Pharyngula

You seem to be going down a similar path — expertise is downplayed, any fool can do the job of government, irrationality is promoted to equal footing with reason. It’s worrisome. Didn’t your mother ever ask you whether you’d follow if your friends jumped off a cliff? Well, we’re clinging desperately to the edge of that cliff, and you seem awfully anxious to join us.

Take the case of Gary Goodyear. He’s a chiropractor and a certified acupuncturist. He’s a quack, in other words. And you’ve gone and appointed him to be your science and technology minister! Don’t you have any people up there who actually do Science and Technology? What’s David Suzuki up to?

Come on, fix this. It would really be embarrassing if the United States had to stage an intervention — it would be like having Rush Limbaugh show up at your door to chastise you for your substance abuse habits. Besides, you can’t count on us, since America is probably lying on a floor somewhere, shaking and spasming and shouting “flooba lalla maka wana taka doopa” while a minister is rifling through our wallet. We’re Sarah Palin driving an SUV with a big gun rack while watching the 700 Club on the ceiling-mounted video system, bound and determined to prove our superiority by crashing into anyone who cuts into our lane. We are not a good role model.

Please, Canada. You’ve always been like the sensible, moderate brother who at least sets a good example for us. We can’t afford to see you join us in irresponsible lunacy.

Comments

  1. #1 Some Canadian Skeptic
    November 26, 2008

    http://somecanadianskeptic.blogspot.com/2008/11/watch-your-back-goodyears-good-year-may.html

    I blogged about this a while back. Check it oot for more information

  2. #2 Runningman
    November 26, 2008

    Bear in mind that up here the cabinet must be chosen from among the elected members of parliament. We can’t just find a good person and appoint him/her. There isn’t always a qualified scientist among the government MPs – they’re mostly lawyers, etc. As well, the Prime Minister has other considerations when choosing the cabinet, such as regional representation.

    This situation results in the government departments being primarily run by Deputy Ministers, who are (usually) appointed on merit.

    So, don’t worry. We’re still OK up here. Or, at least as OK as we’ve always been.

  3. #3 Ian Monroe
    November 26, 2008

    And we might appoint RFK Jr. to be our spokesperson for environmental science. :( :(

  4. #4 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Bear in mind that up here the cabinet must be chosen from among the elected members of parliament. We can’t just find a good person and appoint him/her. There isn’t always a qualified scientist among the government MPs – they’re mostly lawyers, etc. As well, the Prime Minister has other considerations when choosing the cabinet, such as regional representation.

    Damn that really is a poor way of doing things (not saying we don’t have stupid ways here). Doesn’t really give you the option to be the best (or at least more)educated people in positions that require expertise.

  5. #5 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    “be” should be “appoint”

    no idea why i typed that

    KoT

  6. #6 DuckPhup
    November 26, 2008

    “Maple-suckin’ puck-slappers.” ~ Homer Simpson (soto voce)

  7. #7 ED
    November 26, 2008

    “any fool can do the job of government!”

    Ouch!

  8. #8 Plummet
    November 26, 2008

    Wow, I remember watching Dave Suzuki and Martin Yan on CBC as a teen (not on the same program). That I still have a deep interest in science and food…thanks Canada!

    Remember when CBC SCTV was taken over by threeCp-1?

  9. #9 Annick
    November 26, 2008

    Part of the problem is that the seat of power has shifted from the East to the West – in particular, Alberta. Alberta has always been a conservative base (and I mean 40 years of uninterrupted conservativism.) Much of Alberta’s spirit lies in glorifying the farmers, ranchers and oil-field workers while downplaying intellect.

    Now that the economy in manufacturing has plummeted, Alberta seems to be calling the shots. Even with the price of oil dropping, this province is still raking in a 2 billion dollar surplus next year.

  10. #10 Feynmaniac
    November 26, 2008

    My fellow Canadians,

    What the fuck is up with this shit? There was always some national pride when the Americans would have to drive across the border to get treated because their health care was so screwed up. I’d always feel sorry for our cousins down south living under President numbnuts. Now we put this guy was our science and technology minister?

    This is just embarrassing.

  11. #11 Black Jack Shellac
    November 26, 2008

    PZ, I should like to point out that this is a minority government. They only hold 37% of the popular vote, which is a hell of a lot less thna the 48% of lunatics who voted McCain/Palin.

    We know very fucking well that Harper and his gang are a bunch of anti-science lunatics. I know better because I work intimitely with scientists struggling to overcome these idiots stonewalling on climate change issues.

    This is a fluke of history in Canada because the vote on the left has been split because of some leadership issues in the liberal party. We’re working on it. Note also that because Harper has a minority government, he’s unlikely to be able to accomplish much.

  12. #12 Bryson Brown
    November 26, 2008

    Sadly, we have our own special blend of right-wingers, a fairly big tent ranging from moderate Tories to one Jesse Helms-type ‘Nelson Mandela is a commie’ nut bar, elected by the good citizens of Calgary. A good number are populist ‘drill, baby, drill’ global-warming skeptics; even their leader was once a proud member of that group, and he still resolutely opposes actually doing anything about global warming. Our recent election didn’t go too well– they managed to win a minority government (running a purely negative campaign that claimed a modest carbon tax proposed by the Liberals would bring the end of civilization as we know it). We’re going to have to deal with a lot of this nonsense over the next few years.

  13. #13 Michelle
    November 26, 2008

    …who the fuck voted for that douchebag? What province is he from?

  14. #14 Dave Cannon
    November 26, 2008

    While he’s still a filthy Liberal (Yankees, note the capital ‘l’), I have a lot of respect for Marc Garneau who is now the party’s opposition critic for science and technology.

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/11/25/f-garneau-qa.html

    However, the effectiveness of this critic’s role in challenging the anti-intellectual, anti-science tendencies of the Tory government will likely be seriously hampered by the fact that the Liberals are in disarray over leadership issues right now and have been skittish about toppling the government.

    Of course, having an astronaut as their critic by no means gets the Liberals off the hook for “Dr.” Ruby Dahla, another chiropractor. Yeesh.

  15. #15 Johnny Vector
    November 26, 2008

    The trouble with the maples,
    (And they're quite convinced it's true)
    They say the oaks are just too crazy
    And they grab up all the woo.

    Sorry! Sorry. I didn’t mean to type that.

  16. #16 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Wow Johnny.

    Not sure if that was good or bad Johnny.

    At least it was a Canadian band you picked..

