Canada was notably lacking in any official promotion as a destination of choice for top researchers – at a time when we do a lot of talking, at the federal level at least, about the need to do more to attract top researchers from around the world.

 

The Experimental Lakes Area has cleared the last regulatory hurdle on its way to reopening under the management of the International Institute for Sustainable Development this spring. The federal government has produced the changes to Canada’s fishing regulations which will allow research at the ELA to continue legally.

 

Hudak pushes plan to contract out government services

19-FEB-2014 09:01 AM   Adrian Morrow, Globe and Mail

Tim Hudak is proposing a sweeping plan to contract out government services and force public sector unions to compete with private companies to see who can do the work at the lowest cost.

 

Ending Science

19-FEB-2014 08:57 AM   Editorial, The Telegram

It’s a sobering report: the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada’s “Vanishing Science” outlines how the federal government seems intent on erasing the nuisance of scientists and fact-based decision making. Since 2008, federal budget cuts have seen more than 2,000 federal science jobs simply disappear — a raft of cuts seem designed to make sure facts don’t get in the way of government dogma.

 

Memo to Harper predicted boom in transporting oil by rail

18-FEB-2014 08:50 AM   Mike de Souza, Postmedia News

An internal memorandum to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, prepared more than two years before the Lac-Megantic railway disaster, noted that oil shipments by train were on the verge of expanding by up to 20 times the volume. The memo has prompted the Liberals to ask why the government wasn’t more focused on safety at an earlier stage.

 

The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced that the proposed Experimental Lakes Area Research Activities Regulations have been published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public comment period, ending on March 16, 2014. This next step in the process is in keeping with the Government of Canada’s commitment to transition the Experimental Lakes Area to a third party.

 

One of most unpredictable and dangerous impacts of climate change is the threat it poses to our ability to grow and harvest food across Canada and around the globe.On a global scale, food security in the age of climate change is a serious concern with reports warning that climate change could drive up food prices and lead to millions of people living in a state of food insecurity. In the context of this agricultural insecurity, Gerry Ritz, Canada's Minister for Agriculture, told the House of Commons last week that "this cold weather can't last forever. This global warming has to stop some time".

 

Chaque jour, les pharmaciens doivent composer avec des pénuries de médicaments. Et ils n'en peuvent plus. Un jour ou l'autre, il y aura des morts, préviennent-ils. Quand un médicament n'est pas accessible, les professionnels de la santé disposent parfois de solutions de rechange. Mais le patient ne reçoit pas le «traitement optimal» parce que ce deuxième choix peut commencer à agir moins rapidement ou causer des effets secondaires.

 

Boîtes à surprises (French only)

17-FEB-2014 08:26 AM   Marie-Claude Malboeuf, La Presse

Ottawa a promis en 2004 de bannir les produits de santé naturels risqués ou inefficaces. Dix ans - et des dizaines de ratés - plus tard, c'est apparemment un échec. Une nouvelle étude démontre que des dizaines de produits approuvés contiennent encore des ingrédients cachés ou nocifs. Et de plus en plus de voix accusent le ministère de la Santé d'approuver presque n'importe quoi.

 

Golden Goose : Where offbeat science is good science

17-FEB-2014 08:18 AM   Jim Cooper & Randy Hultgren, The Hill

Dr. Chalfie joined us in Chicago for a symposium Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The subject was the Golden Goose Award – a funny-sounding honor with a serious goal. The Golden Goose Award was created in 2012 by academic, business and science organizations to recognize federally funded research. This research often leads to major breakthroughs with little or no connection to the original research, illustrating the unpredictable paths science takes in advancing society.

 

Harper et la science : éclaircie en vue ? (French only)

17-FEB-2014 08:16 AM   Valérie Borde, L’actualité

Tags Funding Budget

Pour la première fois depuis très longtemps, la communauté scientifique ne s’est pas indignée contre une décision du gouvernement Harper, qui annonce une légère embellie du côté de la recherche fondamentale dans son dernier budget.

 

Dispute over the Future of Basic Research in Canada

16-FEB-2014 07:56 AM   The New York Times

Canada’s National Research Council is the country’s premier scientific institution, helping to produce such inventions as the pacemaker and the robotic arm used on the American space shuttle. But last year, its mission changed. The Canadian government announced a transformation of the 98-year-old agency, formerly focused largely on basic research, into a one-stop “concierge service” to bolster technological innovation by industry — historically weak — and generate high-quality jobs.

 

Bees. Careful.

17-FEB-2014 03:35 PM   Blacklock’s Reporter

Farm groups are pressing the Senate to forestall for years any regulations on pesticides rated toxic to bees. Members of the Senate agriculture committee investigating deaths of bee colonies were told any restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides should await a complete review by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

 

Rapidly warming Arctic may be causing our polar-vortex winter

15-FEB-2014 03:34 PM   Kate Allen, the Toronto Star

Tags Climate Arctic

The rapidly warming Arctic may be behind persistent weather patterns half a world away, including our polar-vortex winter, the U.K.’s relentless rain, and droughts in the American southwest, according to a “controversial” new theory. The theory, which Francis presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Chicago on Saturday, is still contentious. “This is a very new research topic . . . and it has ended up triggering a lot of discussion in our scientific community,” she said.

 

At an annual conference in Truro, N.S., that brings fishermen and scientists together to promote ocean research, some researchers declined to discuss their work with media because they did not have approval to do so. Scientists across the country have been expressing growing alarm over federal programs monitoring areas that range from climate change and ocean habitats to public health, worried Canadians are being deprived of crucial scientific information.

 

Éditorial – Les Néoconservateurs (french only)

14-FEB-2014 03:31 PM   François Cardinal, La Presse

Les conservateurs ont été de véritables précurseurs lorsqu'ils ont jeté les bases d'un gouvernement qui s'appuie sur la science et la raison. Cent ans plus tard, ils se sont transformés en fossoyeurs de cet État moderne en sapant les bases scientifiques de l'appareil fédéral.

 

En mars 2013, l'ingénieur fédéral Jean-Pierre Gagnon, un des milliers de fonctionnaires touchés par les coupes de l'année précédente du gouvernement Harper, a quitté son emploi. Selon l'Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada (IPFPC), M. Gagnon était l'un des principaux experts nord-américains en transport ferroviaire de matières dangereuses, tout particulièrement soucieux de la sécurité des wagons citernes DOT-111. C'était quelques mois avant la tragédie de Lac-Mégantic...

 

Ewart : Budget ignores rail and marine safety

13-FEB-2014 03:26 PM   Stephen Ewart, The Windsor Star

Getting Canadian oil and gas to lucrative global markets "is a priority" for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, but this week's budget didn't include new funding commitments in response to recent federal reports on improving rail and oil tanker safety. The budget did allocate $28 million over two years to the National Energy Board to help review project applications - TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline was named specifically - so they are completed within the two-year time limit set by Ottawa.

 

The vast network of natural gas wells, pipes and processing facilities across the U.S. and Canada is "leaky" and needs a fix, according to a new study. Government authorities are underestimating how much methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is escaping into the atmosphere from the natural gas system, says the report, entitled Methane Leaks from North American Natural Gas Systems, that was released Thursday by journal Science.

 

Funding technical talent and a ‘how-to’ economy

13-FEB-2014 03:23 PM   Nobina Robinson, The Globe and Mail

This week’s federal budget demonstrates that the government realizes Canada’s innovation challenge is a “people” as well as an “ideas” challenge. Currently, economic growth is being held back by two related conditions – lagging productivity and high rates of youth unemployment (as well as underemployment) at a time when employers are have trouble finding people who possess the right critical and technical skills. In an economy with a growing demand for innovation talent in all sectors, we need to train people to know not just the “why” of knowledge, but the “how-to” of technical talent.

 

La très grande majorité des scientifiques du gouvernement fédéral croient que les compressions imposées à leurs activités de recherche et de surveillance affaibliront la capacité du gouvernement à servir l’intérêt public et qu’elles ont fait régresser le Canada en matière de protection de l’environnement...

 

Key DFO Library Closure Questions Go Unanswered : Scientists

12-FEB-2014 10:47 AM   Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee

A federal government reply to a New Democratic query about the closure of seven famed libraries operated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) leaves many questions unanswered, scientists say.

 

Is the budget good for science? Depends on what you research

12-FEB-2014 10:42 AM   Ivan Semeniuk, The Globe and Mail

Is the 2014 federal budget good for Canadian science? Parsing through the text of yesterday’s budget document it’s fair to say it’s written to look that way. For example, with renewed commitments to the TRIUMF particle accelerator and a cutting-edge quantum institute the government has made a strong show of support for physics. Together with modest gains for the agencies that fund basic research, the allocations seems tailored to answer those who say the Harper government’s policies have been harmful to science in Canada. But while the funding commitments come as welcome news for the many researchers who will benefit from them, critics say the budget is more of a cosmetic softening than a cosmic shift for Canadian science.

 

The National Research Council says it’s not surprised at a survey that says three out of five employees at the federal government’s scientific research agency are frustrated by decisions made by senior management. Responding to questions about an internal survey obtained by Postmedia News, a council spokesperson said the NRC expected a negative reaction from staff because of its ongoing restructuring. Following the 2012 federal budget, the NRC cut spending and shifted its mandate away from doing general scientific research on public policy issues, moving instead toward becoming a “concierge service” for businesses.“Communicating in a time of change is not always an easy task and often creates uncertainty,” NRC spokesman Charles Drouin said in an email.

 

"With this Budget, the interests of Canadians have been sacrificed in favour of electoral considerations and an irrational obsession with balanced budgets. It keeps Canada on the wrong course and puts Canadians' health, environment and economic prosperity at risk. It is simply not possible for the government to 'put its fiscal house in order' when the foundations - the programs and services that Canadians depend on - are crumbling," says Debi Daviau, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), Canada's largest union of public service professionals.

 

« Avec ce budget, les intérêts des Canadiens ont été sacrifiés pour des considérations électorales et une obsession irrationnelle de budgets équilibrés. » C'est un budget qui garde le Canada sur la mauvaise voie et qui compromet la santé, l'environnement et la prospérité des Canadiens. Il n'est tout simplement pas possible que le gouvernement « mette de l'ordre dans les finances » de sa maison lorsque les fondations, c'est-à-dire les programmes et les services dont dépendent les Canadiens, s'effritent. » déclare Debi Daviau, présidente et administratrice en chef de l'Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada (IPFPC), le plus grand syndicat de professionnels de la fonction publique au Canada.

 

It was an unusual scene for Ottawa: A cabinet minister telling university scientists that his government needs independent and vocal science advice, with direct access to the prime minister. The minister was from Britain: David Willetts, minister for universities and science. And his speech Monday on how his government cherishes independent science advice on everything from climate change to medical ethics was unlike what Canadian scientists are used to hearing from leaders here. A non-scientist himself, Willetts told how he and his cabinet colleagues regularly consult a network of independent science advisers for information on political issues and crises.

 

New plan – but no new money announced for space agency

08-FEB-2014 09:46 AM   Andrea Hill, The Star Pheonix

A new plan for the Canadian Space Agency aims to make Canada "a global leader" in space exploration, but does not promise new funding for the agency, which has been forced to trim spending since across the-board budget cuts in 2012. Industry Minister James Moore told reporters Friday that the CSA has "more than enough money to move forward" with the plan and that focusing on the agency's budget is "missing the point of the policy."

 

Des compressions néfastes pour la science (French only)

08-FEB-2014 09:28 AM   Paul Gaboury, Le Droit

Les scientifiques travaillant dans plusieurs ministères fédéraux se disent inquiets des répercussions qu’auront les compressions budgétaires sur la science au cours des prochaines années. Voilà ce que révèlent les résultats d’un sondage Environics mené auprès de scientifiques et professionnels fédéraux dans un nouveau rapport appelé La désintégration de la science publique au Canada, rendu public à la veille du dépôt du budget fédéral par l’Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada (IPFPC).

 

Industry minister releases space policy details

07-FEB-2014 09:25 AM   Metro News, The Canadian Press

A policy framework that will serve as a guide for Canada’s future in space makes sovereignty and security its No. 1 priority. Industry Minister James Moore unveiled the policy document on Friday at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Moore told industry representatives and a group of local students the document has five key priorities.

 

La grande majorité des scientifiques, chercheurs et ingénieurs fédéraux affirment que les politiques et les compressions dans les domaines scientifiques affectent à la fois leur travail, mais mettent surtout en péril la santé des Canadiens et la qualité de l'environnement. C'est ce qui ressort d'un vaste sondage de l'Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada auprès des scientifiques travaillant pour les principaux ministères et organismes fédéraux.

 

RCMP, intelligence agency accused of spying on pipeline opponents

06-FEB-2014 09:04 AM   Mark Hume, The Globe and Mail

Environmental and aboriginal groups opposed to Enbridge Inc.’s proposed pipeline across British Columbia say federal law enforcement agencies are spying on them and they want the “intimidating and anti-democratic” practices stopped. In a news conference on Thursday, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association announced it has filed complaints with the agencies overseeing the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

 

Food insecurity in Canada growing worse

06-FEB-2014 09:01 AM   CBC News

Food insecurity — lack of access to sufficient, healthy food — is either not getting any better or is getting worse in all parts of Canada, according to a new report. Valerie Tarasuk of the University of Toronto was the lead researcher for the Household Food Insecurity in Canada report, which was produced with support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and released Thursday morning.

 

The federal government will cut $2.6 billion in spending and nearly 5,000 jobs from its science-focused departments between 2013 and 2016, says a report released Thursday by a union representing government scientists and professionals. The report, which includes survey data showing a majority of scientists believe their departments are weakening efforts to protect Canadians and the environment, highlights the departure of key experts who did research on rail safety and public health, as well as the recent review of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

 

Half of federal government scientists who responded to a recent poll believe the Conservatives’ cuts to science budgets have already damaged their ability to serve the public. The vast majority — 91 per cent — of respondents believe upcoming cuts will erode that ability further. In particular, scientists working at Environment Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Natural Resources Canada, and in Agriculture were among the most likely to report that cuts to their departments had a detrimental effect on their ability to serve the public. Environmental research and regulation is the area scientists were most likely to be concerned about.

 

The government's cuts to federal science budgets and its changes to policy are damaging scientists' ability to serve and protect the public, according to a new survey. The survey was commissioned by the union representing federal scientists. As well, the Conservative government's shift in federal science priorities under Prime Minister Stephen Harper toward supporting industry is out of step with the public's view that health, safety and the protection of the environment should be the government's top science priorities, says the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. (PIPSC)

 

The federal auditor general has selected a former mining industry executive with more than 25 years experience in environmental and social responsibility as the new Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. Auditor General Michael Ferguson announced Wednesday that Julie Gelfand has been appointed the environment commissioner effective March 24, 2014.Gelfand most recently held the positions of chief advisor at Rio Tinto Canada, and vice-president of environment and social responsibility at the Rio Tinto Iron Ore Company of Canada, where she managed issues related to water effluent, air quality, government and community relations, and aboriginal negotiations.

 

Busted : Ten Myths about the Canada Post

05-FEB-2014 08:49 AM   The Tyee, Doug Nesbitt

Tags Funding Budget

2013 Canada Post's management announced, without warning either the public or the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, that home delivery for five million Canadians would be cut, there would be at least 8,000 layoffs, and letter costs would increase from 63 cents to a dollar. As many have pointed out, Canada Post's reasons for worse service at a higher cost are bogus, based around half-truths and flat out fabrications.

 

Refugee health debate turns nasty, political

04-FEB-2014 08:44 AM   The StarPheonix, Tobi Cohen

A war of words between government officials and critics of their decision to cut health-care funding for certain refugees and asylum claimants is turning nasty and political. Late last week, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander's chief of staff tweeted that a pair of vocal physicians and spokesmen for Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care had connections to the NDP and Liberal Party respectively.

 

A new study suggests the environmental health risks of oilsands operations in Alberta’s Athabasca region have probably been underestimated. Researchers say emissions of potentially hazardous air pollution that were used in environmental reviews done before approving some projects did not include evaporation from tailings ponds or other sources, such as dust from mining sites.

 

UK falls behind on R&D investment and skills, warns BIS paper

03-FEB-2014 08:40 AM   Research, Helen Lock

An international benchmarking report analysing the UK’s science and innovation system against others has highlighted low R&D spending and a lack of home-grown talent as major weaknesses.

 

Cities urge Ottawa to reveal new infrastructure fund details

03-FEB-2014 03:38 PM   CBC News, Susanna Mas

Tags Funding

Canada's cities say with the construction season approaching there is an "urgent" need for the federal government to reveal the details of a new infrastructure plan scheduled to come into effect April 1, despite the fact that money from the new fund has already been promised to Toronto for the extension of a subway line. The Conservatives announced in last year's federal budget $14 billion over 10 years in new infrastructure money under a new Building Canada Fund but the details have yet to be made public.

 

The future of the Royal Canadian Navy’s only research vessel could be in jeopardy. The 76-metre-long CFAV Quest and its 55-member crew have been involved in defence and ground-breaking oceanographic research throughout the North Atlantic Ocean and the Canadian Arctic. However, cuts in recent years have been placing an increasing financial burden on the navy, leading to the cancellation of CFAV Quest’s research mission.