    ;)

  17. #17 Mike
    November 26, 2008

    Our recent election didn’t go too well– they managed to win a minority government

    The only good thing about the recent election is that it highlights the fact that Canada really is a centre-left country. The fact that these bozos couldn’t win a majority government against a split left and one of the most ineffectual, useless leaders of the opposition in recent memory, speaks volumes about why Canadians voted Conservative.

    This government may last several years until the Liberals get their act together and elect Michael Ignatieff as their leader. Stephen Harper had his chance to win a majority, and he couldn’t do it.

  18. #18 George
    November 26, 2008

    Selecting the executive from elected members of parliament is the norm for parliamentary democracy. The obvious problem is filling parliament with lawyers. Personally I think lawyers should be banned from standing for election (like their clients). You don’t have to be an expert at interpreting law to make it. Drafting is done by civil servants. As a group lawyers have enough power and influence without infesting parliaments. Constituents ought to be able to choose between people with a wide range of abilities and perspectives, street cleaners, vets or undertakers, whatever. Certainly a good mix of scientists, business owners and workers. Lawyers are the last people who should be allowed to make law. By all means employ a few to deal with technical details, ensuring that parliaments wishes are properly expressed, preempt loopholes and the like.

  19. #19 Scott Belyea
    November 26, 2008

    Stephen Harper had his chance to win a majority, and he couldn’t do it.

    Interesting to note that the most productive government in several decades was led by a man who never won a majority – Lester Pearson. And that was when is was much easier to win a majority than it is today.

  20. #20 Johnny Vector
    November 26, 2008

    Thanks Rev.; I’m not sure whether it was good or bad either. And of course I picked a band from Canadia! It wasn’t just because they were in my mind after Ed posted the clip of them on Colbert. Nosirree! It’s because lately I’ve been trying not to crash my car whilst drumming along with Subdivisions.

    Um, what was the topic?

    Oh yes, crazy ministers.

    I’m glad to hear that there are Deputy Ministers who are appointed on merit. I was sort of imagining the situation depicted in Yes, Minister, where the career civil servant permanent secretary really runs the place. A lot of professional societies in USAia are run like that, and it works pretty well. A new “top dog” every couple years, whom the career people have to break in and then it works okay. Or, hilarity ensues.

  21. #21 Johnny Vector
    November 26, 2008

    Geez, you put in one frakkin’ link and get held for moderation. Could we at least allow links to other ScienceBlogs entries?

    I mean okay, it was to Dispatches, but I thought you guys were friends now…

  22. #22 Tanya
    November 26, 2008

    Argh! Our PM does seem to think the US is a good role model in many (unfortunate) ways. As other commenters have mentioned, at least it’s a minority government …

    It would be nice to see some more actual scientists in government, but they seem to be few and far between. I guess because they’re busy doing science?

  23. #23 Kamel
    November 26, 2008

    Bear in mind that up here the cabinet must be chosen from among the elected members of parliament. We can’t just find a good person and appoint him/her.

    That’s not true. Just recently (2006?) there was a flap about Harper appointing an unelected person to his cabinet as Minister of Public Works. Sure, as George points out, appointed elected MPs is the norm but it’s not required as Harper himself has demonstrated in the past. Of course when it happens, people get their hackles up so it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.

  24. #24 Matt Heath
    November 26, 2008

    Damn that really is a poor way of doing things (not saying we don’t have stupid ways here). Doesn’t really give you the option to be the best (or at least more)educated people in positions that require expertise.

    meh. It’s almost the same system in the UK (although they can fiddle it occasionally by appointing experts to the Lords). It’s not that bad. It means the ministers are all politicians, and their job is always to deal with the political side of things and be smart enough to know that they know nothing. The people that know the technical stuff are in the employ of the civil service and the a competent minister bows to their advice (unless it will look bad in the Daily Mail).

  25. #25 Ken Shipe
    November 26, 2008

    I agree with the sentiment regarding a chiropractor being appointed to this office…but, I’m confused as to whether you believe chiropractic alone is quackery.

    Please explain how you feel about chiropractic.

  26. #26 tariqata
    November 26, 2008

    This is a fluke of history in Canada because the vote on the left has been split because of some leadership issues in the liberal party. We’re working on it. Note also that because Harper has a minority government, he’s unlikely to be able to accomplish much.

    I wouldn’t count on that last bit. Look at the situation before the election; do you think that it’s going to get any better while the Liberals dither between Rae and Ignatieff until the leadership convention? Dion certainly won’t be able to mount any effective opposition right now, and I won’t be holding my breath for Layton and Duceppe to try to bring down the government, since neither of them can possible benefit in any significant way. Harper may have only a minority, but the opposition is going to be even less effective in this Parliament, so Harper is going to have quite a bit more freedom than a minority PM could typically count on.

  27. #27 Newfie
    November 26, 2008

    Well, don’t look at me. We didn’t send any Conservatives to Ottawa this go around. Our Province’s Premier had a campaign called “ABC” – Anything But Conservative.
    Opposition critics, and the staff in Mr. Goodyear’s office will keep things in check, for the most part. Climate change being the one thing that the government will drag their feet on. Lot’s of money and political influence out the Alberta Oil Patch. But don’t worry too much, the Canadian Science Community does have its voice here.

  28. #28 Ken Shipe
    November 26, 2008

    I agree with the sentiment regarding a chiropractor being appointed to this office…but, I’m confused as to whether you believe chiropractic alone is quackery.

    Please explain how you feel about chiropractic.

  29. #29 Kemist
    November 26, 2008

    Note also that because Harper has a minority government, he’s unlikely to be able to accomplish much.

    Oh, he did manage to screw up science funding pretty much in the time he was there. A few research assistants I know are now without a job and have to survive doing menial jobs. Many young profs have left academics already to go teaching in high schools. My collegues don’t know if they will still have a job after this Xmas. I’m leaving soon to learn something else, something that will allow me to earn a living without fear of being terminated every 2-3 months.

    I never thought I’d say this one day but, here it is : I miss Jean Chrétien.

  30. #30 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    Geez, you put in one frakkin’ link and get held for moderation. Could we at least allow links to other ScienceBlogs entries?

    I mean okay, it was to Dispatches, but I thought you guys were friends now…

    I have the same issue when linking to Dispatches

  31. #31 Matt Heath
    November 26, 2008

    I mean okay, it was to Dispatches, but I thought you guys were friends now…

    Ed Brayton is a self-confessed libertarian. You might as well be linking to Uncommon Descent. ;)

  32. #32 Shaden Freud
    November 26, 2008

    First British Columbia-based Premise Media produces Expelled, now this….

  33. #33 Kemist
    November 26, 2008

    Please explain how you feel about chiropractic.

    Chiropactic, as in mainline-”subluxation” chiropractic, is quackery. Dangerous quackery because it can also cause actual harm other than that of wasting time by doing nothing for a life-threatening condition. Among the direct possible detrimental effects of chiropractic are pain, muscle damage, broken bones, and sometimes stroke following neck manipulation.

    Back manipulation may have a real effect on back pain. That is about all.

  34. #34 sduford
    November 26, 2008

    Yeah, Harper is a Bush wannabe.

    Unfortunately, the Liberal party has been having a hard time getting their act together and finding a suitable leader.

  35. #35 Cory Albrecht
    November 26, 2008

    OMGWTFBBQ!!! Goodyear, unfortunately, is my MP. He has simply got to be the *worst* politician for getting back to you when you email him.

    When I lived in other ridings (which were Liberal at those times) within 1 day I would get a response from a staffer thanking me for the email and a more personal reply from the MP in no more than a week.

    Goodyear, on the other hand, you’re lucky if you even get the acknowledgement that you emailed him. An actual reply from him is a once in a millenia happening, it seems.

    Now I voted NDP in the past federal election, so I;m obviously no fan of the Conservative party or Stephen Harper, but this move assigning Goodyear as the Minister for Science and Technology? Auuugh!

  36. #36 Newfie
    November 26, 2008

    Harper is a suck up type personality, he sucked up to Dubya, but he won’t have the same relationship with Obama. If Harper wants to stay in the game for the foreseeable future, he’ll have to play ball with the Obama Administration. You also have to remember that just because someone is good in a particular field, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’d be a good politician.

  37. #37 Cervantes
    November 26, 2008

    A site worth bookmarking, if you haven’t already, is Quackwatch. Due to popular demand, they’ve set up a satellite site on chiropractic. It’s fair and balanced, acknowledging that “a minority of chiropractors offer rational treatment,” and that spinal manipulation can benefit some people under specific circumstances. Unfortunately, the profession as a whole is a pseudo-scientific cult. Exactly where Goodyear fits into that picture, I do not know.

  38. #38 Pamela
    November 26, 2008

    I must second Kemist–the first Harper minority government was a great lesson in civics for me–A minority government can do a lot more damage than I thought they could. They can, for example, keep programs created by legislation intact, but cut their budgets to zero (e.g., the Court Challenges Program, which was set up to assist Canadians bringing lawsuits against the government). And they can lobby the US government to accept dirty oil from the Tar Sands (Harper has already started to work on Obama) using the premise that Canadian oil is not “foreign” oil to the United States).

    There’s been chatter (and a column in the Tyee by Murray Dobbins) about the opposition bringing the government down and forming a coalition to govern for two years. It would require cooperation between all three of the other parties in the House. Apparently the holdouts are the Liberals. But it looks to me like the Liberals are the only ones who would stand to gain politically from such a move.

  39. #39 DuckPhup
    November 26, 2008

    #27: Please explain how you feel about chiropractic.

    Massage… without the ‘happy ending’?

  40. #40 Brian
    November 26, 2008

    Hey, this is the Conservative caucus. It’s not like there’s a lot of talent to begin with. I mean, they put a white guy from southern BC in charge of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, a racist in charge of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, a guy who jokes about food poisoning in charge of Agriculture, a guy who ran his student union in the most anti-democratic way possible in charge of Democratic Reform, a couple Mike Harris era hacks in charge of Industry and Finance, and they still trust Stockwell Day with something.

    Hell, the only person who is too stupid to serve in a Harper cabinet is Maxime Bernier.

    “Goodyear, on the other hand, you’re lucky if you even get the acknowledgement that you emailed him. An actual reply from him is a once in a millenia happening, it seems.”

    I hear what the Conservatives do is make a database, and if you ever say that you aren’t voting for them, they flag you in the database as someone to not give a shit about.

  41. #41 mannik5000
    November 26, 2008

    Harper ran attack ads against the liberals for his entire first term and is still going now that THIS election season is over, it’s pretty sad that we’re buying into this petty crap.

  42. #42 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 26, 2008

    #27: Please explain how you feel about chiropractic.

    Massage… without the ‘happy ending’?

    and with the possibility of permanent damange

  43. #43 The Petey
    November 26, 2008

    I view Chiropractors as mechanics. I threw my back out once and a week of muscle relaxers did nothing. 24 hours after going to the chiropractor I was damn near pain free. So what ever he did worked. When they start telling me that going three times a week will cure my allergies, and asthma and gout and nail fungus and acne… BULLSHIT! I don’t buy that for a second.

    I’d personally rather go to an DO but most of them refuse to do adjustments.

  44. #44 SockPuppet
    November 26, 2008

    Goodyear’s riding (district for you yanks), Cambridge, encompasses Kitchener/Waterloo. That’s the home of the University of Waterloo, a premiere science and tech institution an Canada. Bill Gates once said that the UofW was a significant source of recruitment for Microsoft. It’s also the headquarters for Research in Motion, the makers of the Blackberry. Mike Lazarides, one of the founders, is a huge benefactor of science and technology in the area. From Wikipedia:

    On October 23, 2000, Lazaridis founded the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics with $100 million of personal funds, along with $10 million contributions from fellow RIM executives Jim Balsillie and Doug Fregin.

    On April 30, 2004, Lazaridis and his wife together donated $33.3 million to the University of Waterloo for its Institute for Quantum Computing.

    On May 3, 2005, Lazaridis gave an additional $17.2 million to the University of Waterloo, primarily to aid the construction of a new building jointly shared by the Institute for Quantum Computing and the nanotechnology engineering program.

    On June 4, 2008, a further donation of $50 million to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics was announced.

    I think that factored into the decision more than anything else.

  45. #45 Kyle
    November 26, 2008

    Hi,
    I actually live in Cambridge Ontario, Gary Goodyear’s riding. Its quite stupid how Cabinet postings work up here, its one of the few things you guys actually do right.

    In Canada, Cabinet Ministers have to be chosen from the elected Members of Parliment, instead of actual experts. Pathetic I know, but sadly we don’t have much choice.

  46. #46 Matt Heath
    November 26, 2008

    Goodyear’s riding (district for you yanks), Cambridge, encompasses Kitchener/Waterloo. That’s the home of the University of Waterloo, a premiere science and tech institution an Canada.

    What is it about places called Cambridge?