 

Keystone XL oil pipeline clears major hurdle

31-JAN-2014 03:25 PM   The Toronto Star, Matthew Daly

The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada moved a significant step toward completion Friday as the State Department raised no major environmental objections to its construction.

 

Unsafe drugs stay on market too long, study finds

31-JAN-2014 03:21 PM   The Ottawa Citizen, Sharon Kirkey

Dangerous drugs often remain on the market in Canada for more than three years before eventually being pulled from drugstore shelves over serious safety risks, new Canadian research shows. The study, by Dr. Joel Lexchin, an emergency physician and York University professor of health policy, found that about four per cent of new drugs approved by Health Canada between January 1990 and December 2009 were eventually withdrawn for safety reasons.

 

Environment; National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy; Experimental Lakes Area; Libraries; Fisheries; Howard Elliot Is the Harper government making war on public science and research? On the surface, this seems a hyperbolic, even ludicrous assertion. But if you look more closely at what is happening in public science across the country, it might not sound quite as ridiculous. The Canada Centre for Inland Waters, once a crown jewel of Great Lakes research, has been so reduced by staffing and budget cuts, critics say it can't do its job, including adequate monitoring around the Randle Reef project. Estimates are that up to 60 science jobs have been cut in the past decade.

 

Western University has suddenly become the country’s brain trust for everything about the weather since before Canada was a country. Environment Canada is trucking 1,000 boxes full of daily climate observations dating back to the 1840s to Western, where the vast trove of information will be stored in a climate-controlled archive and eventually digitally reproduced. What makes the collection so unique is that it gives researchers and the public rare access to original weather reports — many handwritten with dip pens — containing detailed notes.

 

We can, and must improve our innovation performance

30-JAN-2014 02:42 PM   Vancouver Sun, Harvey Enchin

With all this focus on innovation, one might expect that Canada and B.C. would be global leaders, hotbeds of new ideas being brought to life to share with — and ideally to sell to — the world. Alas, neither the country nor the province is living up to the hype. The Conference Board of Canada ranks Canada 13th out of 16 peer countries on its scale of 21 indicators of innovation performance.

 

Health Minister doesn’t want any new health dollars in budget

30-JAN-2014 02:39 PM   Sun News, Giuseppe Valiante

Tags Funding Budget

Health Minister Rona Ambrose said Thursday she doesn't want any new money for health care in the upcoming federal budget. She said provinces should be satisfied with the roughly $33 billion the federal government already provides in annual health transfer payments. "There is enough money in the system," she said.

 

Canadian drill could be used for mining on the moon

31-JAN-2014 11:47 AM   The Hamilton Spectator

Tags Space

A space drill developed by a firm based in Sudbury, Ont. could be boring for water on the moon in less than five years — if everything goes according to plan. It would also signal the start of the space mining industry.

 

Nearly seven months after getting new powers making it easier to fine delinquent pipeline companies, Canada’s national energy regulator says it hasn’t yet issued any fines, choosing instead to use other options to get the industry to respect the law.

 

Contamination au pétrole : le lourd bilan du CN (French only)

30-JAN-2014 11:44 AM   Les Affaires, Hugo Joncas

Tourbière non décontaminée, 10 ans après un déraillement et une fuite majeure de diesel, écoulements toxiques dans le fleuve Saint-Laurent, éviction d’inspecteurs environnementaux… Le Canadien National affiche un lourd bilan en matière de terrains contaminés, et Québec multiplie les procédures. Dans plusieurs dossiers, le CN collabore à reculons avec le ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs (MDDEFP). Nous avons enquêté sur certains des différends les plus sérieux entre la plus grande compagnie ferroviaire du pays et les autorités.

 

Terrains contaminés : la carte du Québec toxique (French only)

30-JAN-2014 11:35 AM   Les Affaires, Hugo Joncas

L’héritage empoisonné laissé par 160 ans d’industrialisation au Québec est difficile à mesurer précisément: les données gouvernementales de base sont un fouillis. Mais une chose est claire: les friches toxiques sont partout, et surtout en plein cœur des villes, à un jet de pierre des quartiers résidentiels. Les gouvernements québécois et fédéral répertorient 5593 emplacements qui doivent toujours être nettoyés dans la province.

 

Closing of government libraries might have violated the law, Elizabeth May says

30-JAN-2014 11:33 AM   The Globe and Mail, Gloria Galloway

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says the Conservative government may have violated two laws as it consolidated and closed research libraries in at least three federal departments – in some cases discarding material that was deemed to be surplus or allowing anyone who saw value in it to take it home.

 

One of Canada’s most prominent oil lobbyists was hired to advise the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the Experimental Lakes Area, a freshwater research facility that the federal government ordered shut in 2012.

 

The federal government says it has fixed the latest technical glitch with a new website designed to streamline Canadian applications for science funding. The website, called the Research Portal, repeatedly broke down just days before the deadline for Insight Development Grants — a $7,000 to $75,000 grant available from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

 

Crude oil shipments by rail on the rise in B.C. despite Lac-Mégantic disaster

27-JAN-2014 11:28 AM   Ottawa Citizen, Matthew Robinson and Mike De Souza

Shipments of crude oil by rail are steaming forward in B.C. even as investigators said Thursday the federal government has failed to eliminate "critical weaknesses" in the rail system in the six months since the deadly Lac-Mégantic train disaster.

 

Too little is known about products from Alberta’s oilsands to assess whether spills in rivers or coastal areas could be effectively cleaned up, according to a recent report for a U.S. government agency. The scientists writing for the emergency response division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say it is unclear whether diluted bitumen will float in water and for how long the molasses-like mixture will remain at the surface.

 

Librarians Protest Canada Cutbacks

26-JAN-2014 11:22 AM   The New York Times

Tags Funding

A move by the Canadian government to shrink the number of its departmental research libraries is drawing fire from some academics, who fear a loss of data and trained personnel and damage to the country’s ability to carry out research.

 

DND budget turf stymied hiring of psychiatrists, social workers: sources

26-JAN-2014 11:20 AM   Maclean’s, The Canadian Press

Tags Health

A bureaucratic, budgetary turf war that has stymied the hiring of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals at National Defence may be finally coming to an end in the wake of a suicide crisis that’s gripped the military.

 

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada; Natural Resources Canada; Parks Canada; the Public Service Commission; Public Works and Government Services Canada; and Transport Canada had plans to shut down or consolidate libraries in 2012, while Environment Canada; Health Canada; the Transportation Safety Board; and the Canadian Transportation Agency made similar decisions more recently.

 

La nouvelle présidente de l’IPFPC prête à se battre (French only)

25-JAN-2014 11:17 AM   Le Droit, Paul Gaboury

Tags Funding

La nouvelle présidente de l'Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada (IPFPC), Debi Daviau, n'a pas l'intention de baisser les bras devant les attaques répétées du gouvernement conservateur contre le secteur public fédéral et le mouvement syndical.

 

Transport Canada gets new warning from watchdog

25-JAN-2014 11:14 AM   Calgary Herald, Mike De Souza

For at least the second time in about a month, Transport Canada has been chastised by Parliament’s information watchdog. The federal department prompted numerous complaints last fall when it requested extensions of up to a year on the release of records through access to information legislation. In one of the latest investigations, the office of Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault concluded that the department had broken the law when it failed to respond to a request for an internal audit from 2006 on dangerous goods, requesting an extension of more than one year. The watchdog also noted that the department finally sent out its response in December 2013, but had attempted to make it look like it had responded earlier.

 

A federal government decision to cut health care coverage for some refugee claimants is actually more expensive in the long-run than simply paying for their benefits upfront, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews is warning in the latest salvo in the back-and-forth turf battle between the province and Ottawa.

 

Let’s debate focus on commercially driven scientific research

21-JAN-2014 11:07 AM   The Chronicle Herald, Eric Newstadt

In what has mistakenly been dubbed a veritable “war on science,” the government of Canada appears to be pursuing a scorched-earth policy around the kind of research that many Canadians value: research that is pursued in the public’s interest. Indeed, all manner of media outlets, have been apt to criticize the federal government’s muzzling of scientists and defunding of research programs dealing with everything from climate change to oceanography.

 

The Ontario government is proposing regulations that would allow scientists to legally conduct experiments at a world-renowned outdoor freshwater laboratory where no new research has been done since the federal government pulled out of an operating agreement five months ago.

 

The federal Joint Review Panel report recommending Ottawa approve Northern Gateway has a number of flaws, errors and misrepresentations. The issues are serious enough that several environmental groups and two First Nations have asked the federal court for a judicial review.

 

There are at least 20 fewer federal research scientists at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington after a wave of government cutbacks over the past three years.

 

Health Canada library changes leave scientists scrambling

20-JAN-2014 10:36 AM   CBC News, Laura Payton, Max Paris

Health Canada scientists are so concerned about losing access to their research library that they're finding workarounds, with one squirrelling away journals and books in his basement for colleagues to consult, says a report obtained by CBC News.The draft report from a consultant hired by the department warned it not to close its library, but the report was rejected as flawed and the advice went unheeded.

 

Librarians Say Culings Signify Harper’s New Info Policy

18-JAN-2014 10:33 AM   The Tyee, Andrew Nikiforuk

Tags Funding Budget

Librarians who witnessed an unprecedented federal library downsizing as well as the closures of seven world famous science libraries at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) say the cullings indicate a major shift to "minimalist government."

 

Safety first on fish farms

18-JAN-2014 10:30 AM   Times Colonist, Editorial

Assurances that the federal government is making major investments in aquaculture research sound a little hollow coming from an entity that just closed regional Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries and appears to have little respect for environmental science.

 

Scientists in Canada are up in arms over the recent closure of more than a dozen federal science libraries run by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Environment Canada. Scientists fear that valuable archival information is being lost, and that the government, which is seen as hostile to environmental science, has little interest in preserving it.

 

Study could have altered Gateway report : scientist

16-JAN-2014 10:12 AM   The Prince George Citizen, Peter James

Information in a new report on what would happen if diluted bitumen spilled in the marine environment could have changed the way the federal Joint Review Panel examining the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline reached its conclusions, according to a witness for one intervener group.

 

Les orientations annoncées de la future stratégie canadienne en matière de sciences, de technologie et d'innovation inquiètent grandement la Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université (FQPPU), qui craint ses effets irréversibles dans les milieux scientifiques et éducatifs. Les trois axes proposés par le gouvernement dans son document de consultation...

 

Last week, CBC’s Fifth Estate presented an excellent summary of the Harper government’s approach toward basic research in Canada. “Silence of the Labs” (viewable at cbc.ca) enumerates the many ways Ottawa is conducting a war of attrition on science.

 

Campaign to raise research awareness

15-JAN-2014 10:10 AM   The Western Gazette, Alex Sager

Tags Funding Budget

Students are being encouraged to get creative and share their experiences with research at their universities, an issue which has become a national concern in the face of federal spending cuts to scientific research. “We Teach Ontario” is a contest targeted at students launched by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, which represents faculty at all of Ontario’s universities. Students are being asked to submit videos about how combined research and teaching has inspired them.

 

Harper, ou la science orwellienne (French only)

15-JAN-2014 10:24 AM   Le Devoir, Jean-Patrick Toussaint

La série noire scientifique se déroulant sous nos yeux depuis les dernières années au pays n’est pas sans rappeler un monde orwellien. Or, avec sa croisade contre toute science faisant obstruction à ses idées, le gouvernement Harper ajoute un tome à celle-ci : à bas les bibliothèques scientifiques de Pêches et Océans Canada et les ouvrages qu’elles contiennent ! Ces fermetures, connues depuis quelque temps, refont surface alors que la nouvelle s’est propagée en France et fit l’objet d’un texte dans le quotidien Le Monde.

 

Ethical challenges of open-access publishing

15-JAN-2014 10:08 AM   University Affairs

The executive editors of an open-access journal called BioéthiqueOnline enthusiastically support the initiatives of the federal and provincial funding agencies to encourage open-access publication of academic research findings. They subscribe to the view that research funded by Canadian taxpayers should be made publicly available and that advocating in favour of accessibility of research findings is about ensuring the free flow of ideas and knowledge among the scientific community, being publicly accountable and making the best out of limited resources. But, they also think that bona fide OA publishing needs a little bit of financial support from these same agencies.

 

NDP MP Pat Martin is asking Conservative and opposition members of a Commons committee that provides oversight over government operations and budgeting to support a call for the Parliamentary budget officer to investigate and report on the effect of climate change on federal government programs and disaster relief costs.

 

Bitumen floats at sea, study finds

15-JAN-2014 09:56 AM   Nanaimo News, Tom Fletcher

A new federal government study by Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources has found that diluted bitumen floats in sea water, except when it is mixed with some types of sediment, which can make it heavy enough to sink. The federal government has funded an ocean-based study of spilled bitumen as part of its shipping safety program, launched in the 2012 budget and now labelled the "World Class Initiative."

 

Le bitume dilué des sables bitumineux, qui pourrait être transporté dans l'oléoduc Northern Gateway si le projet devait se réaliser, a la propriété de couler au fond de la mer lorsqu'il est mêlé à des sédiments et battu par les vagues, conclut une récente étude du gouvernement fédéral.

 

New Democrats Press DFO Minister on Library Closures

14-JAN-2014 09:54 AM   The Tyee, Andrew Nikiforuk

The federal NDP has written a letter to Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea expressing concerns about the culling of seven world famous libraries and seeks clarification on what happened to their collections.

 

Le NPD et le Bloc québécois n’en reviennent tout simplement pas qu’Ottawa transfère à l’Office national de l’énergie (ONE) la responsabilité de déterminer si un projet de pipeline aura un impact sur les poissons et les espèces aquatiques en péril. Ils se demandent si le gouvernement conservateur peut modifier ainsi le processus d’évaluation environnementale sans l’aval du Parlement.

 

Natural disasters pushed up federal spending, could rise in future : PBO

14-JAN-2014 09:53 AM   The Canadian Press; The Prince George Citizen

A report from the parliamentary budget office says spending on natural disaster recovery has jumped due to major floods and rainstorms in the Prairies from 2011 to 2013. The report also says it can't determine whether the 2012 budget cuts are fiscally sustainable because it's not getting enough information from the government.

 

The approach that the federal Conservatives have taken to science is evident in their efforts to renew the national science policy. A public consultation was commenced last week, without much fanfare, on a plan to update the policy that has been in place since 2007. Submissions must be received by February 7. The main thrust of the renewal, according to a government news release, is to seek the views of Canadians on research and development, business innovation, and developing innovative and entrepreneurial people.

 

Le Canada ferme des bibliothèques scientifiques (French only)

10-JAN-2014 10:15 AM   24h Montréal, Clément Sabourin

La fermeture de bibliothèques du ministère des Pêches et des Océans du Canada et la destruction des ouvrages scientifiques qu'elles contenaient suscitent la consternation et la colère des chercheurs canadiens, qui y voient une décision «idéologique».

 

That’s no way to treat a library, scientists say

13-JAN-2014 09:48 AM   The Toronto Star, Sandro Contenta

One day last summer, federal scientists using the fisheries and oceans library on Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula saw a dumpster on the grounds filled with hundreds of research books and periodicals to be destroyed. Federal scientists complain that the decision to close the libraries was made without consultation.

 

Northern Gateway overshadows Ottawa’s marine-safety project

13-JAN-2014 09:43 AM   The Globe and Mail, Mark Hume

The federal government has launched a major new project, known as the World Class Initiative, which is intended to make Canada’s waters safer from shipping accidents and gain the social licence needed to increase marine transportation of oil and gas. But the primary initial focus of that project may surprise people. It’s aimed at Douglas Channel, the long, narrow inlet that leads to Kitimat, which at this point is not a major petro shipping route.

 

The Harper government continues to face criticism over their handling of science resources and scientists in general. But the politician in charge of science is brushing off claims Ottawa has prevented scientists from speaking about their work — or worse.

 

Le savoir, cet ennemi (French only)

10-JAN-2014 09:45 AM   La Presse, Elisabeth Fleury

Les grandes centrales syndicales ont appelé cette semaine à une mobilisation contre les politiques du gouvernement Harper. Ceux qui ont la science et la recherche à coeur auraient toutes les raisons d'en faire autant. Car cette année encore, le savoir scientifique continuera d'être une cible de choix pour les conservateurs.

 

Canada needs a national dementia strategy

10-JAN-2014 09:00 AM   Winnipeg Free Press, The Hamilton Spectator

Odds are one in three Canadians over the age of 65 will develop some form of dementia. Ten million baby boomers will turn 65 in the next 20 years. Today, about 750,000 Canadians live with some form of cognitive impairment. By 2031, about 1.4 million Canadian will be living with some degree of cognitive impairment. And Canada is the only country in the industrialized world that has no national strategy for dealing with dementia.

 

Un peu de dauphin avec votre salade de thon? C'est malheureusement ce qui arrive aux États-Unis, souvent à l'insu des consommateurs, estime le Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). L'influent organisme américain a rendu public hier un rapport dévastateur sur l'impact des différentes techniques de pêche dans le monde. Et de nombreux pays, dont le Canada, sont montrés du doigt pour leur laxisme en matière de pêche durable.

 

Le gouvernement Harper doit revoir de fond en comble le régime d'inspection des chemins de fer, dit le chef de l'opposition, Thomas Mulcair. Selon lui, on ne peut confier cette tâche aux entreprises privées, car elles « vont toujours couper les coins ronds ».

 

Research Cutbacks by Government Alarm Scientists

10-JAN-2014 08:59 AM   The Huffington Post

Scientists across the country are expressing growing alarm that federal cutbacks to research programs monitoring areas that range from climate change and ocean habitats to public health will deprive Canadians of crucial information.

 

The Harper government penchant for suppressing science and information has had a numbing effect over time. There's just been too much.

 

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans; Royal Society of Canada La fermeture de bibliothèques de Pêches et Océans Canada et la destruction des ouvrages scientifiques qu'elles contenaient suscitent la consternation et la colère des chercheurs canadiens, qui y voient une décision "idéologique".

 

Last chapter for many Environment Canada libraries

10-JAN-2014 08:56 AM   Postmedia News, Margaret Munro

Environment Canada, like the department of Fisheries and Oceans, is closing and consolidating its science libraries to the dismay of some observers who worry valuable books and materials are being lost. Environment Canada libraries in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Yellowknife have closed and the collections have been shipped to Saskatoon.

 

Après 2013, quelques raisons d’espérer… (French only)

30-DEC-2013 09:12 AM   Le Devoir Philippe Bourke

Quelques raisons d’espérer, c’est le titre d’un documentaire qui relate la vie d’un pionnier de l’écologie au Québec et dans le monde, le professeur Pierre Dansereau. Dans Le Devoir en 2001, le journaliste Louis-Gilles Francoeur dira de lui qu’il avait « une vision d’un optimisme indéfectible, malgré une lucidité décapante des défis du XXIe siècle ». En effet, au-delà de leurs petites et grandes victoires, et en dépit des progrès notables qui ont été accomplis dans plusieurs secteurs grâce à leurs actions, les environnementalistes constatent qu’ils ne parviennent malheureusement pas à provoquer les changements d’attitudes et de comportements qui sont nécessaires pour infléchir les tendances destructrices de l’activité humaine. Albert Jacquard, décédé en septembre...

 

Des milliers de livres et de revues – on distingue des couvertures de Fisheries Science – sont jetés, en vrac, dans un conteneur de décharge. Anonyme, non daté, le cliché n'en corrobore pas moins les témoignages de chercheurs canadiens qui disent avoir assisté ces derniers mois à la perte d'un patrimoine scientifique inestimable. Résolu à démanteler plusieurs bibliothèques scientifiques pour des raisons budgétaires, le gouvernement canadien est accusé d'avoir dispersé ou mis au pilon des documents rares, certains irremplaçables pour la recherche en sciences de l'environnement. Cet épisode est le dernier en date d'un feuilleton qui dure depuis plus de cinq ans et qui voit s'opposer les scientifiques au gouvernement conservateur de Stephen Harper. Cette bataille est à l'honneur de l'émission d'investigation de la chaîne CBC qui diffusera, vendredi 10 janvier, un documentaire sur le sujet. Le film raconte les histoires de chercheurs canadiens en butte à la censure, à des fermetures de laboratoires, à des suppressions de programmes scientifiques touchant le climat, la sécurité sanitaire, la qualité de l'eau, la surveillance du secteur pétrolier, etc.

 

Health Canada urges doctors to inoculate patients against H1N1 flu virus

09-JAN-2014 08:54 AM   Vancouver Sun, Sharon Kirkey

Tags Health

Four years after “swine flu” gripped the nation, federal health officials are urging doctors to use “every opportunity” to vaccinate people at high risk of flu as H1N1 resurfaces as this season’s dominant flu strain. But the hard part will be persuading people to be inoculated. Not even past threats of a full-blown pandemic have been enough to convince the majority of Canadians to get a flu shot.

 

Si les attentes sont élevées envers le gouvernement du Québec, le portrait est fort différent à Ottawa. L’objectif de réduction des GES fixé par le gouvernement Harper doit déboucher sur une réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de 17 % par rapport à 2005 (+3 % par rapport à 1990). Mais plusieurs experts doutent de la possibilité de l’atteindre. Ottawa continue de multiplier les voyages de promotion du pétrole des sables bitumineux. Au cours de la dernière année, tant le premier ministre que le ministre des Ressources naturelles, Joe Oliver, ont plaidé à plusieurs reprises pour la réalisation de l’oléoduc Keystone XL. Il faudra aussi voir quelles orientations le gouvernement Harper donnera au Conseil de l’Arctique. Le Canada en a pris la présidence en mai, et ce, pour les deux prochaines années.

 

Canada’s Science Library Closures Mirror Bush’s Playbook

09-JAN-2014 08:51 AM   The Tyee, Andrew Nikiforuk

The dismantling of some of Canada's most important science libraries mirrors a move by the Republican administration of U.S. President George Bush Jr. to slash federal environmental libraries nearly eight years ago, but with one difference. Protests by librarians, citizens, elected representatives and 10,000 scientists forced the Bush administration to not only backtrack on the move but to later reopen the science libraries.

 

GES: Ottawa rate ses cibles de réduction (French only)

10-JAN-2014 09:43 AM   Le Devoir, Alexandre Shields

À moins de consentir des efforts supplémentaires majeurs, le Canada ratera complètement les cibles de réduction de gaz à effet serre pourtant revues à la baisse par les conservateurs. Les émissions devraient plutôt grimper, alimentées par les pétrolières qui exploitent les sables bitumineux albertains. Sans en faire l’annonce et sans diffuser le moindre communiqué, le gouvernement Harper a publié fin décembre sa sixième communication nationale sur les changements climatiques. Ce document a été déposé dans le cadre des exigences de déclaration en vertu de la Convention-cadre des Nations unies sur les changements climatiques. Bien que pratiquement ignoré, le rapport n’en représente pas moins le portrait le plus à jour concernant les émissions canadiennes de gaz à effet de serre (GES). Ottawa y reconnaît d’ailleurs que « dans un contexte de forte croissance économique », respecter ses engagements de réduction « pourrait s’avérer un défi ».

 

The real change in climate change

09-JAN-2014 03:43 PM   The McGill Daily, Jane Zhang

Canada is home to some of the world’s most calendar-worthy natural landscapes, one fifth of the world’s freshwater resources, and rugged ‘outdoors-y’ environmentalists. Yet the federal government is all but protective of the nation’s massive natural resource endowment, not to mention the social security and well-being of Canadians.

 

Environment Canada Denied 22% of Requests for Scientist Interviews in 2013

08-JAN-2014 03:41 PM   Society of Environmental Journalists

In a letter to employees, Environment Canada acknowledged that it had denied 22 percent of news media requests for interviews with its scientists in 2013. The startling admission only bolsters critics who say the conservative Harper government is suppressing science which does not support its politics — for example, its policies on global warming or oil sands.

 

Greg Rickford, Minister of State for Science and Technology (S&T), announced the launch of a consultation that will seek input from Canadians on a new federal Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy. As part of the approach to updating the 2007 S&T Strategy, the government has released a discussion paper that solicits the public's ideas and recommendations on how best to shape federal policy on science, technology and innovation.

 

Where Canadian Health Care Falls Short

08-JAN-2014 03:32 PM   The Huffington Post, Dr. Jody Heymann and ...

Here's a fact most Canadians probably don't know: Canadians live longer than people in the United States. Specifically, women in Canada live an average of 83 years, compared to 80 in the United States; men live over 78 years on average compared to 75 in the United States. Why is this the case? There are clear links between mortality rates and the way countries invest in healthcare and improving social conditions.

 

Une journée en l’honneur de la vie sauvage (French only)

24-DEC-2013 09:04 AM   Le Devoir, Alexandre Shields

Les Nations unies ont décidé de déclarer le 3 mars Journée mondiale de la vie sauvage, une façon de rappeler chaque année le danger que représente l’important trafic international d’espèces animales et végétales menacées. La première édition de cette journée coïncidera avec le 40e anniversaire, en mars prochain, de la création de la Convention sur le commerce international des espèces de faune et de flore sauvages menacées d’extinction (Cites).

 

The federal government has violated Canadian law by failing to protect endangered species, a coalition of environmental groups told a Federal Court judge on Wednesday. The groups say the environment and fisheries ministers have "unlawfully" delayed final recovery strategies for four critically endangered species well past mandatory deadlines set out in the federal Species At Risk Act.

 

Purge of Canada’s fisheries libraries a ‘historic’ loss, scientists say

07-JAN-2014 03:26 PM   The Globe and Mail, Gloria Galloway

Scientists knew last spring that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was closing seven of its 11 regional libraries housing decades of aquatic research. But it was not until they saw the shelves being cleared, the books and journals being scooped up for free by private companies, and the scientific reports being hauled off to the dumpster that the magnitude of the purge hit home.

 

U.S. food-safety audit gives Canada low grade, calls for better meat oversight

07-JAN-2014 03:23 PM   The Globe and Mail, Renata D’Aliesio

A U.S. audit of Canada’s food-safety system calls on the federal regulator to strengthen oversight of sanitation and the humane handling of animals at meat-slaughtering plants. The findings from the tour of seven food-processing facilities, two laboratories and five Canadian Food Inspection Agency offices in the fall of 2012 were kept confidential until recently.

 

Canada looking to break into ‘critical’ rare earth elements mining

06-JAN-2014 03:21 PM   Canada.com, Jason Fekete

Tags Funding NRC

Canada is quietly staking its claim to being a global leader in a growing multibillion-dollar industry largely unknown to most Canadians but deemed by the government as “critical” to the country’s economy. Canadian extractive companies, in collaboration with the federal government and other groups, have launched more than 200 exploration projects targeting what are called rare earth elements (REE).

 

A University of Saskatchewan biologist says many wetlands across the Prairies are being contaminated by a relatively new pesticide that is threatening the ecosystem.

 

Farming salmon on land is possible, project suggests

06-JAN-2014 03:18 PM   CBC News, Evelyn Boychuk

The Canadian fishing industry is on the verge of being able to grow this saltwater fish anywhere – including, hypothetically, in the prairie provinces. The Namgis closed containment facility on Vancouver Island is the first salmon farm in North America to grow Atlantic salmon on a commercial scale in a completely land-based aquaculture system.

 

The contents of seven world class Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries across the country were supposed to have been digitized before being purged to save money. But there’s now concern some irreplaceable records have been lost forever.

 

How the Harper Government Committed a Knowledge Massacre

03-JAN-2014 03:13 PM   Huffington Post, Trevor Green

Scientists are calling it "libricide." Seven of the nine world-famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans [DFO] libraries were closed by autumn 2013, ostensibly to digitize the materials and reduce costs. But sources told the independent Tyee in December that a fraction of the 600,000-volume collection had been digitized. And, a secret federal document notes that a paltry $443,000 a year will be saved. The massacre was done quickly, with no record keeping and no attempt to preserve the material in universities. Scientists said precious collections were consigned to dumpsters, were burned or went to landfills.

 

Mercury levels around the Alberta oilsands are 16 times higher than background loads, with contamination taking on the shape of a 'bull's-eye' over the region. Speaking at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference in Nashville, Environment Canada researchers Jane Kirk and Derek Muir said mercury levels are at their highest concentration in the immediate area of oilsands operations but extend out to cover a 19,000-square-kilometre area.

 

NRC to lay off 57 positions

02-JAN-2014 02:47 PM   The Western Producer

The National Research Council is in the middle of a nation-wide workforce adjustment process that will result in job losses at NRC locations across the country. NRC officials confirmed Dec. 20 that 57 positions will be eliminated across the country, including six in Halifax, 20 in Quebec, 18 in Ontario, one in Winnipeg and eight in Saskatoon. All of the affected jobs in Western Canada are scientific positions involving experts in aquatic research and crop resource development.

 

Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq set aside a proposal from her department earlier this year to publicly state that the Harper government recognized scientific evidence that humans were “mostly responsible for climate change” and that it took this threat “seriously.”

 

Need to chase funding distracts scientists from research

29-DEC-2013 02:39 PM   By Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen

Tags Funding

Trained in biology, Roger Pierson often has an uncomfortable side job: Asking industry or charitable foundations for money to keep his university lab running. He’s not alone as the business side of Canadian science evolves. There was a time in the late 1900s when researchers would ask a big government agency for the cash to do a project, and either get the money or not. Groups like the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, or Canadian Institutes for Health Research, held the purse strings. But as government budgets have tightened, the science community is having to look farther afield. A funding agency may now say: We’ll give you a third of what you need. Find some other sources for the rest, or forget it.

 

More than $100 million in cuts are underway at the federal department in charge of protecting Canada’s water and oceans, despite recommendations from top bureaucrats that it needs to increase spending for both environmental and economic reasons.

 

Antibiotic resistance is our ‘ticking time bomb’

25-DEC-2013 02:28 PM   Vancouver Sun, Stephen Hume

Tags Health

Antibiotic resistance has been called the “ticking time bomb” of the 21st century. Today we assume that modern medicine and affluent lifestyles will continue to extend our life spans.

 

Shelves in Winnipeg's Freshwater Institute library showing, according to the scientist who shared this photo with The Tyee, vital records left in disarray and destined for further destruction. Scientists say the closure of some of the world's finest fishery, ocean and environmental libraries by the Harper government has been so chaotic that irreplaceable collections of intellectual capital built by Canadian taxpayers for future generations has been lost forever. Scientists reject Harper gov't claims vital material is being saved digitally.

 

Canadian taxpayers have given more than $400 million to some large oil, gas and pipeline companies in recent years to support green projects that are also boosting the industry's environmental credentials. An analysis of federal accounting records by Postmedia News shows that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has offered these subsidies to money-making companies such as Shell Canada, Suncor, Husky Energy and Enbridge to pursue projects in biofuels production and wind energy as well as new technology to capture carbon pollution and bury it underground.

 

Si la tendance se maintient, 65,4 millions de tonnes de déchets électroniques devraient être générées dans le monde en 2017. Or l’ONU la semaine dernière s’est doté de nouvelles normes techniques adoptées dans le domaine de l’informatique et des télécommunications qui réduiront les déchets d’équipements électriques et électroniques d’environ 300 000 tonnes par an.

 

Les opposants au projet Northern Gateway, qui a reçu jeudi soir le feu vert de la commission fédérale d’examen, préviennent que la guerre qu’ils ont menée jusqu’ici contre la réalisation de l’oléoduc dans l’ouest du pays visera désormais le gouvernement fédéral, à qui revient la décision définitive dans ce dossier.

 

Neonicotinoid pesticides that are widely used on crops in Canada could have adverse affects on the human nervous system, the European Food Safety Authority declared this week. The chemicals, used to treat corn, soybean and canola seeds, have previously been blamed for mass honey bee deaths in Ontario and Quebec, prompting Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulation Agency (PMRA) to proclaim current practices of neonicotinoid use “not sustainable.”

 

ne commission fédérale recommande à Ottawa de donner le feu vert au projet d'oléoduc Northern Gateway, d'Enbridge, qui doit transporter du pétrole des sables bitumineux de l'Alberta jusque sur la côte Ouest, pour exportation vers l'Asie. Les opposants ont cependant fait savoir que leur bataille contre le projet évalué à plusieurs milliers de dollars était loin d'être terminée.

 

In a decision that spans two volumes and nearly 500 pages, the three-member panel of environmental and energy regulators led by Sheila Leggett said the $6.5-billion project’s economic benefits outweigh the environmental burdens. The long-awaited approval includes 209 environmental, financial and technical conditions.

 

Protection du caribou: les provinces recalées (French)

17-DEC-2013 08:15 AM   La Presse, Charles Côté

Le caribou forestier est officiellement menacé de disparition au Canada depuis l'an dernier, mais peu de mesures concrètes sont actuellement en place pour le sauver. Selon un nouveau rapport de la Société pour la nature et les parcs (SNAP), des menaces continuent de planer sur l'espèce.

 

Editorial: Health data could save lives

15-DEC-2013 03:58 PM   Times Colonist

Medical researchers across the country are fed up with the time it takes to get vital information out of the B.C. health ministry.The ministry holds perhaps the most complete set of patient records in North America. The material is a treasure trove for researchers seeking insights into adverse drug reactions, the success of various treatments for cancer, more effective strategies for dealing with chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and so on. But in some cases, two years pass before staff respond to requests for access.

 

Cuts have some concerned about the future of ag research in BC

14-DEC-2013 03:57 PM   The Province, Glenda Luymes

According to the Public Service Alliance union, the federal government has been downsizing operations at its Pacific Agri-food Research Centres, which once included Agassiz, Summerland and a station in Kamloops.

 

At least two federal departments are aiming to “improve” how they communicate in the wake of a report alleging that the federal government is muzzling its scientists.But in a message sent to its employees this week, Environment Canada said it had denied interviews with scientists in 22 per cent of the 316 media requests received since the beginning of 2013.

 

It is not often that scientists enter the world of politics with a damning critique of what they see as wrong-headed government policy. But the government of Stephen Harper seems to be changing that. It is more often becoming a case of “I’m fed up and I’m not going to take it anymore!” That sentiment was in part at least the motivation leading Dr. Jefferey Hutchings, world renowned for his work on marine species at Dalhousie University, and Dr. John Post at Calgary University, to publish an article taking the Canadian government to task for its changes to the Fisheries Act.