  47. #47 LisaJ
    November 26, 2008

    Lovely. This is why I don’t like Stephen Harper and why I certainly didn’t vote for him in either of our most recent elections. Why did you bring him back in Canada, why?! I don’t get how these choices come about. I myself do science, in Ottawa, and know lots of established scientists who are perfectly well qualified for the job. Doesn’t he know that we have lots of real scientists in Canada, even in Ottawa?!

  48. #48 Andrew
    November 26, 2008

    Seems to me tariqata @25 has it nailed.

    Any party that causes the government to fall before at least 2 years will be accused of frivolously wasting taxpayers money and will insure the return of Harper and his cronies. Personally, I don’t see the Liberals mounting a winning challenge with either Rae (lesser of two evils) or torture-and-premptive-war-supporting “human rights” academic Ignatieff.

    Rae has too much baggage (not totally his fault, IMO) from his disasterous tenure as premier of Ontario, the importance of which to a Prime Ministerial hopeful is even more significant than that of California to a Presidential bid. As well, many lefty-progressives who still think the Liberal tent stretches far enough to include them see Rae as an opportunistic Judas.

    My take is that the former Conservatives who were swept up in the Reform-Tory merger have held their noses and their tongues to elect Harper despite the religious nutbars, the Alberta separatists and racists that pollute their party. The Liberals have no trouble embracing centre-right policies –in fact it is only their election -time rhetoric that perpetuates the myth that they are somehow progressive– and may be able to woo those socially-liberal economic conservatives into their fold.

    If they hew to the economic conservative line, while promising sound environmental stewardship and repair of the single-payer heath care system –neither of which will they defend except in rhetoric– then they might beat Harper in the next election.

  49. #49 SockPuppet
    November 26, 2008

    Matt Heath said:

    What is it about places called Cambridge

    Ya, go figure. But this Cambridge has one thing over all the rest: It’s also the home of the world’s biggest Oktoberfest outside of Germany. Now that’s something to be proud of.

  50. #50 DrBadger
    November 26, 2008

    I’m not saying that Stephen Harper is intelligent… but what’s with relatively intelligent people going to quacks like these for their health? I know people who will go to an acupuncturist as if that’s their primary care physician (for things like fevers and sore throats).

  51. #51 Gary
    November 26, 2008

    I feel I have to apologize to the rest of Canada on behalf of the very few non-conservatives left in the west. Both Alberta and Sask have become primarily Rush Limbagh conservatives and we stood by and did nothing about it.

    The John Gormleys of the west have been able to convince far too many to leave rationality and science in favour of blind capitalism (nothing wrong with capitalism unless it is followed religiously). If it interferes with the ability to profit financially, even if backed by science, it is, in their eyes, bad, bad, bad. I’m afraid they are finding excuses to reject even the soundest of theories. Right now they are on the ‘they’re all elitests’ (scientists and educators) and ‘attack on Christmas’ (secularists) band wagon.

    Don’t forget the Conservatives, under a different name, are still the party that elected a ‘dinosaurs lived with man’ creationist (Stockwell Day) as leader, who remains in the party as Minister of International Trade.

    We here in the west are as backwoods as anything you have.

  52. #52 Quiet Desperation
    November 26, 2008

    Annex Canada! :-)

    The really sad thing here is that 95% of basic government *should* be doable by any fool. That’s what makes the vast sea of epic fail of governments- both legacy and modern- so pathetic.

  53. #53 Interrobang
    November 26, 2008

    This government may last several years until the Liberals get their act together and elect Michael Ignatieff as their leader.

    Oh dear squid. I’d vote for Harper before I voted for any Michael “I ♥ torture” Ignatieff Liberals. Jesus effing tits on toast points with oxtail gravy. If Bob Rae doesn’t get it (and he won’t, what with Ontario still being pissed at him), couldn’t, I dunno, Maude Barlow at least run or something? Monia Freakin’ Mazigh?

  54. #54 HappyHead
    November 26, 2008

    Sadly, we’re talking about a country where we once had a High school dropout as our Education Minister in Ontario.His name is John Snobelen – look him up on wikipedia for reasons not to move to Ontario, he was also a member of a Conservative majority government like the one we’ve got now.

    We got rid of the idiot in ’97, but he was moved to Minister of Natural Resources. After deliberately destroying our education system – he even announced to the media that he was going to do it – they then put him in charge of something _else_ he could destroy…

    We still haven’t recovered from the educational problems he created – I get complete illiterates coming into my 2nd year University classes, who have supposedly graduated from high school here…

  55. #55 Sven DiMilo
    November 26, 2008

    I’m going to reserve judgement until I get Robert Byers’s opinion on this…from Canada.

  56. #56 mds
    November 26, 2008

    Goodyear’s riding (district for you yanks), Cambridge, encompasses Kitchener/Waterloo. That’s the home of the University of Waterloo, a premiere science and tech institution an Canada.

    As somebody who recently graduated from UW, and is still living in its riding, it’s worth pointing out that Goodyear’s riding is actually several removed from the Kitchener-Waterloo riding that contains the campus, RIM and the Perimeter Institute. The Kitchener Center riding sits in between KW and Cambridge.

    Our MP here is also a Conservative, but if the presence of UW, RIM and the PI were influences, he was probably given a pass because he’s it’s his first term in office, and possibly the slim margin by which he won – 21,830 votes to his opponent’s 21,813. I know a lot of people who were kicking themselves after for either voting at their parents’ place, or for the NDP or Green party candidate.

  57. #57 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 26, 2008

    Posted by: Sven DiMilo | November 26, 2008

    I’m going to reserve judgement until I get Robert Byers’s opinion on this…from Canada.

    Sven, I am sorry to hear about your recent head injury.

  58. #58 M@
    November 26, 2008

    I lived in Goodyear’s riding until very recently, and I can tell you that he’s very, very good at spouting the party line. An uncanny skill, that. No wonder he was put in cabinet. He’s also something of a religious fundamentalist and opposes same-sex marriage and abortion.

    As for the appointment itself, Canada used to have a national science advisor. The role was created in 2004, and was staffed by Andrew Carty, who was by all accounts more than qualified for the position. However, the government eliminated the position earlier this year.

    This government is anti-science. There really is no way around it. If you Americans are disappointed in Canada, imagine how we Canadians feel.

  59. #59 The Voice of the Dominion
    November 26, 2008

    And how exactly did you Americans stop the appointments of all the morons in the last eight years of the Bush administration? How did you force your media to engage in actual reporting of issues of substantive public interest? Once you solve those problems, let us know, because it’s pretty much the same reason why a cretin like Goodyear (you should see him live…he’s petulant and whiny like a 15 year old) and the Conservative Party got elected to government in the first place.