 

Panel of experts says federal government has been attacking science

10-DEC-2013 03:42 PM   The Peterborough Examiner, Joelle Kovach

Three local scientists sat on a panel at a town hall meeting regarding federal cuts to science Tuesday evening at the Peterborough Public Library. The event was part of a series of town hall meetings that the Canadian Association of University Teachers is holding across the country over the next two years as part of the ‘Get Science Right’ campaign.

 

La course autour du pôle (French)

15-DEC-2013 02:50 PM   Le Soleil, Pierre Asselin

Pourquoi est-ce qu'on s'intéresse tant, tout à coup, au pôle Nord? Stephen Harper entend démontrer que ce petit point géographique fait partie du Canada. Le sujet a retenu l'attention parce qu'Ottawa a déposé, cette semaine, la demande visant à définir les limites extérieures de son plateau continental dans l'océan Atlantique. Frédéric Lasserre, professeur au Département de géographie de l'Université Laval, un expert reconnu en géopolitique de l'Arctique explique le différend qui oppose la Russie, le Danemark et le Canada pour ce petit bout de glace au bout du monde.

 

Ressources naturelles (RNCan) et de la Sécurité publique, ainsi que la GRC et la Commission canadienne de sûreté nucléaire (CCSN), comptent parmi au moins 13 agences gouvernementales canadiennes qui ont des abonnements aux services de Stratfor, une firme américaine privée de renseignements. C’est du moins ce que révèlent des courriels tout juste publiés sur le site WikiLeaks. Stratfor a fait parler d'elle récemment, après qu'un document destiné à une société pétrolière suggérant des manières de contourner les groupes environnementaux, dont Greenpeace, eut filtré. Les courriels indiquent que les agences canadiennes ont dépensé au moins un demi-million de dollars pour les services de Stratfor.

 

Livres au rebut (French)

13-DEC-2013 02:51 PM   Le Droit, Pierre Allard

Si le gouvernement Harper brûlait des livres sur la place publique, on assisterait à une véritable levée de boucliers à travers le pays. Mais fermer ou amputer des bibliothèques spécialisées dans certains ministères en mettant au rebut des milliers de volumes et documents, cela passe largement inaperçu dans les milieux politiques et médiatiques. Le plus récent incident concerne le démantèlement du réseau de bibliothèques de Pêches et Océans Canada, dénoncé par Elizabeth May, chef du Parti Vert du Canada. Cette dernière en a eu vent parce qu'une partie des collections de la Bibliothèque Eric Marshall sur la recherche en milieu aquatique (située au Manitoba) a été relocalisée dans sa circonscription, en Colombie-Britannique. Mais bien d'autres documents (« impossible de dire combien ») se sont retrouvés au fond de bacs de recyclage...

 

Abeilles - Extinction massive: Santé Canada ne bouge pas (French)

06-DEC-2013 02:54 PM   Journal de Montréal, Patrick Georges

L’Union européenne a décidé de suspendre l’utilisation des néonicotinoïdes, fabriqués par la compagnie allemande Bayer. Même si plusieurs organismes canadiens réclament l’arrêt de l’utilisation d’un pesticide qui serait responsable de la mort de millions d’abeilles, d’autant plus que ce pesticide est utilisé dans presque tous les champs de maïs du pays, notamment au Québec. Santé Canada confirme qu’elle n’a pas l’intention de bannir le produit.

 

Le Canada aurait dû s'en tenir à la science et ne pas réclamer le pôle Nord comme territoire maritime, affirme un expert qui, jusqu'ici, soutenait le gouvernement Harper dans ce dossier. «Le premier ministre a succombé à la tentation et il a transformé un processus fondé sur la science en frime démagogique pour plaire à ses électeurs», a lancé Michael Byers, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en politiques globales et droit international, à l'Université de la Colombie-Britannique. Pendant «trois ou quatre ans» explique M Byers, le gouvernement Harper a «complètement épousé» le processus des Nations unies. Tout a changé hier, dit-il. «Je veux être très clair : personne hors du Canada ne va prendre ceci au sérieux. Les Russes et les Danois vont rigoler, et la réputation scientifique et diplomatique du Canada va souffrir.»

 

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.

 

Smoke stacks mine dust and truck exhaust add to pollution load

07-DEC-2013 03:04 PM   Edmonton Journal, Sheila Pratt

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.

 

Let the Science Speak

03-DEC-2013 02:58 PM   Ottawa Life, Gary Corbett

Last month, the union I represent released the results of an on-line Environics survey designed to gauge the actual extent and impact of muzzling and political interference among federal scientists. Over 4,000 of the more than 15,000 federal scientists, researchers and engineers invited took part – a remarkable response rate. Not only did the survey reveal that muzzling and political interference are far bigger problems than at first thought, but the silencing of science through a combination of cuts, excessive control of communications, and direct interference is clearly putting Canadians’ health and safety, the environment, and our economic prosperity at risk.

 

Protecting nature makes sense for Canada

02-DEC-2013 02:18 PM   The Hill Times, Neil Maxwell

In Canada's most recent report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, biodiversity is called a cornerstone of Canadian competitiveness. The approval processes currently under way for large oil and gas pipelines in North America have shown that widespread acceptance of resource development depends, in part, on due consideration for protecting nature. Our trading partners see Canada as a steward of globally significant resources. Canada's success as a trading nation depends on continued leadership in meeting international expectations for environmental protection, expectations that are increasingly enshrined in international trade agreements.

 

Healthy food policies at risk, scientists say

01-DEC-2013 02:03 PM   The Globe and Mail, Carly Weeks

Health Canada has stacked its food advisory panels with industry insiders who threaten to derail healthy food initiatives, a new report alleges. A group of scientists and researchers published a critical paper in the journal Open Medicine lambasting the federal government for biasing its advisory panels – groups that routinely advise the department on its food policies – by including too many individuals or researchers who work for or receive funding from food corporations.

 

Le processus d'approbation de médicaments par Santé Canada critiqué

29-NOV-2013 10:39 AM   La Presse Canadienne, Lee-Anne Goodman

 

Federal government not ready for emissions rules

29-NOV-2013 01:41 PM   The Star Phoenix, Mike De Souza

The federal government isn't ready to release regulations aimed at stopping rising climate warming emissions from the oil and gas sector, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Thursday.Environment Canada recently released a report on Canada's emissions trends showing that annual carbon pollution from the oilsands industry, the fastest growing source of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the country, is pushing an international climate change commitment by Prime Minister Stephen Harper out of reach. Aglukkaq is the fifth federal Conservative environment minister to pledge regulations for the oil and gas sector after nearly eight years in government.

 

Plusieurs comités consultatifs de Santé Canada qui ont pour mission de recommander au gouvernement l’adoption de règlements ou politiques en matière de nutrition et de normes alimentaires sont noyautés par des individus entretenant des relations plus ou moins directes avec l’industrie alimentaire, révèle une étude publiée mardi dans la revue Open Medicine. Cette situation pour le moins inquiétante serait en grande partie responsable de l’inaction du gouvernement canadien quand vient le temps d’instaurer des mesures visant notamment à assainir les aliments commercialisés au pays.

 

Canada's Auditor General has raised red flags around food safety, border security, emergency plans in First Nations communities living on reserves and rail safety in his annual fall report tabled on Tuesday. Michael Ferguson found that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency did recall unsafe food products in a timely fashion, but the recall system fell apart once a major food recall was announced.

 

Scientifiques sous haute surveillance (French)

12-NOV-2013 01:24 PM   Agence Science Presse, Je vote pour la science

La moitié des scientifiques employés par le gouvernement fédéral peut donner des exemples d’ingérence politique dans les travaux. Le quart soutient qu’on leur a demandé d’omettre de l’information, ou de la modifier, pour des raisons non scientifiques. Ce sont deux des résultats d’un sondage Environics mené auprès de 4000 scientifiques employés par le gouvernement fédéral et publié en octobre. À l’émission cette semaine, Peter Bleyer, chef des communications et des politiques à l’Institut professionnel de la fonction publique, le syndicat qui regroupe ces scientifiques et qui a organisé cette enquête. On parle avec lui de ce sondage, mais aussi de l’état de la science: est-ce que ces normes affectent seulement les communications avec les médias ou les communications entre les scientifiques? Avec les coupes dans des secteurs «sensibles» comme l’environnement, n’envoie-t-on pas un mauvais message aux étudiants canadiens en sciences de l’environnement qui espèrent trouver un emploi dans leur pays?

 

Le monde a de plus en plus soif de pétrole et la tendance n’est pas près de s’essouffler, conclut l’Agence internationale de l’énergie dans un rapport rendu public mardi. Le gouvernement Harper a accueilli « avec plaisir » les nouvelles prévisions de consommation mondiale d’énergies fossiles, même si celles-ci entraînent l’humanité sur la voie de bouleversements climatiques aux conséquences dramatiques. « Les émissions de gaz à effet de serre, dont les deux tiers proviennent du secteur de l’énergie, sont toujours sur une trajectoire dangereuse. Si nous restons dans cette voie, nous n’arriverons pas à nous approcher de l’objectif international de limiter le réchauffement climatique mondial à deux degrés », a averti Maria van der Hoven, la directrice générale de l’Agence internationale de l’énergie (AIE), en présentant le World Energy Outlook.

 

L'industrie du pétrole s'invite au Musée des civilisations

25-NOV-2013 10:46 AM   Le Droit, Philippe Orfali

Tags Energy

Dès janvier et jusqu'en 2018, l'industrie du pétrole assurera le rôle de «partenaire officiel» de l'ensemble des expositions spéciales présentées par le Musée des civilisations, à commencer par une exposition de grande envergure sur la naissance de la confédération canadienne, nommée «1867». En contrepartie, le Musée recevra 1 million de dollars de l'industrie, réparti sur cinq ans. Ce partenariat n'est pas le premier du genre à survenir entre des établissements culturels de la région et le lobby du pétrole. En 2011, le Musée des sciences et de la technologie avait causé la controverse en invitant d'éventuels commanditaires, comme la Fondation Imperial Oil et l'ACPP à participer à la préparation de l'exposition «Énergie, le pouvoir de choisir».

 

Des problèmes importants minent le système de rappel des aliments contaminés, a relevé le vérificateur général du Canada dans son rapport de l'automne 2013. Et si les cas de maladies ont pu être limités dans le cadre des rappels examinés, Michael Ferguson n'est pas certain que cela sera toujours le cas. Il a noté des lacunes dans les procédures d'urgence, utilisées lors des rappels de grande envergure, comme le retrait de la viande de l'entreprise XL Foods en 2012. Le système a créé de la confusion chez les personnes responsables de mener à bon port les rappels - et donc causé des erreurs et des retards. «L'Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments gère bien la plupart des aspects des rappels. Toutefois, tant au plan du suivi post-rappel auprès de l'industrie qu'à celui des grands rappels d'urgence, les faiblesses que nous avons relevées soulignent des lacunes importantes dans le système de rappel des aliments», conclut M. Ferguson.

 

Quiconque se demande pourquoi le Canada, avec sa mince empreinte écologique, suscite tant l'ire des écologistes sur la scène internationale ces jours-ci devrait écouter les propos d'Avrim Lazar. L'ancien administrateur dans le secteur forestier et ex-planificateur à Environnement Canada a pris part, mardi, à un séminaire sur la biodiversité à l'Université d'Ottawa, au cours duquel les discussions sur les politiques ont inévitablement migré vers les changements climatiques. M. Lazar a fait valoir qu'un sentiment d'impuissance sape la motivation d'agir, et a dit croire que le problème réside dans la capacité d'amener toutes les parties à contribuer. Il a soutenu, devant des représentants des affaires, du gouvernement et des universités, que l'obstacle principal n'est pas celui des gens qui disent «qu'il n'y a pas de problème», mais bien celui des gens qui affirment «qu'il n'y a pas de solution».

 

Censures canadiennes (French)

09-NOV-2013 01:31 PM   Le Monde, Stéphane Foucart

 

Au-delà des discours vertueux, le gouvernement Harper fait clairement preuve de négligence en matière de protection des milieux naturels du pays, constate le commissaire à l’environnement du Canada, Neil Maxwell. Et à moins d’un changement de cap radical de la part d’Ottawa, plusieurs espèces et habitats sont condamnés à la disparition. Les milieux naturels qui sont théoriquement protégés souffrent pour leur part d’un manque flagrant de suivi. Ainsi, les plans d’action de 31 des 54 aires protégées sont carrément désuets. Huit n’ont tout simplement pas de tel plan. Une situation d’autant plus préoccupante que « l’intégrité écologique est moins qu’adéquate dans plus de la moitié des aires protégées pour les espèces sauvages », souligne le rapport présenté mardi. Ces aires représentent une superficie équivalant à celle du Nouveau-Brunswick et de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

 

Nouvelle inquiétante pour les Canadiens et pour le droit des citoyens d'être informés. Plus de 85 % des scientifiques du gouvernement fédéral croient qu'ils feraient face à des représailles s'ils se prononçaient publiquement contre une mesure de leur ministère, même si elle est susceptible de compromettre la santé, la sécurité publique ou l'environnement.

 

La moitié des scientifiques travaillant pour le gouvernement canadien disent pouvoir donner des exemples d'ingérence politique au cours des cinq dernières années compromettant la santé et la sécurité des citoyens ou la pérennité de l'environnement, indique un sondage Environics rendu public à Ottawa. Un scientifique fédéral sur quatre (24%) affirme qu'on lui a demandé directement «d'omettre de l'information ou de la modifier pour des raisons qui n'ont rien à voir avec la science», révèle la consultation à laquelle ont répondu 4069 scientifiques, chercheurs et ingénieurs oeuvrant dans plus de 40 ministères et organismes fédéraux canadiens.

 

Le Canada est l’exemple même de ce qu’il ne faut pas faire pour lutter contre les changements climatiques. Le pays dirigé par le gouvernement de Stephen Harper se retrouve ainsi au 55e rang sur 58 pays, devançant uniquement l’Iran, le Kazakhstan et l’Arabie saoudite. Le Canada se classe dernier au sein du G8 et avant-dernier parmi les membres du G20. « Comme l’an passé, le Canada ne montre aucune intention d’avancer en matière de politique climatique et demeure donc le pire de tous les pays industrialisés », soulignent les auteurs du rapport Climate Change Performance Index 2014, publié lundi par les organisations non gouvernementales Germanwatch et Climate Action Network Europe.

 

Today, after an almost 18 month delay, Canada is bringing into force changes to the federal Fisheries Act that have faced widespread and persistent opposition and First Nations’ legal challenges since they were introduced in last year’s omnibus Bills C-38 and C-45. The amendments, which weaken legal protections for fish and their habitat, have been broadly criticized as having passed without proper parliamentary debate or public consultation, and for being motivated by pressure from resource industries.

 

New Democrats propose science watchdog to address muzzlling allegations

20-NOV-2013 01:14 PM   Postmedia News, Mike De Souza

Federal New Democrats are using allegations of the muzzling of government scientists to spearhead a new proposal to create a science watchdog to monitor whether the government is gathering and using evidence to shape its policies. The opposition party's science critic, Vancouver-area MP Kennedy Stewart, said he developed legislation to deliver the plan after he was approached by a number of scientists in government and the academic world. He said they told him the time has come for the legislation creating the parliamentary science officer to promote transparency and integrity in government scientific research.

 

Why Canada needs a science watchdog

18-NOV-2013 01:03 PM   iPolitics, Scott Findlay and Paul Dufour

The recent series of pieces at iPolitics on Canadian science and science policy bears witness to a growing concern about the health of public interest science. One such source of concern is the increasing imposition of constraints on the ability of government scientists to communicate their science to the public.

 

Reports show a decline in the health care-associated infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. The bacteria is commonly found on the skin and can cause serious blood, organ and wound infections. The federal government is hobbling efforts to control antibiotic-resistant microbes by sitting on reports about bacteria that sicken and kill thousands of Canadians each year, several doctors say. Infectious disease experts say Ottawa is treating national microbial surveillance reports like “sensitive government documents.” And the doctors are so frustrated, they are releasing the data they can obtain on their own website.

 

B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s reversal on the Northern Gateway pipeline project is typical of these cynical times we live in, when the lure of quick oil wealth outweighs any responsibility for the threat of climate pollution. As the latest round of global climate negotiations kick off in Warsaw this week, Canadians are becoming increasingly used to climate action betrayal. The Harper Government withdrew us from the Kyoto Accord — the only legally binding international climate agreement — despite lacking a mandate to do so. Then-environment minister Peter Kent never delivered on the oilsands emissions regulations he promised — twice. And now, a year after saying we were halfway to meeting our weak climate goals — a claim that was widely ridiculed at the time — Environment Canada has announced that we’re actually well short of where we need to be.

 

Health Canada should rescind the permission it granted to manufacturers of some cooking oils to put health claims on their product labels, a new analysis published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal argues. The article, written by a nutritional science researcher and a cardiologist, says the available evidence suggests oils rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids but containing little or no omega-3 fatty acids are not protective of heart health and may even slightly increase the risk of heart disease.

 

Canada’s biggest energy companies including Suncor Energy Inc. and Imperial Oil Ltd. are trailing global peers in reporting environmental performance as scrutiny of the oil sands intensifies. The 10 largest Canadian oil and natural gas producers by market value scored an average 31.7 out of 100 on environmental-performance disclosures in 2011, the last year with information for all companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Environmental Disclosure Scores weigh information such as emissions, spills and water use.

 

The evidence is clear : Regulation creates jobs

07-NOV-2013 11:48 AM   Rabble, Ole Hendrickson

While corporate lobbyists and free market economists promote the view that deregulation creates jobs, neither evidence nor common sense support this view. Forestry in Canada is a case in point. Despite the abusive practices of previous generations of timber barons, companies still harvest a lot of trees on Crown land, which belongs to all of us. Taxpayers have a strong interest in a long-term timber supply. Regulations aimed at sustainable forestry practices benefit the economy and maintain jobs.

 

Canada at Risk of Losing World Leader Status on Ocean Science

07-NOV-2013 11:39 AM   The Epoch Times, Epoch Times Staff

Canada is a global steward of the seas with the longest coastline in the world stretched along three oceans, but that role is at risk, says a new report. Released Wednesday by the Council of Canadian Academies, the report said government funding for ocean science is actually increasing—contrary to perception—but a lack of co-ordination limits the usefulness of research being done by governments, universities, and industry in this country.

 

Harper government reports details of its risky policies

06-NOV-2013 11:30 AM   Leader Post, Mike De Souza

The federal government has released a series of reports warning that Canada faces looming dangers that include financial risks from legal threats over environmental policies, damage to the country’s international reputation and weaknesses plaguing front-line staff overseeing transportation safety. The Departmental Performance Reports, tabled this week in Parliament, show that several departments were facing delays in spending hundreds of millions of dollars, including budgeted funding for infrastructure projects, programs to reduce pollution as well as other initiatives such as safety oversight on the transportation network.

 

Scientists want to talk science

04-NOV-2013 11:26 AM   The Hill Times, Katie Gibbs

Contrary to the scenario that Mel Cappe’s comments suggest in last weeks article on communication policies for government scientists (The Hill Times, Oct. 28, pg. 41), the documented cases of government scientists being prohibited from talking to the media are not cases of scientists trying to “go public” with information or “go out and embarrass the government” over policy decisions they did not like. In many of the most notable instances, the government scientists in question (e.g. Kristi Miller, Scott Dallimore, David Tarasick) were not permitted to do interviews to discuss their peer-reviewed research that had already been published in internationally renowned scientific journals.

 

Another month back in Ottawa — and another damning revelation concerning the muzzling of scientists working in the public service. Beginning with the closure of the Office of National Science Advisor in 2008, the federal government has used every tool at its disposal to prevent, limit and restrict Canadian scientists from sharing their findings with the media and policymakers. Now, a major report released by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) — which represents scientists and engineers in over 40 departments and agencies — systematically documents the scale and impact of political interference in the communication of scientific research.

 

New fisheries law attacked by scientists

02-NOV-2013 11:17 AM   Ottawa Citizen, Tom Spears

Three of Canada's leading fish scientists say Canada's rewritten Fisheries Act protects the fish species that people eat, while dropping protection for huge numbers of other fish. In particular, it does not protect endangered fish species, Jeffrey Hutchings and John Post write in an international science journal called Fisheries.

 

Gutting Canada’s Fisheries Act: No Fishery, No Fish Habitat Protection (PDF)

01-NOV-2013 11:18 AM   Fisheries (American Fisheries Society, Vol 38, #11

Revisions to Canada’s national fisheries legislation have eviscerated the country’s ability and responsibility to protect most fish habitat. Changes to the Fisheries Act, passed by Parliament in 2012 and supported by new regulations in 2013, stipulate that habitat will now be protected only for fish that are considered part of a fishery or that support a fishery. The habitats of most freshwater fish species in Canada, including the majority of threatened and endangered fishes, will no longer be protected. Contrary to responsible management practices for the protection of native fishes, the act now inadvertently prioritizes habitat protection for some nonnative species— even hatchery-produced hybrids—as long as they are part of a fishery. Changes to the Fisheries Act were not supported by scientific advice (contrary to government policy) and are inconsistent with an ecosystem-based approach to management. Politically motivated dismantling of habitat protection provisions in the Fisheries Act erases 40 years of enlightened and responsible legislation and diminishes Canada’s ability to fulfill its national and international obligations to protect, conserve, and sustainably use aquatic biodiversity.

 

Ecology: Lady of the lakes

30-OCT-2013 11:09 AM   Nature Magazine, Hannah Hoag

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 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

29-OCT-2013 10:59 AM   Times Colonist, Lana Popham

Tags Funding NRC Budget

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.

 

Mel Cappe, a former clerk of the Privy Council, says government scientists’ complaints that they’re not allowed to talk freely to the media even if public health and safety are at risk does not have any merit because that’s up to the federal government, but he also warned in an interview with The Hill Times that the relationship between the Stephen Harper government and senior levels of bureaucracy is not “robust” and should be improved quickly.Mr. Cappe, 64, who served as the country’s top bureaucrat from 1999 to 2002 under prime minister Jean Chrétien before was appointed as Canada’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, told The Hill Times last week that Cabinet ministers should pay close attention to the evidence and research of government scientists, but if they decide not to make it public, scientists should not go public on their own. On these issues, he said, scientists should let Canadians hold these politicians to account.

 

Canada’s role in Arctic science slipping, U.S. offical says

02-OCT-2013 10:43 AM   The Globe and Mail, Josh Wingrove

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.

 

Minister declines to address scientists survey

22-OCT-2013 10:34 AM   Whitehorse Daily Star, Ainslie Cruickshank

Canada's Environment minister would not comment Monday on the results of a survey commissioned to determine the extent to which government scientists are censored. The online survey was commissioned by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and hosted by Environics Research.

 

A large survey of science professionals in the federal public service has found that almost 25 per cent of respondents say they have been directly asked to exclude or alter information for ''non-scientific reasons.'' Some 71 per cent of those surveyed said political interference is compromising policy development based on scientific evidence, and almost half of those who took part said they were aware of cases in which their department or agency suppressed information. The study, entitled ''The Big Chill,'' was commissioned by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, and paints a disturbing picture of government scientists who feel they are being muzzled.

 

90 per cent of scientists surveyed say they can't speak freely about their work. Many federal scientists say they fear they would be punished by the Conservative government if they exposed a decision made by their department that could harm the public. Large numbers also told Environics Research last June that they are aware of actual cases in which political interference with their scientific work has compromised the health and safety of Canadians or environmental sustainability. And nearly half of those who took part in the survey said they knew of cases in which the government suppressed scientific information.

 

A new survey of science professionals in the federal public service finds nearly one in four say they’ve been directly asked to exclude or alter information for non-scientific reasons. The survey, entitled “The Big Chill,” was commissioned by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, and paints a picture of government scientists who feel they are being muzzled. Fully 90 per cent of respondents say they don’t feel they’re allowed to speak freely in the media about their work, while 86 per cent believe they would face retaliation if they went public with information about harm to public health, safety or the environment.

 

Hundreds of federal scientists said in a survey that they had been asked to exclude or alter technical information in government documents for non-scientific reasons, and thousands said they had been prevented from responding to the media or the public. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which commissioned the survey from Environics Research "to gauge the scale and impact of 'muzzling' and political interference among federal scientists," released the results Monday at a news conference. PIPSC represents 60,000 public servants across the country, including 20,000 scientists, in federal departments and agencies, including scientists involved in food and consumer product safety and environmental monitoring.

 

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 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.”

 

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

04-OCT-2013 09:02 AM   MacLeans, Amanda Shendruk

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.

 

It's as clear and chilling a statement of intent as you're likely to read. Scientists should be "the voice of reason, rather than dissent, in the public arena". Professor Ian Boyd, chief scientific adviser at the UK's Department for Environment. Boyd's doctrine is a neat distillation of government policy in Britain, Canada and Australia. These governments have suppressed or misrepresented inconvenient findings on climate change, pollution, pesticides, fisheries and wildlife. They have shut down programmes that produce unwelcome findings and sought to muzzle scientists. This is a modern version of Soviet Lysenkoism: crushing academic dissent on behalf of bad science and corporate power.

 

Stephen Harper’s environment minister casts doubt on climate change

03-OCT-2013 03:13 PM   Postmedia News, Mike De Souza

Tags Climate Arctic

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s environment minister is casting doubt about scientific observations of melting summer sea ice in Canada’s north. In a short televised interview on CTV’s daily political show, Power Play, Leona Aglukkaq suggested that scientific observations were not as important as the Harper government’s priorities in its new role as chair of a group of Arctic nations. When asked whether the ice was melting in the Arctic, considered by climate scientists to be part of the evidence of global warming, Aglukkaq said there may or may not be changes underway.

 

Nouvelle salve contre l’exploitation des sables bitumineux albertains. Un total de 21 prix Nobel, dont deux Canadiens, pressent l’Union européenne de mettre en application une directive qui étiquetterait ce pétrole promu par le gouvernement Harper comme étant plus polluant que les autres formes de brut. «Le monde ne peut plus ignorer, à moins que ce ne soit à ses propres risques, que les changements climatiques sont l’une des plus grandes menaces pour la vie sur notre planète aujourd’hui. Les impacts des changements climatiques et de l’extraction extrême des ressources exacerbent les conflits et la destruction de l’environnement à travers le monde. L’extraction des combustibles non conventionnels — comme les sables bitumineux et le pétrole de schiste — a un impact particulièrement dévastateur sur les changements climatiques», écrivent-ils dans une missive envoyée au président de la Commission européenne, José Manuel Barroso.

 

L'Office national de l'énergie (ONÉ) entreprend demain les audiences publiques sur le projet de renversement de l'oléoduc de la compagnie Enbridge entre l'Ontario et le Québec. Bien qu'il s'agisse d'un pipeline existant (le 9b), le projet suscite des inquiétudes parce que la capacité de l'ouvrage sera augmentée - de 240 000 barils par jour à 300 000 barils par jour. De plus, le pétrole qui sera transporté à Montréal viendra en bonne partie des sables bitumineux albertains.

 

Pipeline d’Enbridge : silence complet à Québec (French)

02-OCT-2013 02:54 PM   Le Devoir, Alexandre Shields

À quelques jours de la fin des consultations fédérales pour le projet d’Enbridge de transporter du pétrole albertain par pipeline jusqu’à Montréal, le gouvernement Marois n’a toujours pas annoncé la tenue de sa propre évaluation. Québec promet pourtant depuis près d’un an de mener une consultation sur cet oléoduc, qui fera couler jusqu’ici 300 000 barils de brut chaque jour. Le plus important projet de transport pétrolier de l’histoire du Québec suscite d’ailleurs de vives inquiétudes, y compris à la Ville de Montréal.

 

Santé Canada supervisera un programme de marijuana (French)

29-SEP-2013 02:51 PM   La Presse Canadienne, Dean Beeby

Tags Health

Le gouvernement du Parti conservateur lancera, ce mardi, un toute nouveau secteur commercial d'une valeur de 1,3 milliard $ qui devrait permettre à quelque 450 000 Canadiens d'avoir accès à de la marijuana à des fins thérapeutiques de qualité contrôlée. À compter de lundi et jusqu'au 31 mars 2014, Santé Canada éliminera progressivement l'ancien système qui dépendait principalement de la marijuana produite à domicile, à petite échelle et de qualité variable, souvent détournée illégalement vers le marché noir.

 

Loin du compte

22-SEP-2013 02:37 PM   La Presse (éditorial), Ariane Krol

Tags Funding

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.

 

Une démarche intentée par les maires des municipalités du pays pour en savoir davantage sur les cargaisons ferroviaires dangereuses circulant dans leurs communautés soulève des questions de sécurité au sein du gouvernement fédéral. La Fédération canadienne des municipalités (FCM) s’inquiète de la possibilité que les intervenants d’urgence n’aient pas prévu les mesures d’urgence appropriées pour certaines des situations auxquelles ils ont été confrontés. Depuis la catastrophe ferroviaire de Lac-Mégantic, en juillet, les responsables municipaux du pays demandent au gouvernement fédéral de fournir à l’avance plus d’information à propos de la nature des marchandises transportées par voie ferroviaire, afin que les municipalités puissent se préparer au pire à Ottawa. La FCM a formé un groupe de travail sur la sécurité ferroviaire peu après les tragiques événements de Lac-Mégantic et exige plus de clarté d’Ottawa quant au transport de produits dangereux.

 

Hundreds of participants gathered in 17 cities for rallies on Monday. In Toronto some donned lab coats while in Vancouver protesters were seen wearing gags adorned with the Conservative Party logo – a reference to the alleged muzzling of federal scientists by political overseers. Canadian science advocates say they are moving into a new phase in their campaign for evidence-based decision-making in government after a day of demonstrations across the country. Organizers behind Monday’s “Stand Up for Science” protests say they plan to focus on drafting policies that reflect best practices on research integrity and funding priorities and will urge the country’s political leaders to adopt them.

 

Winnipeg scientist protest federal cuts

16-SEP-2013 01:48 PM   CBC News

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.

 

About 100 protesters gathered in downtown Vancouver on Monday to speak out about Canadian government scientists who are being hampered from talking to the public about their taxpayer-funded research. Prominent scientists such as David Suzuki spoke at the rally on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery at noon, saying the Conservative government is shutting down research on controversial topics such as genetically modified foods, farmed salmon and oil pipelines.

 

Ottawa denies delays in responding to sockeye report

11-SEP-2013 01:27 PM   The Vancouver Sun, Peter O’Neil

Ottawa denies delays in responding to sockeye report, although an open letter from three fisheries advocates says there has been no action on several key recommendations of the 2012 Cohen report. The Harper government, accused of an “unacceptable” delay in responding to last year’s Fraser River salmon inquiry report, insists it’s following Justice Bruce Cohen’s recommendations. Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said the government has, in the past year, announced a $10 million program to support local fisheries conservation projects. The 2013 budget included more money for the Pacific Salmon Foundation, a non-profit group involved in salmon conservation.

 

Harper’s vaunted Arctic naval refuelling station going nowhere fast

10-SEP-2013 01:21 PM   Globe and Mail, Murray Brewster

One of the crown jewels in the federal government’s Arctic strategy is mired in a slow-moving environmental clean-up and the threat of legal action, federal documents reveal. The deep-water port at Nanisivik, Nunavut, remains under the control of the federal fisheries department, six years after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced with much fanfare the establishment of a naval refuelling station high in the northern archipelago. A private company — Breakwater Resources Ltd., owned by Nyrstar N.V., which operated a now-defunct zinc mine in the region — has yet to complete an environmental clean-up of a fuel tank farm, despite four years of pressure from the military. Remediation of the property, which is Crown land, is necessary before the Department of National Defence can take possession.

 

Canada may use satellites, not farmers, to measure crop size

10-SEP-2013 01:18 PM   Reuter, Rod Nickel and Louise Egan

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.

 

Transport ferroviaire : la pression s’accroît sur Ottawa (French)

09-SEP-2013 01:15 PM   La Presse Canadienne, Jocelyne Richer

Le Québec a réussi à trouver des alliés dans sa croisade visant à forcer Ottawa à resserrer la réglementation encadrant le transport ferroviaire des matières dangereuses. Les quatre premiers ministres des provinces de l'Atlantique, de même que six gouverneurs des États de la Nouvelle-Angleterre ont joint leur voix à celle du Québec, lundi, pour exhorter Ottawa et Washington à prendre tous les moyens à leur disposition afin que des tragédies comme celle survenue à Lac-Mégantic en juillet ne se reproduisent plus. Une résolution en ce sens a été expédiée au gouvernement fédéral et au gouvernement américain, qui supervisent la réglementation du transport par train des matières dangereuses entre les deux pays. Une autre résolution semblable, signée à l'unanimité par tous les premiers ministres provinciaux et des territoires, avait déjà été expédiée à Ottawa.

 

National Research Council has become a 1-800 concierge service

09-SEP-2013 01:12 PM   The Hill Times, Kennedy Stewart

Tags Funding NRC

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.

 

Médicaments: la pilule amère de la mondialisation (French)

07-SEP-2013 01:09 PM   La Presse, Marie-Claude Malboeuf

Chaque année, les médecins, infirmiers et pharmaciens des hôpitaux québécois se plaignent par dizaines que certains médicaments sont de mauvaise qualité, voire inefficaces, révèle le président du comité des pharmaciens du plus grand groupe d'achat de la province, Sigmasanté. Pour Jean-François Bussières, les ratés restent occasionnels et certains sont inévitables. La situation lui semble toutefois «préoccupante» depuis que la majorité des médicaments est fabriquée à l'étranger - surtout en Inde et en Chine, où les lois sont moins strictes et où les inspecteurs nord-américains se rendent de façon rarissime. Parfois, le danger est grand. Ces derniers mois, deux entreprises, Apotex (fabricant d'Alysena) puis Mylan Pharmaceuticals (Esme-28 et Freya-28), ont dû rappeler des boîtes de pilules contraceptives fabriquées à l'étranger, parce qu'un comprimé ne contenait pas d'ingrédient actif alors qu'il aurait dû en contenir. Ce qui a exposé près d'un demi-million de Canadiennes à une grossesse non désirée. «Avec des milliers d'usines étrangères et très peu d'inspecteurs, comment Santé Canada prétend-elle nous protéger?», demande Alan Cassels, chercheur à l'Université de Victoria et auteur de Selling Sickness. Le Ministère fédéral a réalisé 35 inspections hors frontières entre 2007 et 2012 - soit seulement 7 par année - et il en garde les résultats secrets, dénonce le chercheur dans le Canadian Medical Association Journal de 2012.