    At least with this minority government, it can fall any time. Pray for that. And help it along, if you can by reminding your fellow countrymen that Harper is a very, very good friend of George Bush.

  60. #60 tariqata
    November 26, 2008

    Interrobang @ 48: I still don’t understand how Ignatieff became one of the top contenders for the Liberal leadership. Especially this time around, when it amounts to a contest between him and Rae. I mean, is there no one in the party who has a sound grasp of public policy, a conscience, decent public communication skills, and lacks the dead weight of a disastrous term in office? Is there honestly no better figure in the Liberal party?

    (And really – if the contest is essentially only between Rae and Ignatieff, why bother waiting until May for the convention? Both of them have already run once; just skip to the vote. Then they can get started on figuring out where the Liberal party stands and developing an actual strategy to oppose the Conservatives.)

  61. #61 Chuk
    November 26, 2008

    I think he’s the “good” kind of chiropractor. He got his degree (diploma?) from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College — no subluxation, wikipedia says they use “an evidence based medicine model which emphasizes research and critical thinking skills in the clinical decision making progress. ”

    I think a FOAF went there and she’s not notably flaky. Not saying that Goodyear’s a good choice (David Suzuki would be an AWESOME cabinet minister!), but he has a “real” science-based education.

  62. #62 MScott
    November 26, 2008

    *scratches head*

    Hmmm….

    Well, at least the Status of Women chick looks kind of hot.

  63. #63 Jon
    November 26, 2008

    hah, Gary Goodyear is my MP. He’s a fucking tool.

  64. #64 Kieran
    November 26, 2008

    Luckily, in Canada we have elections almost every year (or so it seems). Given Harper’s minority and the forthcoming Liberal leadership election (after which Iggy will no doubt be out for blood), it won’t be long until another election.

  65. #65 Gabe
    November 26, 2008

    Even if some canadians don’t like it, the left has Quebec to thank for the minority government. Now let’s just hope the opposition will actually do it’s job this time.

    Tariqata: Well aside from public image and communication problems, Stephane Dion is an intelligent well informed man with a realistic grasp on most issues, not to mention he has intergrity. I didn’t vote liberal, for a boatload of other reasons, but had Dion been in my riding I might have voted for him.

    On another note, Too bad Elizabeth May was portrayed as an alien hippie crackpot in many media circles. She is a good debater and actually cares about this country and it’s democracy.

  66. #66 Tyler
    November 26, 2008

    >> Don’t you have any people up there who actually do Science and Technology? What’s David Suzuki up to?

    Dr. Suzuki hasn’t done “science” since I was a kid, that isn’t really his schtick anymore. :(

    As for the Conservative Party, Harper leans towards the Reform Party wing and prior to the merger of the two parties the Reform Party was headed up by an full blown Young Earther (who was also had leanings towards Holocaust denial in his background … it sort of came with the region that he entered politics in, backwoods Alberta).

  67. #67 ossicle
    November 26, 2008

    Tut, tut. To be fair, if chiropractors stick to the basics of what they’re taught, they can be an invaluable part of recovering from some injuries. Granted, 95% of them overreach their expertise. Still, though, a good chiropractor doing what he’s actually supposed to do can be a very good thing.

  68. #68 Gabe
    November 26, 2008

    Sorry, Tariqata just realised you were quoting someone else.

  69. #69 tariqata
    November 26, 2008

    Gabe, I voted Green myself, but I agree that Dion is very well-informed on policy, and had he been running in my riding I might well have supported him too. I think it was his difficulty in communicating his policy ideas to the broader public, and in uniting the Liberal caucus behind him, that led to the losses they took in the past election. I want Dion to stay active in formulating Liberal policy because I think he has a real talent for it; however, I do think that the Conservative attacks on him worked so well because he wasn’t terribly effective in leading his party where he wanted it to go.

    Certainly agree about Elizabeth May, and I really hope the Greens don’t turn on her, as seems possible. I think she did far more in raising the party’s profile and communicating the platform than any previous leaders, and the chances of any Green candidate winning a seat in a general election were never good in the first place, so I really don’t see that as a failure on her part.

  70. #70 Azdak
    November 26, 2008

    I’m not happy about this, either, but it’s hardly surprising. It seems unlikely that Harper would pick anyone outside of his party, and let’s be honest: when it comes to trying to find people with some sort of science background, the Conservative party isn’t exactly flush with viable options. At least he didn’t appoint Stockwell Day. That would have been grounds for defenestration.

  71. #71 Brownian, OM
    November 26, 2008

    It’s hard for me to be too upset: I’m still a bit giddy about the fact that Rahim “Can’t Even Be Bothered to Phone It In But It Doesn’t Matter Since I’m Just a Token So the Conservatards Can Shed Their Bigot Label” Jaffer no longer speaks for me or my riding.

    Aw, yeah! Edmonton-Strathcona representin’! Linda Duncan be in da house!

    Besides, Tony Clement is a bigger threat to reason, rationality, and the safety of Canadians.

  72. #72 tariqata
    November 26, 2008

    I’m going to miss having “will the real Rahim Jaffer please stand up” run through my head whenever his name gets mentioned, though, I have to admit.

  73. #73 Ian
    November 26, 2008

    Of all elected MP’s in Canada’s history, there have been only four (4) that listed their occupation as “scientist”. A farmer, a surgeon and two engineers.

  74. #74 Pimientita
    November 26, 2008

    Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere, but speaking of crazy Americans…

    Ann Coulter’s jaw wired shut

  75. #75 Jolly Bloger
    November 26, 2008

    Suzuki is a loon too. He knows genetics, but he speaks authoritatively on everything else.

  76. #76 Ken Shipe
    November 26, 2008

    Glad to read some positive responses about chiropractic. And I agree wholeheartedly with many of the negative.

    I do need adjustments for back problems that creep up occasionally and my chiropractor suggests a once-a-month adjustment based on how long it has tended to take for it to go out on me in the past. This works well and the frequency does not feel like a scam. There seems to be some logic to the “maintenance” idea apart from the recurring business aspect.

    That said, my mother is a chiropractor (not mine) and seems blind to the limitations of her profession and the good medicine can do. There seems to be an unnecessary war between doctors and some chiropractors. I’m betting that it doesn’t help that my mother is religious. ;-)

    Thank you for your responses…I hope PZ agrees that chiropractic can have merit for some of us.

  77. #77 Evolving Squid
    November 26, 2008

    Have you seen this little bit of douchebaggery out of an Ottawa university?

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2008/11/25/ot-081125-shinerama.html#socialcomments

    Yes, the Carleton University Student Association passed a resolution to change the charity they support because the charity they have supported historically deals with a disease that the Association (wrongly) believes affects mostly white men. As a white man disease, it’s unworthy of their support.

    You’d think that university students would have enough on the ball to not let something like that get to print.

    The student president issued an apology, in which she apologizes for the negative publicity… not for being a sexist, racist clown in the first place.

    Woot! go Canada!

  78. #78 Kemist
    November 26, 2008

    Even if some canadians don’t like it, the left has Quebec to thank for the minority government. Now let’s just hope the opposition will actually do it’s job this time.

    Actually… For Harper’s first election, a small part of Québec, namely the Québec city region (that’s where I live; I appologize for my fellow citizens’ actions ;-), was accounted as responsible for his getting the government. This time Québec’s federal party, Bloc Québécois, got back the vote thanks to a campain from artists having lost govnt subsidies under Harper, and Harper’s quite bad campain here (he thought he had a solid base here and didn’t show up; think again, moron). The Québec city region is quite a political mystery, as it can as easily turn to the left as it can turn to the right. People in Montréal write doctoral theses on us ;-)

    To get rid of Harper, we need a good Liberal leader. Personally, I’d like Justin Trudeau (Former prime minister P-Elliot Trudeau’s son); he’s got charisma, he did humanitarian work, he’s following his father’s human rights stance. Unfortunately he is way too young for now. But I would be very surprized if he never became prime minister.

  79. #79 Kev
    November 26, 2008

    I am so embarrassed. I considered boycotting the US if McCain/Palin managed to fool enough of the people enough of the time. Now how do I boycott my own country? *Sigh*

  80. #80 SamBarge
    November 26, 2008

    I know this has already been said, but I think it bears repeating.

    Science and Technology Ministers don’t have to be scientists. Finance Ministers don’t have to economists. Health Ministers don’t have to be doctors. They’re politicians. They have Deputy Ministers and technical advisors inside the ministry to draft legislatin and direct policy. The Minister is just the political leadership in the ministries.

    Now, I’m not a fan of Stephen Harper and his Alberta wingnut party but I’d still rather deal with our system than the American system.

    At least our politcians don’t have go around swearing “God Bless Canada” after every speech.

  81. #81 Gary
    November 26, 2008

    I’m not sure why some of you seem to dislike this guy because he’s a Chiropractor, my grandmother loved Chiropractors. She went to chiropractors for over 30 years for the same back malady. Sure, her back problem was never fixed but the Chiros were kind enough not to burst that bubble of hope she carried with her every time she went to see them by happily taking her money every month.

    Surely a man belonging to a pseudo-science that routinely takes money for unnecessary and ineffectual treatments without admitting their ultimate failure and responsibly suggesting evidence based treatments, could do something for science in Canada.

    Don’t you think?

  82. #82 Gary
    November 26, 2008

    I forgot to ask, whatever became of the well respected science of Rolfing?

    Maybe Harper could appoint a Rolfer?

  83. #83 Jim
    November 26, 2008

    Suzuki is a tool. He is an arrogant, pseudo-scientific environmentalist. And I’m a serious environmentalist.

  84. #84 Mike
    November 26, 2008

    Blimey. I may not like the House of Lords in the UK, but it does at least mean you don’t have to have an MP as science minister and can pick a working peer, meaning we currently have a science minister with a PhD in robotics.

  85. #85 moo
    November 26, 2008

    Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos …

  86. #86 clinteas
    November 26, 2008

    PZ wrote :

    He’s a chiropractor and a certified acupuncturist. He’s a quack, in other words.

    Hehehe PZ,you naughty boy…
    Not sure youre meant to say that aloud !

    True,of course,and both are major industries that make huge amounts of money,while potentially causing serious deteriorations in preexisting medical conditions.

    And there’s a post for everyone today,isnt there,we Aussies got ours,the Canadians got theirs,love your work…

  87. #87 Marcus_solerso68
    November 26, 2008

    On a somewhat related topic, the Canadians sure seem to have a burgeoning right- wing- nut- job- faction movement of their very own. Some blogs are absolutely over run with canadian who enthusiasticaly endorse supply side economics, creationism, and others right wing halucinations.

  88. #88 False Prophet
    November 26, 2008

    Cabinet ministers are shuffled around so often (like, annually) they’re not really in a position to radically shake up the bureaucrats who’ve been there for decades.

    Kamel @ #23:
    Harper got around that by appointing Fortier to the Senate, so he was technically a parliamentarian even though he wasn’t elected. Note that Harper did this after pledging to reform the Senate and make it an elected body.

    SockPuppet @ #49:
    It’s not Cambridge but the nearby twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo that are home to the biggest Oktoberfest outside of Germany, and it is a lot of fun. :-) (Kitchener was originally known as Berlin before WWI because of the large number of German immigrants who settled there.)

  89. #89 Kettle
    November 26, 2008

    Hi Pot,

    Before you complain about the speck in your neighbors eye, pull the plank out of your own.

    http://obamasresume.org/

  90. #91 baryogenesis
    November 26, 2008

    General massages are great for aiding in relaxation. That cannot be a bad thing. Some people have great hands and seem to help in relieving muscle tension. Too bad there has to be the associated woo, whether Shiatsu with its meridians or Chiro with its wacko philosophy. I think we should continue to expose the woo without putting down the benefits. Maybe the practitioners could be embarrassed out of the “philosophy”.
    As for Iggy, meh. Know too much. A cold fish. Too bad it is not Gerard Kennedy’s time.

  91. #92 SockPuppet
    November 26, 2008

    It’s not Cambridge but the nearby twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo that are home to the biggest Oktoberfest outside of Germany, and it is a lot of fun. :-) (Kitchener was originally known as Berlin before WWI because of the large number of German immigrants who settled there.)

    Ya, I realized that afterward. I glanced at a riding map and mistakenly thought that the riding of Cambridge extended northward and encompassed the twin cities. I think it was all that Oktoberfest beer that threw me.

    Ziggy Zaggy Ziggy Zaggy Hoy! Hoy!! Hoy!!!

  92. #93 QrazyQat
    November 26, 2008

    Damn that really is a poor way of doing things (not saying we don’t have stupid ways here). Doesn’t really give you the option to be the best (or at least more)educated people in positions that require expertise.

    The conservative government under Stephen Harper would not be putting any informed and sensible people into science positions in government, no matter what talent pool they drew on, any more than GW Bush would. I think the system they use does have some advantages, since it keeps out the folks who might otherwise be in Harper’s cabinet. Real nuts. I mean really further gone than this guy by far. The rightwing think tanks in Canada are full of them just like in the states.