 

Harper a pris la plume pour vendre Keystone à Obama (French)

07-SEP-2013 01:06 PM   La Presse, Joël-Denis Bellavance

Impatient de voir les autorités américaines donner le feu vert au projet de construction de l'oléoduc Keystone, le premier ministre Harper a récemment offert au président Obama d'adopter un plan conjoint de lutte contre les émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans le secteur pétrolier et du gaz naturel. M. Harper a fait cette proposition dans une lettre qu'il a envoyée au président américain en août, a rapporté hier le réseau anglais CBC, citant des sources anonymes. M. Harper serait prêt à imposer à l'industrie pétrolière au Canada les normes en matière de lutte contre les changements climatiques que souhaiteraient fixer les États-Unis, dans l'espoir d'obtenir l'approbation du projet de pipeline proposé par la société TransCanada Corp.

 

Silencing Scientists

21-SEP-2013 02:11 PM   NYTimes, Verlyn Ksourceenborg

Over the last few years, the government of Canada — led by Stephen Harper — has made it harder and harder for publicly financed scientists to communicate with the public and with other scientists. It began badly enough in 2008 when scientists working for Environment Canada, the federal agency, were told to refer all queries to departmental communications officers. Now the government is doing all it can to monitor and restrict the flow of scientific information, especially concerning research into climate change, fisheries and anything to do with the Alberta tar sands — source of the diluted bitumen that would flow through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Journalists find themselves unable to reach government scientists; the scientists themselves have organized public protests.

 

L'industrie aéronautique canadienne entend participer avec enthousiasme à un nouveau programme fédéral qui lui permettra de traverser la «vallée de la mort».Cette expression imagée désigne les étapes intermédiaires de la validation d'une nouvelle technologie. «Les entreprises canadiennes parviennent difficilement à franchir l'écart entre l'idée et le produit commercialisable, explique le ministre fédéral de l'Industrie, James Moore. Les idées peuvent être abandonnées parce que l'entreprise manque de capital.»

 

Les contribuables canadiens auraient financé, par l'entremise d'études gouvernementales de quelque 120 millions $, la proposition du projet de construction de l'oléoduc Northern Gateway d'Enbridge, a soutenu la chef du Parti vert. S'appuyant sur des données de documents confidentiels, Mme May a affirmé que le gouvernement fédéral, tout en sabrant dans d'importants projets de recherche scientifique un peu partout au pays, avait accepté de subventionner au moins deux initiatives majeures pour faciliter le travail d'Enbridge. Au moins 78 millions $ ont été dépensés par Ottawa pour financer des études sur les déversements du pétrole brut ayant l'apparence de la mélasse qui serait acheminé de l'Alberta à la Colombie-Britannique grâce à un éventuel oléoduc opéré par Enbridge. Le gouvernement de Stephen Harper aurait également accordé, toujours selon ces documents, 42 millions $ pour une étude sur les méthodes d'amélioration des prévisions météorologiques des régions côtières, où accosteraient les navires cargos pour le transport du pétrole, si le projet d'Enbridge devait recevoir l'aval de la Commission fédérale d'examen conjoint, a-t-elle poursuivi.

 

Un centre de recherche majeur sur l’eau douce situé dans le nord-ouest de l’Ontario, qui était menacé de fermeture après l’annulation du financement fédéral, sera sauvé pour le moment grâce à une aide provinciale de 2 millions de dollars par année. La Région des lacs expérimentaux est en fait un laboratoire à ciel ouvert qui regroupe une soixantaine de lacs et de cours d’eau au sud-est de Kenora. Des chercheurs y étudient entre autres les changements climatiques et les effets de la pollution. Ce n’est pas clair pour l’instant, toutefois, si tous les employés fédéraux du centre de recherche pourront conserver leur poste.

 

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.

 

Government decision should be evidence-based

23-SEP-2013 02:43 PM   Hill Times, Sheila Copps

The Conservative-imposed code of silence has been muzzling federal scientists for years. Last week, they decided to fight back. With rallies in 17 cities across the country, organizers claimed it was one of the largest pro-science demonstrations in the history of the country. Scientists usually toil quietly in the bowels of government. Rarely do they raise their heads from their proverbial Bunsen burners to speak out. That reticence makes last week’s “Stand Up for Science” protests even more courageous.

 

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.

 

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».

 

Les touristes de passage sur la Côte-Nord en été aiment scruter le Saint-Laurent à la recherche de leurs dos blancs. Mais les bélugas québécois, déjà menacés, risquent de se faire encore plus rares. Les chercheurs constatent en effet que les dernières années ont été particulièrement meurtrières pour l’espèce. Et les moyens leur manquent pour tenter de comprendre la situation, en raison des compressions imposées en recherche par le gouvernement Harper.

 

Environment Canada; Science Regulation Environment Canada is preparing to study the economic burden imposed by proposed regulations designed to increase researchers’ reporting requirements under the New Substances Notification Regulations. The New Substance Notification Regulations govern genetically modified organisms, including vertebrates and invertebrates, used in agricultural field tests across Canada. The government wants to tighten up the NSNR to increase researchers requirements to report what organisms they import or create in the laboratory.

 

Matières dangereuses - Hausse importante du trafic au Canada (French)

16-AUG-2013 10:25 AM   Le Devoir, Guillaume Bourgault-Côté

Au-delà du pétrole transporté par train, c’est l’ensemble du secteur du transport des matières dangereuses (TMD) qui connaît un essor important au Canada. De 2009 à 2012, le trafic a ainsi augmenté d’entre 10 % et 25 %, selon les moyens de transport. Cela représente des dizaines de millions de tonnes métriques de produits dangereux en plus.

 

Secret meeting on climate danger convened last summer

16-AUG-2013 10:19 AM   Ottawa Citizen, Mike De Souza

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's national security adviser Stephen Rigby turned down a request to join a secret meeting attended by other senior government officials invited last summer to plan for worst-case global-warming scenarios. The discussion, outlined in documents that were marked "secret" but declassified for release through access-to-information legislation, predicted that the world would likely reach a tipping point in global warming by 2050, missing an international target agreed to by Harper and other international leaders at 2009 negotiations in Copenhagen as part of a deal to avoid irreversible damage to the planet's ecosystems and its economy.

 

Transport des marchandises dangereuses - Le silence radioactif d’Ottawa (French)

10-AUG-2013 10:06 AM   Le Devoir, Guillaume Bourgault-Côté

La catastrophe de Lac-Mégantic a ravivé les inquiétudes liées au projet canado-américain de transport d’uranium sous forme liquide. Devant les craintes soulevées, le gouvernement Harper réplique que l’entente vise à « réduire la menace que pose le terrorisme international ». Mais il ne dit mot des conséquences possibles, un silence radioactif qui ne rassure pas les experts, étant donné les carences de Transports Canada en matière de transport des marchandises dangereuses.

 

How do you fund great science? Ask a great scientist

10-AUG-2013 10:03 AM   Macleans, Paul Wells

Tags Funding

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.

 

Le gouvernement fédéral a versé 211 millions de dollars l'an dernier pour indemniser les fonctionnaires mis à pied dans la foulée des compressions annoncées par le gouvernement Harper, révèlent des documents obtenus par La Presse. Des chiffres qui indiquent que Statistique Canada, Parcs Canada et Santé Canada sont les ministères les plus touchés par les coupes.

 

Evidence and decision making: bend it like Harper

22-JUL-2013 09:11 AM   Broadbent Institute Blog, John Myles

Psychologists tell us this is a common feature of the human mind: we are more likely to take note of evidence that “fits” our preconceived narratives about how the world works and ignore the facts that don’t. Suppressing evidence is a more serious endeavour. As evidence is suppressed, our ability to monitor what governments are doing, or what is going on in our environment, or what is happening to Canadians living in villages, towns and cities across the country erodes. The axing of the 2011 mandatory Census by the Harper government is the most prominent, but not the only example of this suppression at work.

 

Ottawa défend le transfert de déchets nucléaires (French)

05-AUG-2013 09:57 AM   Le Devoir, Bahador Zabihiyan et Marco Fortier

Le gouvernement Harper se porte à la défense de l’accord visant à envoyer aux États-Unis des déchets nucléaires canadiens, malgré les risques liés au transport de ces matières dangereuses par camion. « Nous avons conclu une entente avec les États-Unis pour leur exporter de l’uranium hautement enrichi afin de réduire la menace que pose le terrorisme international. Cela [découle de] notre obligation à soutenir les efforts internationaux visant la non-prolifération nucléaire », indique le ministre des Ressources naturelles. Près d’un mois après la catastrophe de Lac-Mégantic, une quarantaine de municipalités québécoises, dont Montréal, réclament un débat public sur le transport par camion de ces matières radioactives.

 

Déchets nucléaire : des maires sonnent l’alarme (French)

02-AUG-2013 09:48 AM   Le Devoir, Marco Fortier

Un projet fédéral visant à déplacer par camion des déchets nucléaires hautement radioactifs, sous forme liquide, provoque une levée de boucliers de maires québécois. Une quarantaine de municipalités ont adopté une résolution demandant à Ottawa de renoncer à transporter ces résidus d’uranium enrichi de qualité militaire, qui proviennent des laboratoires de Chalk River, en Ontario. Les gouvernements Harper et Obama ont signé un accord pour traiter ces déchets à l’abri des terroristes dans un laboratoire de Savannah, en Caroline du Sud.

 

Québec s’apprête à adopter un nouveau règlement pour resserrer les normes entourant les rejets d’eaux usées municipales. Le gouvernement Marois ne se cache pas de ses intentions. S’il veut, d’une part, « poursuivre les efforts d’assainissement des eaux usées municipales […] pour redonner à la population québécoise des cours d’eau en santé », c’est également une réponse bien québécoise à la Stratégie pancanadienne sur la gestion des effluents d’eaux usées municipales du Conseil canadien des ministres de l’Environnement.

 

Le fédéral et la science - Toujours moins (French)

01-AUG-2013 09:36 AM   Le Devoir - éditorial, Josée Boileau

C'est quasiment une vérité de La Palice que ce constat rendu public cette semaine par Statistique Canada qui démontre que le gouvernement fédéral réduira ses dépenses en matière de science et technologie en 2013-2014. Sciences et administration conservatrice sont décidément incompatibles, comme Statistique Canada pourrait en témoigner, elle qui a dû dénaturer le recensement sous l’exigence de ce gouvernement obtus. La perte d’importance de la science pour Ottawa continue donc sur sa lancée, la baisse de budget de cette année (de 3,3 %) s’ajoutant aux diminutions des années passées (13 % en quatre ans).

 

Les dépenses fédérales en science continuent de chuter (French)

31-JUL-2013 09:33 AM   La Presse, Phillipe Mercure

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).

 

Une réforme environnementale adoptée l'an dernier par le gouvernement Harper est entrée en vigueur juste à temps pour éviter à Enbridge de demander l'aval de Transports Canada pour construire un pipeline qui traverse une rivière albertaine.

 

Le piège des matières dangereuses (French)

24-JUL-2013 09:26 AM   La Presse, Yves Dubeau

La tragédie de Lac-Mégantic a mis à l'avant-scène de l'actualité la réalité du transport des matières dangereuses dans nos collectivités et les dangers qui y sont associés. Les craintes du public sont vives et les appels à de meilleurs contrôles sont nombreux, à juste titre. Cette tragédie nous amènera sans doute à nous attaquer au transport ferroviaire avant tout, mais il ne faudrait pas tomber dans le piège d'y voir une opportunité de rendre ce dernier plus difficile au point où des matières dangereuses pourraient se trouver ainsi déplacées vers d'autres modes de transport encore moins sécuritaires.

 

Plus de 87 % des Canadiens souhaitent voir leur pays se doter d’une stratégie sur le climat et l’énergie et près des deux tiers (62 %) pensent que, pour être utile, cette éventuelle stratégie devrait avoir pour objectif de conduire le Canada vers une économie à faibles émissions de gaz carbonique.

 

Le déversement pétrolier survenu dans la foulée de la catastrophe de Lac-Mégantic serait le pire ayant eu lieu en sol nord-américain. Au moins 5,7 millions de litres de brut ont été rejetés dans l’environnement, selon des données finalement divulguées par le ministère de l’Environnement du Québec.

 

Ottawa pressé de resserrer la sécurité pour le transport de pétrole (French)

22-JUL-2013 09:07 AM   La Presse Canadienne, Pierre Saint-Arnaud

Plus de 50 organisations environnementales, syndicales et sociales du Québec et d'ailleurs au Canada demandent au gouvernement Harper de resserrer les règles de sécurité en matière de transport du pétrole. Ces organisations reprochent au gouvernement fédéral de fermer les yeux sur les pratiques non sécuritaires de certaines entreprises pour des raisons économiques, laissant la population en subir les conséquences.

 

Canada’s New Science Minister Lack Research Pedigree

15-JUL-2013 09:04 AM   Science (AAAS), Wayne Kondro

Former lawyer and nurse Greg Rickford has become Canada's science minister as Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffled his Cabinet on Monday. It has left science associations scrambling to learn a bit about the new junior minister.

 

Federal cabinet shuffle: Gary Goodyear has to go

12-JUL-2013 08:52 AM   Toronto Star, Jordan Himelfarb

As we scramble to analyze in advance the upcoming federal cabinet shuffle, let me propose another modest criterion by which we might measure its success: do we, in the end, have a science minister who is willing to defend the field? It’s a sad fact that we currently do not and sadder still that the lack is symbolic of our government’s broader attitude toward evidence.

 

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.

 

National Research Council funding priorities miss the point

26-JUN-2013 08:32 AM   University Affairs, Jonathan Thon

Christian Paradis, the minister of Industry and State (Agriculture) recently announced that in response to the continuing challenges facing the global economy, the Canadian government has elected to shift the National Research Council of Canada’s research priorities toward delivering support and services driven by market and industry demand. What the NRC has failed to realize is that investment in basic research offers tremendous long-term returns on investment that far exceed the short-term benefits of investing in industry. Founding new basic research labs creates jobs directly – for the principal investigators, research teams, lab technicians, materials and equipment manufacturers, administrative staff, intellectual property lawyers, and everyone else who help support the work, as well as indirectly – through innovations that lead to new technologies, new industries and new companies.

 

The world's birds are literally the canaries in the coal mine and their ongoing decline should serve as a warning signal of a global environment in peril, says an international report on the state of the world's birds. Globally, one in eight species — 1,313 — are considered at threat of extinction, said the report by U.K.-based BirdLife International. Of these, 200 are considered on the brink.

 

Le gouvernement fédéral annonce de nouvelles dispositions pour que l'industrie pétrolière soit responsable du nettoyage en cas de déversement en mer lors de ses activités de forage ou d'extraction. Le projet de loi devrait être présenté à l'automne à la Chambre des communes ainsi qu'aux Assemblées législatives de la Nouvelle-Écosse et de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador. Le ministre des Ressources naturelles Oliver estime que si ces mesures voient le jour, nous nous comparerions aux normes internationales.

 

L'anthrax, qui peut entraîner la mort de bovins, de bisons ainsi que d'autres animaux de pâturage, et dans de rares cas, d'humains, ne sera plus surveillée par l'Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments, qui estime que cette responsabilité revient plutôt aux producteurs de bétail. Ainsi, l'ACIA n'enquêtera plus sur les fermes infectées par l'anthrax, ne mettra plus en quarantaine ou ne recueillera des échantillons pour des fins d'analyse. Le bétail ne sera plus vacciné par ses soins et aucune aide financière ne sera dorénavant apportée aux producteurs pour se débarrasser des carcasses d'animaux infectés.

 

Relationship between scientists, feds tense these days

03-JUN-2013 08:20 AM   The Hill Times, David Crane

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.

 

DFO has declined an interview request with a scientist to discuss the environmental impacts of oilsands development because it objected to a recent Postmedia News report, a federal government spokesman wrote in an email. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is one of seven federal departments and agencies under investigation by Parliament’s Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, over allegations that the government is “muzzling” and restricting access to government scientists.

 

Canadian agriculture cuts have global consequences: dean

31-MAY-2013 03:44 PM   iPolitics, Kelsey Johnson

Recent government cuts to Agriculture Canada could have a major global impact, particularly if the world population — and its appetite — continues to grow, said the dean of one of Canada’s top agriculture faculties. John Kennelly, dean of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences, said the government’s decision to cut back on agricultural research comes at a time of a global food shortage.There is an international demand for more food, especially from major agriculture exporters like Canada, he said.

 

Le Canada a encore du chemin à faire pour se classer parmi les leaders mondiaux de la science et de la technologie, selon le Conseil des sciences, de la technologie et de l’innovation, qui a publié mardi son 3e rapport sur le sujet depuis 2008. Notamment, les entreprises canadiennes devraient faire de plus grands efforts : investir davantage dans les technologies de l’information, miser sur la recherche et le développement et engager des titulaires de doctorat, propose le conseil. Le rendement des entreprises « est décevant », écrit le conseil. Le Canada ne devrait pas « se satisfaire du statu quo ni de progrès graduels », selon les auteurs du rapport État des lieux en 2012. Les dépenses en recherche et développement des entreprises canadiennes « ont diminué de façon presque constante dans les dernières années », selon le rapport, ce qui classe le Canada en milieu de peloton des pays membres de l’OCDE.