  93. #94 Lynda
    November 26, 2008

    Chiropractics has a completely different history up here in Canada than it does in the States. It’s much more science-based and respected than the true quacks below the border who put up a shingle anywhere they want. And for those fellow Canadians that supported Elizabeth May…I liked how well-spoken she was, but did it never bother you that she’s studying Theology and is a devout Christian?

  94. #95 paulfcd
    November 26, 2008

    Damn it.

    it really sucks when you have bullshit pseudoscience and you can’t really blame politics.
    Lynda, I like that you think that chiropractic is much more science based.

    kind of like Casey Luskin is more evolution based than Kent Hovind.

  95. #96 Shan
    November 26, 2008

    I didn’t realize Americans paid any attention to us. Kudos, Myers. I agree, Canada is on a treacherous path.

  96. #97 Joe Canuck
    November 26, 2008

    I don’t know anything about Gary Goodyear, so I can’t comment on whether he is qualified for a cabinet post or not.

    What I do know is that our family has used chiropractors and accupuncturists for about twenty five years for a number of problems.

    A chiropractor treated our infant daughter for colic (no, he didn’t crack her neck) and enabled us to get four hours uninterrupted sleep at a time. (Doesn’t sound like much unless you’ve had a kid with colic.)

    A chiropractor/naturopath treated me for allergies and lessened symptoms enough that I didn’t need antihistamines.

    I, my wife and kids have received chiropractic massage and accupuncture for a variety of back and muscle problems over the years.

    Currently my wife is receiving an experimental treatment for arthritis from our chiropractor. It involves low-frequency vibration and seems to be helping. (Before you scoff, this treatment is also being researched at the Mayo Clinic.)

    Maybe chiropractors in the USA are all fucked up. Wouldn’t surprise me. Everything else down there is. But don’t generalize about Canadian chiropractors.

  97. #98 Jason
    November 27, 2008

    1. Does the PM have to pick someone from his own party?

    2. There are several engineers among the MPs, even in the conservative party. Would an engineer be a better prima facie pick for this position?

  98. #99 Chris Davis
    November 27, 2008

    That’s pretty scary, and would maka me wana taka doopa too if it happened here.

    CD

  99. #100 ffrancis
    November 27, 2008

    Jason (# 97), the PM can offer a Cabinet position to any MP or Senator. However, choosing someone not from the governing party is rare for at least two reasons. First, accepting will almost certainly get the chosen one booted unceremoniously out of his/her party. Second, it will cause gnashing of teeth within the PM’s party by those who don’t like to see plums going elsewhere.

    Canadian cabinet members are almost never selected based on their professional or educational suitability for the position. It’s all political: internal party politics dictated by relative power and influence within the governing party, and geographic politics rooted in ensuring each province (or at least region) gets an MP or its weighted number of MPs in Cabinet.

    Reflecting back over the past decade or so, it is not clear to me whether this system produces greater or lesser competence in Cabinet ministers than the US model.

  100. #101 tariqata
    November 27, 2008

    And for those fellow Canadians that supported Elizabeth May…I liked how well-spoken she was, but did it never bother you that she’s studying Theology and is a devout Christian?

    In all honesty, no. I might be happier if she arrived at her values and opinions by another route, but she doesn’t seem to be insisting that everyone believe as she does. As long as she doesn’t and she – and the Green party as a whole – share my beliefs and values, I’ll vote for them.

    Of course, if the new Conservatives manage to get rid of public financing, the Greens are going to be hitting me up for money far more often than they do now. Might have to give up my party membership just to get some quiet in the evenings. http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/544388

  101. #102 Metro
    November 27, 2008

    Not to worry, Pee-Zed :-)

    Harper is certainly anti-science, to be sure. He replaced the government’s Science Advisor with a panel of industry wonks and idealogues a while ago.

    But the Harper minority is a historical quirk caused not by its own successes in capturing the imagination of the populace, but by the failure of the Liberal party, primarily, to do so.

    It’s a struggle to keep him from disassembling the most important bits of the country, but I believe the spanking they received last time around may galvanize the Opposition into, you know, actually opposing.

    If we can stave off the worst of it, Harper will eventually return to Calgary, and to the obscurity his secretiveness and deviousness would lead one to believe he craves.

  102. #103 Cory Albrecht
    November 27, 2008

    SockPuppet said:

    Goodyear's riding (district for you yanks), Cambridge, encompasses Kitchener/Waterloo.

    No, I think you need to go look at the riding maps again. Goodyear’s riding of Cambridge does *not* encompass Kitchener and Waterloo. Kitchener is split between the Kitchner Centre and Kitchener-Connestoga ridings, and Waterloo is in it’s own riding.

  103. #104 Burt Humburg
    November 28, 2008

    Can we really draw a conclusion that someone is a quack based on nothing more than the fact that he/she is a chiropractor and an acupuncturist? My experience has been that chiropracty is very effective for (especially acute) musculoskeletal pain syndromes and there are aspects of acupuncture that have been assimilated into the borg of allopathic medicine. (In other words, there’s evidence to support its clinical use, I think, although I’d defer to the good Dr. Orac on the specifics of that issue.)

    He may very well be a quack, but that point needs to be argued on other grounds. For my money, as long as a chiropractor isn’t actively trying to sabotage allopathic medical care (as in, “You don’t need the operation for your gallstones; just keep coming and getting adjustements”) and they are limiting their activities to adjuctive therapy (or for limited forms of musculoskeletal pain, definitive therapy), I think chiropracty and accupuncture are perfectly fine practices in which to engage.

    Again, I’m deferring to Orac for the particulars, but that’s my $(1/50).

    BCH

  104. #105 Paul
    November 28, 2008

    Everyone seems to be going off the deep end over nothing here. Goodyear has not been appointed Minister of Science and Technology. He has been appointed Minister of State of science and technology. It is a very different thing. A Minister of State is a junior cabinet position with little or no responsibility. This is mostly just Harper throwing one of his cronies a bone. The guy gets a bigger office, a better budget, and a car and driver, but no actual power in the government. His job now is to be not seen and not heard.

  105. #106 Doug the Primate
    November 28, 2008

    PZ, it might be worthwhile to open a new thread on chiropractic, as this one has split into both that topic and the problems Canada faces from our vicious political ferret Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada.

    Yesterday, in response to the global financial crisis, in the House of Commons his Finance Minister issued an economic update. It said nothing about the real problem. Instead, among other things, Harper announced he was going to eliminate all public funding of political parties (currently $1.95 per popular vote), knowing very well that this would destroy every other Party’s ability to campaign. Moreoevr, while his is a minority Parliament, he is insisting that Monday’s vote on the “update” will be deemed a vote of confidence in his govt. This means that he is inviting his political opposition to slit its own throat, because normally a defeated vote of confidence means the sitting Govt falls, and a new election is to be called. But we just got over an election that he called prematurely, so the Liberals and New Democrats are talking about a coalition Govt, and the Governor-General has the costitutional authority to accept such a proposal and to instal a replacement Govt that will have the confidence of the House. More on Monday when the matter comes to a head.

    Meanwhile, on the chiropractic front, I’m astonished that so many Pharyngulites have simply pronounced that chiro is quakery without providing reasons or evidence. I agree with the above commnenter that Canadian Chiro is different. Given the nature of our health care system up here, there is no opposition among chiros to vaccination, for instance; and even the Flexner Report of 1910 on the state of medical education in N.America did not pronounce against chiro in its core practice of musculo-skeletal adjustment for the relief of specific sorts of pain (but not such things as gout, asthma, or broken bones, etc).

    DP

  106. #107 anon
    November 29, 2008

    Dear PZ

    We can’t do anything. We don’t have enogh people who vote, let alone who know enough to care about stuff to make a difference. In the last election I voted with my $1.95, meaning I voted hoping that the party I voted for would get enough money to reach a 5% threshold, which is when money goes to a political party and allows them to have an operating budget of sorts. The Conservatives are trying to cut this in the name of saving money because of hard times. (Which is why the other parties are freaking out, among other things.) Other than this public money, in Canada only private, individual donations are allowed,not corporate or union and that has its advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage is the only party who can open up individual wallets with any results is the Conservative party, mostly because of their Reform roots. The other parties have not yet adapted to the new reality, so sadly we got to see lots of Tory yuck before the election. As well, the tories do as they will, even though if the numbers I am remembering are correct, they only have about 20% of the actual population’s vote. So…. they who are stupid and short sighted win, and nobody has enough money or ingenuity to counter them. Our “national” magazine, Macleans, has become a right wing nutjob freakshow, (so I don’t get it any more- I still read it, but won’t pay for it- and only so I can counter the stupidity in my own circle of influence) and one of our main newspaper chains has a policy of editorializing for the CHAIN as opposed to the cities, so that limits the conversations we could and should be having somewhat.

    Living in Alberta is even more stupid. That is the birthplace of Harper, and Albertans are the least politically involved people EVAH. Those that vote tend to be rich or wanting the “Alberta Advantage” and deny that the oilsands could be bad for the environment, OR really do not care as long as they are making money.

    We have a history of suppressing doctors who speak out on helath/science issues- look up on CBC about Dirty Oil, and Dr. John O’Connor- and the Alberta government and Cancer Board who promised a journal worthy study on the issue of cancer Nad Fort Chip basically screwed that community over just recently, after the Medical Association charged that the doctor was freaking people out and causing fear. We have lost four prominent public health doctors in Alberta just this summer, because our government does not want to admit that syphylis is a PUBLIC health issue and not just limited to oil workers and prostitutes, and the list goes on.

    We are not friends of science. I could go on and on and on, but please PZ- never think that Canada or Canadians are interested too much in science. Or are willing or able to defend it.

  107. #108 Retired Catholic
    November 29, 2008

    As devoted a skeptic as I am, I have had successful treatment of musculo-skeletal injuries from Chiropractors and Accupuncturists. I don’t buy all the holistic mumbo jumbo, but they do have their uses.

  108. #109 Deanna
    November 30, 2008

    @ anon #107

    Harper was born in Ontario, not Alberta, though it’s pretty clear that his adopted home was a better fit for him ideologically.

    The fiscal update also includes a three-year ban on strikes by unions – no way the NDP or the Bloc could support that, let alone lose the public campaign financing. It’ll be very interesting to see whether we can pull off a coalition, given that it will need Bloc support to function. Especially considering the current economic situation.

    On the chiropractic front, I’ve found Canadian chiropractors very good at making my back pain go away. And the headaches I used to get as well. When I was 18, my xrays showed that one hip was 5 centimeters higher than the other due to back injuries, and chiropractors and their prescribed exercises have lessened that considerably (difference now down to less than 1 centimeter and it’s very rare for me to have pain there now). I have heard of some that talk about solving allergies and digestive problems – and I agree that is quackery. I’ve also never heard any chiros be anti-vaccination. In fact, I’ve only spoken with 1 Canadian anti-vaccinator, which was a very odd conversation, given that she seemed sane on every other subject.

  109. #110 duckdog
    November 30, 2008

    It gets worse… First round of voting is over on the best canadian sci/tech blog and the ID proponent “Post-Darwinist” is in the top 5. PZ – I think a poll crash is in order on this one!!!

  110. #111 toph
    March 2, 2009

    You totally called it! Look what happened last week!

    The screaming erupted last Wednesday afternoon, just down the street from Parliament Hill, in the offices of a Conservative cabinet minister.

    Two officials with Canadian Association of University Teachers sat on one side of a boardroom table and on the other sat Gary Goodyear, Minister of Science and Technology, his policy adviser Wesley Moore and a civil servant ready to take notes.

    CAUT, a lobby group that represents 65,000 staff at 121 colleges and universities, had planned to raise concerns over the government?s handling of research funding. But within moments, it became clear they wouldn?t get very far.

    ?The minister was very angry,? said David Robinson, associate executive director of CAUT. ?He was raising his voice and pointing his finger ? He said everyone loves their [federal budget] and we said, ?A lot of our members don?t love it?? and he said, ?That?s because you?re lying to them, misleading them.??

    The talks, Mr. Robinson said, went from bad to worse. In 15 years on the job, he ?never had a meeting like that.?

    Mr. Goodyear agrees. ?I, too, have never had a meeting like that. It was a unique experience and one I don?t care to repeat.? [...]

    They had barely begun to state their case, Mr. Robinson said, when the minister accused them of twisting facts.

    When CAUT staff said the Conservatives have a spotty record on science and noted they abolished the office of the national science adviser, Mr. Robinson said, the minister?s assistant screamed at them to shut up.

    ?Then the minister said, ?You?ve burned all your bridges with us!? and they stormed out.

    ?In all the meetings I?ve been in like this, I?ve never been shouted at and told to shut up,? Mr. Robinson said. The civil servant who escorted them to the elevator suggested it would not even be a good idea to return to the minister?s office to collect their coats, he said. Instead, she retrieved them.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090302.wresearch02/BNStory/National/home

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