 

Federal Science and Technology Minister Gary Goodyear touted the Harper government’s track record in support of discovery research Tuesday, coinciding with new warnings from a national advisory panel that Canada was treading water on research and innovation. The report by the Science, Technology and Innovation Council told the government that Canada was losing ground to other countries on five key indicators, including overall research funding when compared to the size of the economy. “Canada continues to face challenges in deploying our talent to full advantage to drive discovery and commercialization,” said the report released by the council of 18 representatives from the business, research, education and government communities. “On this front, Canada’s performance continues to be disappointing on two of the most telling indicators of a country’s ability to deploy its innovation talent to best advantage: the share of human resources in science and technology, and the proportion of researchers employed in the private and public sectors.”

 

Canada's northernmost research lab won't have to shut down after all and will be able to resume year-round operations, with the help of a new grant from the federal government. The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in Eureka, Nunavut, will receive $5 million over five years, Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear announced Friday

 

Science dealt another blow

11-MAY-2013 08:39 AM   The Star Phoenix

While the specific impacts of the federal government's announcement that some 700 employees may lose their jobs at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada labs and farms remain unknown, there should be no illusion that Saskatchewan will escape unscathed. Saskatoon continues to host a major Agriculture Canada research facility on the university campus, but it isn't only through the potential loss of jobs that the pain will be felt. For more than 126 years, Agriculture Canada research has helped to make Canada, and Saskatchewan in particular, among the world's most important food-producing regions.

 

Conservatives should eat crow on census

09-MAY-2013 10:37 AM   Michael Den Tandt, Postmedia News

Tags

Statistics Canada's National Household Survey, hot off the press, is chock-a-block with intriguing information about Canada's evolving character.

 

Pure science is the bedrock

08-MAY-2013 10:35 AM  

"Science powers commerce," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said recently.

 

Research council’s makeover leaves Canadian industry setting the agenda

07-MAY-2013 08:40 AM   The Globe and Mail, BARRIE McKENNA IVAN SEMENIUK

The National Research Council, which gave the country canola and the atomic clock, will now be taking its scientific cues from Canadian industry as part of a makeover of the country’s flagship research labs. The overhaul, quietly begun two years ago and formally unveiled Tuesday, means the 97-year-old NRC will focus on a clutch of large-scale, business-driven research projects at the expense of the basic science that was once at its core. The Conservative government says it wants to leverage the NRC’s world-class resources – everything from wind tunnels and ice tanks to high-powered microscopes – to help reverse the country’s chronically lagging innovation performance.

 

Is Canada's space program in jeopardy?

26-APR-2013 03:28 PM  

Tags Space

He's a media darling, the kids love him and face it ... space travel looks pretty appealing with Commander Chris Hadfield checking in, tweeting, floating about and sharing his space chores. But while he's up there, the agency that put him there is out of orbit. The Canadian Space Agency faces serious cuts, its leadership is unexpectedly vacant and its goals and future are unclear. Is it rocket science or politics?

 

Earlier this week, our Minister for Natural Resources, the Hon. Joe Oliver, went to Washington on what the Canadian media mistakenly insists on calling a "charm offensive."

 

Retired federal scientist Marley Waiser said the government put up bureaucratic roadblocks that prevented her from speaking to the media about her research. (CBC)

 

Édito - La nouvelle noirceur (French)

04-APR-2013 08:42 AM   La Presse, François Cardinal

En muselant les scientifiques à l'emploi du gouvernement, Stephen Harper ne s'attaque pas à «la science», comme le prétendent ses détracteurs. Il poursuit plutôt à chasser les contre-pouvoirs qui limitent son contrôle obsessionnel de l'État... Il suffit en effet de jeter un coup d'oeil aux budgets gouvernementaux accordés à l'ensemble des fonctions scientifiques fédérales pour constater que les conservateurs sont loin de «tourner le dos à la science», comme on le leur reproche. Lorsque Stephen Harper a pris le pouvoir en 2006, les ministères et organismes fédéraux avaient accès à un budget de 9,5 milliards$ pour leurs activités scientifiques et technologiques. Quatre ans plus tard, cette même enveloppe dépassait les 12 milliards$, une hausse importante de 26%.

 

La science, version conservatrice (French)

03-APR-2013 08:50 AM   Le Devoir, Manon Cornellier

Dure semaine pour la science au Canada. La Table ronde nationale sur l’environnement et l’économie a fermé ses portes. Ces fermetures s’ajoutent à celles de laboratoires, de stations de recherche et d’autres organismes scientifiques fédéraux, presque tous voués à la recherche sur l’environnement, les changements climatiques, les pêches et ainsi de suite. D’autres, sans disparaître, ont dû réduire leurs activités, abandonner certaines recherches ou enquêtes, Statistique Canada en étant un bon exemple. Comme si cela n’était pas suffisant, le gouvernement fédéral s’échine à museler ses propres scientifiques, un problème que la commissaire à l’information Suzanne Legault prend assez au sérieux pour instituer une enquête. Comment, après tout cela, ne pas conclure que ce gouvernement a une dent contre la science ?

 

Journalists say the rules prevent scientists talking about publicly-funded research

 

I founded CIDA, but its death worries me less than Harper’s foreign-aid agenda

02-APR-2013 08:51 AM   Globe and Mail, Op-ed by Maurice Strong

Tags

Restructuring CIDA, and giving it the formal status within government that it never really had, is a positive step. But what Canadians really need to focus upon are the dramatic changes to the purpose and the mandate of Canada’s foreign-assistance program. The deep cuts that the government has made in development assistance have already had a major impact on Canada’s reputation as a leader in the international-development community. Now, the commercialization of our development funding further discredits Canada’s commitment to supporting the progress of developing countries. This commitment has long won us the respect of the international community and a relationship of trust and confidence with developing countries for which Canadians can take pride.

 

La commissaire à l'information a accepté d'ouvrir une enquête sur les allégations de scientifiques fédéraux qui se disent muselés par le gouvernement canadien. Le bureau de la commissaire dit avoir envoyé un résumé de la plainte aux différentes institutions publiques concernées, soit : • Environnement Canada • Pêches et Océans Canada • Ressources naturelles Canada • Le Conseil national de recherches Canada • L'Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments

 

Investigating 'muzzled' scientists

01-APR-2013 08:09 AM   Video (12:34 minutes)

Tags Muzzling

On Easter Monday, MPs Michelle Rempel, Kennedy Stewart and Kirsty Duncan debate the investigation into whether the federal government is trying to silence its scientists

 

Muzzling Science

03-MAR-2013 08:08 AM  

Michael Enright talks to Gordon McBean about whether Ottawa is muzzling its scientists.

 

Light on facts, heavy on patriotism, focus groups help hone NRCan advertising

18-FEB-2013 03:50 PM   Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press

Tags

Focus-group testing on what the Harper government calls its Responsible Resource Development campaign found the advertising to be light on facts but uplifting and patriotic, according to a government-commissioned study.

 

Scientist calls new confidentiality rules on Arctic project ‘chilling’

13-FEB-2013 03:37 PM   Margaret Munro, Postmedia News

Tags Arctic

A bid by the federal government to impose sweeping confidentiality rules on an Arctic science project has run into serious resistance in the United States. “I’m not signing it,” said Andreas Muenchow, of the University of Delaware, who has taken issue with the wording that Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans department has proposed for the Canada-U.S. project.

 

New policy gives government power to muzzle DFO scientists

07-FEB-2013 03:39 PM   Michael Harris, iPolitics

Another crack has appeared in the Harper government’s surreptitious but merciless war to muzzle Canadian scientists — and just about everyone else.

 

Federal government promise to protect marine areas is way behind target

24-JAN-2013 03:48 PM   Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist

Tags

Federal promises to create a network of marine protected areas are progressing at a snail’s pace, and there are fears that federal cutbacks will slow the process even further, says a report by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

 

La science vue d'Ottawa (French)

15-JAN-2013 03:52 PM  

Tags

Coupures dans les sciences de l’environnement à Ottawa et bäillonnement des scientifiques à l’emploi de ce même gouvernement : deux dossiers qui risquent de rester à l’horizon 2013

 

The sound of silenced scientists

07-JAN-2013 03:21 PM   Bob Carty, The Canadian Journalism Project

On the first front, omnibus budget bills have imposed layoffs and severe cuts to the monitoring of waterways, fisheries and natural resource projects. In addition, the Harper government has shut down critical evidence-gathering systems like Statistics Canada’s mandatory long-form census, the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area, the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, the First Nations Statistical Institute, and Canada’s ozone monitoring network. And they terminated centres of scientific policy advice from the National Science Advisor, and National Round Table on Environment and Economy.

 

Une science muselée? (French)

09-JAN-2013 03:16 PM  

Tags

Depuis l'arrivée au pouvoir du gouvernement conservateur, plusieurs de ses décisions ont suscité la grogne des scientifiques canadiens. La plus emblématique est peut-être l'abolition du questionnaire long du recensement. Discussion sur la relation houleuse entre le gouvernement Harper et le monde de la reche

 

Federal fisheries officials stalling on talks to protect water

09-DEC-2012 03:19 PM   Mike De Souza, OCanada.com

Tags Fisheries

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has no formal plans to consult with stakeholders on new regulations or partnerships to prevent industrial pollution in the wake of a major changes to environmental protection laws adopted last summer, says newly-released internal correspondence obtained by Postmedia News.

 

Canada's Ozone Science Group Falls Victim To Government Cuts

09-OCT-2012 01:48 PM   Stephen Leahy, The Guardian

Budget cuts to the ozone monitoring department were $13.3m this year, the 25th anniversary of the Montreal protocol

 

Canada is no longer a powerhouse in environmental and natural resources science, according to a comprehensive report to be released Thursday. “The overall decline in these fields is real,” reports a blue-ribbon panel asked by the federal government to assess the state of Canada’s science and technology. It says the country continues to excel in health sciences and information and communications technologies and many other fields, but is losing ground in natural resources and environmental sciences, which were considered two of the country’s top four scientific strengths in 2006.

 

Pipeline development was a “top of mind” consideration factoring into the Harper government’s regulatory reforms adopted in a 400-page piece of legislation supporting the 2012 budget, reveals an internal briefing note prepared for Environment Minister Peter Kent. Nearly one third of the budget legislation was dedicated to changing Canada’s environmental laws, offering new tools for the government to authorize water pollution, investigate environmental groups, weaken protection of endangered species, and limit public participation in consultations and reviews of proposed industrial projects.

 

Statistique Canada reconnaît désormais que le remplacement controversé de la version longue du formulaire de recensement a causé certains problèmes. Près de 12 % des municipalités ont eu des taux de réponse inférieurs à 50 %, qui est le niveau considéré comme optimal. La plupart des municipalités dans lesquelles les taux de réponse sont bas sont de petite taille, et cela pourrait nuire à la fiabilité des résultats d'un point de vue local. Comme l'explique Ivan Fellegi, qui a été statisticien en chef à Statistique Canada jusqu'à 2008, le but du recensement n'est pas d'obtenir les données pour la grande région de Toronto, par exemple, mais bien de récolter des informations à propos des petites localités. Un fort taux de réponse au recensement est essentiel afin de tirer des conclusions qui ne sont pas biaisées. (…)

 

Census replacement sees low response rates in 12 per cent of communities

24-SEP-2012 09:50 AM   Winnipeg Free Press (Canadian Press), Heather Scof

The response rate to Statistics Canada's replacement for the cancelled long-form census varies wildly from community to community, information released Monday shows. A almost 12 per cent of communities had response rates that fall below the optimal 50 per cent level. Most of those communities with low response rates are small, prompting questions about how reliable the final results will be at a local level. "The reason we take the census is not to get the data for the whole of Toronto. The point is to get small-area data," said Ivan Fellegi, the chief statistician until 2008. "My whole point was, and still is, that some data will be good, some will be bad. We won't know which is which."

 

Atmospheric scientists from around the world are asking Environment Canada to back down from a plan that they believe would compromise ozone and radiation monitoring by putting it into the hands of an Information Technology computer expert. On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Sept. 16 signing of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to reduce ozone-depleting pollution in the atmosphere, the scientists said they were shocked to learn about the budget cuts and staffing changes made by the Harper government.

 

Ottawa discret sur les inspections d'usines de médicaments (French)

11-SEP-2012 09:57 AM   La Presse (PC), Camille Bains

Santé Canada dissimule si bien les informations qu'elle recueille lors de ses inspections dans des usines de fabrication de médicaments à l'étranger que les Canadiens ne sont pas en mesure de savoir si les médicaments qu'ils consomment sont sûrs, estime le chercheur Alan Cassels de l'université Victoria, en Colombie-Britannique. Il s'inquiète également des récentes compressions dans la fonction fédérale, car elles pourraient contribuer selon lui à la réduction du nombre d'inspections au Canada et à l'étranger.

 

Health Canada is so secretive about its inspections of overseas drug-manufacturing plants that Canadians can't be confident their medications are safe, says a drug policy researcher. Alan Cassels of the University of Victoria said most prescription drugs are manufactured overseas but that Health Canada has released only limited information about its inspections of foreign manufacturing plants after he made numerous inquiries. However, he's also concerned that recent government layoffs mean there will be fewer Health Canada staff to conduct such inspections in or outside the country.

 

Le document rendu public par le ministre fédéral de l'Environnement, Peter Kent, propose des mesures moins contraignantes que celles contenues dans la version précédente, présentée l'été dernier. De Saskatoon, M. Kent a expliqué que les nouvelles usines de charbon devaient désormais produire moins de 420 tonnes de dioxyde de carbone par gigawatt-heure d'électricité produite. Dans la première version de la réglementation, cette limite était située à 375 tonnes.

 

Coal-fired power plants got more regulatory breathing room than expected to release greenhouse gases Wednesday, something federal Environment Minister Peter Kent says is necessary to protect Canada's power supply.

 

Coupes fédérales en science: l'homme qui parle (French)

03-SEP-2012 10:16 AM   Agence Science Presse, Pascal Lapointe

En septembre, d’autres scientifiques à l’emploi du gouvernement fédéral sont censés recevoir à leur tour la confirmation que leurs postes seront abolis. Mais il est bien difficile d’en trouver un seul qui ose en parler. « Je cours des risques si je parle aux journalistes, je n’ai pas de permission », admet Peter Ross, qui ne s’est pourtant pas privé de parler : en mai et juin, on a pu le lire et l’entendre dans plusieurs médias, francophones et anglophones. Et si les journalistes scientifiques sont nombreux à se tourner vers lui, c’est parce qu’il est à peu près le seul. (…)

 

Avec les coupes budgétaires dans la recherche sur les contaminants chimiques, l’avenir s’assombrit pour le suivi à long terme et la conservation des espèces marines du Saint-Laurent. Laboratoires démantelés, postes de chercheurs supprimés: depuis la fin 2011, le gouvernement fédéral effectue des coupes budgétaires drastiques et ciblées dans son ministère chargé de l’environnement aquatique et de la recherche. Quant à la volumineuse loi budgétaire C-38 en vigueur depuis le mois de juillet, elle modifie la Loi sur les pêches et abolit des évaluations environnementales. (…)

 

Scientists are continuing to fight to save the library at the St. Andrews Biological Station from federal funding cuts. The library is used by Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, outside researchers and by university students for teaching and research in southwestern New Brunswick. (…)

 

Regulatory documents indicate federal scientists still have significant concerns over Shell's proposed Jackpine oilsands mine expansion north of Fort McMurray, Alta., even as the project heads into public hearings. (…)

 

Des scientifiques fédéraux ont toujours des inquiétudes à propos de l'agrandissement du projet d'exploitation des sables bitumineux Jackpine de la société pétrolière Shell, alors que le projet doit passer à l'étape des audiences publiques, indiquent des documents.

 

Enbridge cleanup plans not specific for diluted bitumen, says scientist

26-AUG-2012 10:35 AM   The Canadian Press, Will Campbell and Vivian Luk

Enbridge Inc.'s response plan for a potential spill of Northern Gateway oil into the pristine waters off British Columbia doesn't take into account the unique oil mixture the pipeline would actually carry, documents show. However, documents obtained under access to information show a scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans argued vigorously for a chance to do more research. "The Northern Gateway pipeline proposal lacks key information on the chemical composition of the reference oils used in the hypothetical spill models," wrote Ken Lee, head of DFO's Centre for Offshore Oil Gas and Energy Research, or COOGER. (…)

 

In a wide-ranging interview with Postmedia News, David McLaughlin, a former Harper government staffer who headed the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, suggested that it would be in Canada’s best interests for these groups to learn to work together as they debate major infrastructure projects such as Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline and the development of energy resources such as the oilsands.

 

The Harper government’s budget legislation has forced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to cancel nearly 3,000 screenings into potential environmental damage caused by proposed development projects across Canada, including hundreds involving a pipeline or fossil fuel energy, according to published records.

 

While Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the fate of Enbridge's proposed pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to tankers on the British Columbia coast will be based on science and not politics, documents show some of that science isn't forthcoming.And critics say there is no time for the science to be completed before a federal deadline for the environmental assessment currently underway.

 

In this year’s federal budget, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government outlined a plan to streamline federal and provincial environmental regulations, to reduce overlap and delays in resource development. It’s a sensible premise, but news this week that Ottawa plans to effectively defer to Alberta on greenhouse-gas rules - allowing it to place fewer limits on carbon emissions from oil-sands development than might otherwise be the case - raises concerns about what it will lead to.

 

Buried within the more than 400 pages of this spring’s federal omnibus budget bill is an invitation for resource companies to open a new frontier in Canadian oil: the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Now, due to measures deep in the federal budget, that ecosystem may be under threat. The bill explicitly highlights the region’s potential for petroleum extraction and includes amendments to the Coasting Trade Act that give oil companies greater access to exploration vessels.

 

A dependence on fossil fuel resources is making the country vulnerable to a planetary “mega trend” toward low-carbon energy that “will affect the whole of Canada’s economy,” Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was told in newly released internal briefing notes.

 

Environnement Canada craint que les efforts du gouvernement Harper pour encourager ses fonctionnaires à examiner de plus près les risques et possibles répercussions des changements climatiques ne tombent dans l'oreille d'un sourd. C'est du moins ce que révèle une note d'Environnement Canada datée de juillet 2011, et dont La Presse Canadienne a obtenu copie en vertu de la Loi d'accès à l'information. La note d'Environnement Canada révèle toutefois les craintes de l'équipe chargée de l'application du cadre de travail, qui s'inquiète des possibilités que la mesure ne soit reléguée sur une tablette dans certains secteurs du gouvernement ne se préoccupant pas, de façon générale, des impacts environnementaux de leurs décisions.

 

The signs of drought were everywhere, from shrivelled rivers and lakes in the American West to brittle brown lawns and parched farm crops in the Canadian Prairies. Anyone who weathered the stubborn dry spell that enveloped western North America from 2000 to 2004 knows it was harsh, but now a group of researchers has concluded it was the most severe drought in 800 years – bone-dry conditions that the scientists believe could become the “new norm” in this vital agricultural region.

 

Environment Canada is worried that the Harper government's own effort to encourage public servants to more carefully consider the risks and possible impacts of climate change is falling on deaf ears. Internal documents show that the team implementing the plan fears it may be dismissed in some corners of the bureaucracy, since officials won't have to keep track of how their decisions deal with climate-related risks.

 

Ottawa’s controversial decision to close down the world-renowned research facility known as the Experimental Lakes Area may not be final, according to Manitoba premier Greg Selinger. At the Council of the Federation (COF) meetings in Halifax, Premier Selinger said he had a “bilateral” meeting with federal Environment Minister Peter Kent at the recent Rio+20 Conference that left him with the impression that there was a “glimmer of hope” at the political level that Ottawa’s decision was not final.

 

Earlier this month research scientists in lab coats held a protest lab on Parliament Hill. Their demonstration included a symbolic funeral procession for ‘evidence’ amid Conservative cuts to research funding and federal in-house research capacity. The protest also came on the heels of a federal budget that put the axe to the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), the First Nations Statistical Institute (FNSI) and the National Council on Welfare (NCW). Taken together, the chop to these three agencies takes just $7.5 million off the federal books – a paltry sum in relation to the value of the public goods they provided and now lost to Canada.

 

Science et politique canadienne ne font définitivement pas bon ménage (French)

21-JUL-2012 01:59 PM   Infodimanche.com (Agence Science Presse)

À la fin du mois dernier, en dépouillant son courrier, Stephen Harper a relevé une lettre signée de la main même de la présidente de la Société Royale du Canada. Dans cette courte lettre, Yolande Grisé exprimait au plus haut dirigeant du pays sa «déception profonde et son regret quant aux récentes réductions budgétaires qui touchent plusieurs ministères et organismes gouvernementaux.»

 

After discovering Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq quietly killed back in 2009 a departmental proposal to regulate trans fat levels in processed food, I wanted to find out if the issue was dead. After all, the department’s plan was drafted in accordance with a commitment from Aglukkaq’s predecessor, Tony Clement, to regulate if industry didn’t make enough progress under a voluntary program, tracked by Health Canada’s monitoring program. So, I filed an access to information to see if the issue was being discussed at Health Canada’s Food Expert Advisory Committee.

 

As one of the world’s largest fish and seafood exporters (a business worth $3.9-billion in 2010), Canada might be unique in that the potential fisheries along almost three-quarters of its coastline are largely untapped and unexplored. Until recently, those Arctic marine shores kept many of their undersea secrets well hidden beneath metres-thick ice and at harsh, impassable distances.

 

La revue Nature dénonce les politiques conservatrices (French)

20-JUL-2012 12:48 PM   Le Devoir, Amélie Daoust-Boisvert

La très sérieuse revue scientifique Nature s’inquiète que le gouvernement conservateur de Stephen Harper procède à des coupes possiblement idéologiques dans des programmes scientifiques, surtout dans le domaine environnemental.

 

Leaders of the largest federal public sector unions are in St. Andrews, New Brunswick today to join a groundswell of opposition to federal cuts at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ St. Andrews Biological Station.

 

Death of evidence

18-JUL-2012 08:04 AM   Nature

The sight last week of 2,000 scientists marching on Ottawa's Parliament Hill highlighted a level of unease in the Canadian scientific community that is unprecedented in living memory.

 

Cuts to Statistics Canada a costly error

17-JUL-2012 12:38 PM   Vancouver Sun, Vass Bednar And Mark Stabile

Lacking the evidence that now-cancelled programs provided, policy-making will become a guessing game

 

Austérité oblige, le budget de l'Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments (ACIA) a malheureusement été amputé de 56 millions de dollars pour les trois prochaines années. Des centaines d'inspecteurs et plusieurs autres employés seront mis à pied. Ottawa a toutefois promis de maintenir en poste les inspecteurs de la transformation des viandes.

 

Stephen Harper is blind to science

13-JUL-2012 08:17 AM   Toronto Star, Christopher Hume

Ottawa has seen countless demonstrations over the decades, none more poignant or disturbing than what unfolded Tuesday when hundreds of scientists took to the street to protest what they call “the Death of Evidence.”

 

Harper deploys diplomats to counter U.S. climate change campaign

12-JUL-2012 08:49 AM   Postmedia News, Mike De Souza

The Harper government has deployed a network of Canadian diplomats to lobby Fortune 500 companies in the United States in order to counter a global warming campaign launched by an environmental advocacy group targeting the oilsands industry, says a newly-released internal memorandum from Natural Resources Canada.

 

Quelque 1000 personnes, dont de nombreux scientifiques en sarrau blanc, ont défilé en cortège funèbre hier pour dénoncer la « mort de la preuve scientifique », exécutée selon eux par le gouvernement conservateur.

 

Science - Sarraus en colère (French)

11-JUL-2012 09:08 AM   Le Devoir, Marie-Andrée Chouinard

En signant la fin du recensement version longue, le gouvernement de Stephen Harper avait offert un solide avant-goût de son mépris pour les faits,

 

CBC readers react to scientists' 'death' of evidence funeral

11-JUL-2012 09:06 AM   CBC News, Your Community Blog

The mock funeral for the death of scientific evidence in Canada certainly inspired grief among CBC readers who duked it out over the merits of Wednesday's protest.

 

Scientists protest cuts in research funds

11-JUL-2012 08:30 AM   Ottawa Citizen, Teresa Smith

Scientists from across the country staged a mock funeral on Parliament Hill Tuesday to mark what they called "the death of evidence," protesting government funding cuts to basic research.

 

Hundreds of scientists stepped away from their petri dishes on Tuesday to denounce what they say are the Harper government’s sweeping cuts to research.

 

Des chercheurs de partout au pays se sont réunis à Ottawa afin de manifester leur opposition aux compressions infligées à la recherche scientifique par le gouvernement conservateur de Stephen Harper.

 

Une dizaine de citoyens et scientifiques vêtus de noir se sont réunis mardi devant l'Institut des eaux douces de Pêches et Océans Canada sur le campus de l'Université du Manitoba à Winnipeg, pour protester contre les compressions budgétaires du gouvernement fédéral dans les programmes scientifiques.

 

Canadian scientists helps debunk controversial 'arsenic life' theory

10-JUL-2012 08:44 AM   Postmedia News, Margaret Munro

Two of the biggest players in the research world — NASA and the journal Science — were wrong when they told the world that microbes scooped from a California lake had rewritten the rules of life.

 

Regina researchers protest federal cuts to science

10-JUL-2012 08:27 AM   Regina Leader-Post, Terrence Mceachern

It was a funeral procession with no coffin. But that didn’t stop the scientific community at the University of Regina from mourning federal government budget cuts at the Death of Evidence rally on Tuesday.

 

Water pollution law meant to assist oilsands: Liberal MP

05-JUL-2012 08:41 AM   Postmedia News, Mike De Souza

New laws offering the government more tools to "authorize" water pollution appear to be designed to remove obstacles for expansion of Canada's oilpatch, says a Liberal MP from Montreal who spearheaded a parliamentary investigation into the environmental footprint of the oilsands.

 

NRC staff enraged by gift cards

05-JUL-2012 08:15 AM   Winnipeg Free Press, Mia Rabson

Have a doughnut on your way out the door. That is the message several dozen employees of the NRC took away June 29 as the president of the agency issued gift cards for a coffee and a doughnut to all employees, including 65 who are being laid off this month.

 

Metrics can’t replace expert judgment in science assessments, says new report

05-JUL-2012 08:23 AM   University Affairs, Léo Charbonneau

Quantitative indicators such as the number of publications and citation counts can be used to inform decisions about allocating research funding, but they can’t replace expert judgment, says a new report by the Council of Canadian Academies released on July 5.

 

Heavy workloads and high turnover at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans could jeopardize the federal government's ability to protect Canadians from the dangerous impacts of industrial projects, say internal government records obtained by Postmedia News.

 

Science, not politics, should be at the heart of fisheries

16-JUN-2012 08:12 AM   The Globe and Mail, Jeffrey Simpson

Four good men with extensive government experience tried to stop the Harper government. Predictably, they failed – predictably, because this government listens to almost no one who actually knows about given policy fields.

 

Up to 5,000 federal environmental assessments of economic projects are conducted every year under existing laws, but the Harper government's proposal to repeal the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act could eliminate "most" of those reviews, said Environment Minister Peter Kent in a statement tabled in Parliament before it began a marathon voting session earlier this week on legislation tied to the federal budget.

 

Sciences: des compressions fédérales qui coûtent cher (French)

14-JUN-2012 08:29 AM   Charles Côté, La Presse,

Les compressions dans les laboratoires scientifiques fédéraux risquent de coûter cher et sacrifient des installations récentes de grande valeur. C'est ce qui ressort de nouvelles informations colligées par La Presse que le ministère des Pêches et Océans a été incapable de confirmer en dépit d'un délai de plus d'une semaine. Selon des sources internes à Pêches et Océans Canada (MPO), le laboratoire d'expertises en analyses chimiques aquatiques de Mont-Joli, dont le gouvernement Harper a prévu la fermeture dans son dernier budget, était flambant neuf. Il a coûté environ 2 millions. Ce montant est confirmé par Jean Piuze, un ancien haut fonctionnaire de MPO.

 

More than 11,500 petition government over ELA shutdown

13-JUN-2012 08:35 AM   Mia Rabson, Winnipeg Free Press

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The scientific community has united against Ottawa's plan to close the Kenora-area Experimental Lakes Area. Petitions supporting the continuation of the project have garnered support from across the globe. More than 11,500 Canadians have asked the federal government to reconsider its decision to close down the Experimental Lakes Area near Kenora.

 

Canadian isotope maker on alert

13-JUN-2012 08:36 AM   Ian Macleod, Ottawa Citizen

Canada's capability as a world leader in medical isotope production faces stiff new non-proliferation actions by the United States, which is curbing exports of highly-enriched, bomb-grade uranium to foreign isotope makers. The move is among seven measures announced by the White House to minimize the civilian use of highly enriched uranium-235 (HEU) and push isotope manufactures to convert to the use of far less dangerous low-enriched uranium.

 

Le premier directeur de l'Institut Maurice-Lamontagne de Mont-Joli, Jean Boulva, sort de sa réserve pour dénoncer la suppression de 64 millions de dollars du budget de Pêches et Océans Canada. Jean Boulva, qui a dirigé le centre de recherche entre 1987 et 2005, croit que la recherche aurait dû être épargnée par les compressions fédérales. Line audio (8:40) - http://www.radio-canada.ca/audio-video/pop.shtml#urlMedia=http://www.radio-canada.ca/Medianet/2012/CBGA/Aucoeurdumonde201206111513.asx Lien vidéo (2:00) - http://www.radio-canada.ca/audio-video/pop.shtml#urlMedia=http://www.radio-canada.ca/Medianet/2012/CJBRT/LeTelejournalEstDuQuebec201206111759_1.asx

 

Budget cuts threaten federal green plan for oilsands and coal: scientist

12-JUN-2012 08:42 AM   Mike De Souza, Postmedia News

Budget cuts to a team of smokestack pollution specialists at Environment Canada could jeopardize the Harper government`s efforts to crack down on pollution from industries such as the oilsands and coal-fired electricity generation, warns a University of Guelph professor, who worked with the special unit of federal scientists.

 

Gouvernement «Harper» (French)

11-JUN-2012 08:44 AM   Manon Corneiller, Le Devoir

L’État doit-il aider financièrement les citoyens et les groupes qui participent à des audiences publiques ou font appel aux tribunaux ? Pas quand le but est de contester les politiques gouvernementales, croit le gouvernement Harper. Le premier ministre Stephen Harper en a donné une nouvelle preuve jeudi dernier lors de son passage à Paris.

 

Dans leur texte, les procureurs du ROC déclarent au ministre des Finances James Flaherty « qu’il n’y a aucune justification défendable pour cette attaque contre la loi et la politique environnementale du Canada ». Le Barreau du Québec estime que les amendements apportés par le projet de loi omnibus C-38 à la Loi sur les pêches constituent une « menace à l’intégrité de la biodiversité et ne respectent pas le principe général de développement durable, ni les engagements internationaux pris par le Canada en matière de protection de la biodiversité ».

 

World Oceans Day bittersweet for DFO

08-JUN-2012 08:59 AM   CBC News

Federal fisheries workers hosted educational marine-themed displays for hundreds of school children for World Oceans Day events on the Halifax waterfront Friday while others worried about the future of the department. Oceans Day is meant to celebrate and teach awareness about the importance of ocean conservation. This year, Oceans Day takes place as the federal government rewrites environmental law including overhauling the Fisheries Act and making major cuts to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

 

A Nova Scotia archeologist says Ottawa's plan to close the Dartmouth lab contradicts the spirit of UN rules. Jonathan Fowler is a professor at Saint Mary's University. He has directed the archaeological field school at Grand Pré National Historic site since 2001. He said closing the Parks Canada Archaeology Lab in Dartmouth will be a serious loss for the program and for other public history initiatives across Atlantic Canada.

 

Nearly a year after agreeing to a joint federal-provincial plan to improve the scientific and environmental oversight of oilsands development, Canada's main oil and gas industry lobby group says it is still sorting out details about how different companies would share the estimated $50 million price tag.

 

Canada's Enviro Policy is Sleeping With the Fishes

07-JUN-2012 09:06 AM   Gerald McEachern, Huffington Post

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This is an East Coast fish story. It started with a tour of the newly rebuilt biological station in tiny little St. Andrews, NB. We, by that I mean the people of Canada, have invested $71 million in the station and the results are pretty impressive. But there's a dark downside: while we've got a new facility, we're losing key people -- and a hundred-year-old science legacy.

 

Canadians will pay for Harper's approach to environment: former Tory

07-JUN-2012 09:08 AM   Mike De Souza, Postmedia News

Canadians will "pay a price" for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's imbalanced and mistaken approach on environmental issues, says a former Reform and Conservative party MP. "I always thought that 'conserve' was part of the Conservative mantra, but I might be wrong," Bob Mills said Thursday at a news conference organized by Green Party leader Elizabeth May. "Stephen Harper puts other priorities, I think, ahead of the environment, and I think that's a mistake."

 

Former Reform MP rakes Harper over environmental coals

07-JUN-2012 09:10 AM   Gloria Galloway, The Globe and Mail

Conservative politicians – including a former Reform MP who was his party’s environment critic when Stephen Harper was opposition leader – have joined more than 20 other former members in protesting the government’s decision to kill the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

 

La décision de Pêches et Océans Canada de fermer tous ses laboratoires étudiant la pollution chimique de l'eau a de quoi étonner pour un pays qui a le plus long littoral du monde et aussi les plus grandes réserves d'eau douce. Mais un examen plus attentif des recherches publiées par les responsables de ces laboratoires montre à quel point leur travail nuisait à plusieurs industries: aquaculture, exploitation pétrolière, pétrochimie, agriculture industrielle, etc.

 

Tories under fire for pulling plug on freshwater-research funding

05-JUN-2012 09:14 AM   Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail

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The Conservative government is facing growing pressure to reverse its decision to end funding for the Experimental Lakes Area, a unique research zone in Northwestern Ontario where scientists can gauge the impact of pollution on ecosystems.

 

Canadian charities would have to turn over lists of their donors’ identities to the Canada Revenue Agency under a proposal being floated by the Conservative government. The move is touted as a way to prevent tax-receipt fraud, but some charities are wary of the administrative burden — and the potential close surveillance of groups that criticize government policies.