This is a brief chronology of the current Conservative Canadian government's long campaign to undermine evidence-based scientific, environmental and technical decision-making. It is a government that is beholden to big business, particularly big oil, and that makes every attempt to shape public policy to that end. It is a government that fundamentally doesn't believe in science. It is a government that is more interested in keeping its corporate masters happy than in protecting the environment.
As is occasionally my habit, I have pulled together a chronology of sorts. It is a chronology of all the various cuts, insults, muzzlings and cancellations that I've been able to dig up. Each of them represents a single shot in the Canadian Conservative war on science. It should be noted that not every item in this chronology, if taken in isolation, is necessarily the end of the world. It's the accumulated evidence that is so damning.
Most of the items come from various links I've saved over the years as well as various other media articles I've dug up over the last week or so. This series at The Huffington Post has been particularly useful as has this article at the Wastershed Sentinal.
A long list of various environmental programs that the Harper government has discontinued or slashed funding to is here. I haven't found individual media stories about all of them, so they aren't in the list below. If you can help me find stories about some of those programs, etc, please let me know. As well, some stories are treated multiple times, with perhaps an initial story telling the big picture or introducing a large series of cuts and later stories fleshing out details.
Update 2013.05.27: Undated list of science or environmental libraries closed is here: Natural Resources Canada is set to close six of fourteen libraries in 2012-2013, Parks Canada will consolidate 5 libraries into one, Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Undated list of women's programs cut since 2006, including many science or health-related, including: Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health
- Apr 2006. One Tonne Challenge funding stopped
- Apr 2006. Tories muzzle environmental scientist Mark Tushingham, told not to appear to promote his novel about climate change (More info: 1.)
- May 2006. Environmental Groups Call on Ambrose to Resign as Chair of International Kyoto Negotiations
- Oct 2006. Circumpolar ambassador job axed
- Oct 2006. Canadian Ambassador for the Environment (Karen Kraft Sloan) position abolished (More info: 1.)
- Jan 2008. Office of National Science Adviser phased out
- Jan 2008. Nuclear safety watchdog head fired for 'lack of leadership'
- Jan 2008. Nuclear safety watchdog Linda Keen head fired for 'lack of leadership' in blatant example of political interference (More info: 1, 2.)
- Jan 2008. The Advisory Council on Science and Technology, the Council of Science and Technology Advisors, and the Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee consolidated into the Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC), which is housed within Industry Canada, is more concerned with business innovation and less independent that former organizations, including the Office of the National Science Advisor. (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Jun 2008. 16 Canadian lakes are slated to be officially but quietly "reclassified" as toxic dump sites for mines
- Jun 2008. It's the Beginning of the End for Federal Science: Expert Panel on Lab Transfers/divestment (and here)
- Oct 2008. Canada by 6 environmental groups for Failure to Protect Killer Whale Habitat. Groups are: the David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, Greenpeace Canada, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Raincoast Conservation Society and the Wilderness Committee (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
- Mar 2009. Navigable Waters Protection Act to remove objective definition of navigable and replace it with unaccountable Ministerial discretion (and here)
- Oct 2009. Document delivery outsourced at The Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (national science library)
- Feb 2010. Layoffs at The Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information
- Mar 2010. Information restrictions brought in by government have severely restricted the media's access to government researchers
- Mar 2010. Interview approval rules introduced in at Environment Canada 2007 have lead to substantially reduced requests, especially about climate change coverage.
- Jun 2010. Statistics Canada discontinues the mandatory long form census
- Jul 2010. AIDS funding announcement insufficient and disappointing, out of step with international community
- Jul 2010. After 18 months of deliberation and listening to expert testimony, the Standing Committee on Environment announced it will scuttle its own investigation of water pollution from the tar sands (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
- Aug 2010. Cuts to Environment Canada weather-service programs have compromised the government's ability to assess climate change and left it with a "profoundly disturbing" quality of information in its data network.
- Sep 2010. The prestigious international science journal Nature writes about the muzzling of Canadian scientists.
- Mar 2011. NRC Press privatized to Canadian Science Publishing, removing Open Access to many articles
- Mar 2011. NSERC reduces funding for basic research
- Mar 2011. Tri-Council reallocates funds from discovery to industry research
- May 2011. National Science Agency Axes Food Research including nine experimental farms such as the one in Frelighsburg, Quebec
- Jun 2011. Blocks asbestos from hazardous chemicals list at UN summit
- Jun 2011. 28 term scientists laid off at Environment Canada in Downsview
- Jul 2011. Budget cuts to Climate Change and Clean Air, Substance and Waste Management, Weather and Environmental Services, Water Resources and Internal Services, Action Plan on Clean Water, the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, Chemicals Management Plan, the Clean Air Agenda, the Air Quality Health Index, Species at Risk Program
- Jul 2011. NSERC Discovery Grants reduced
- Aug 2011. DFO scientist Kristi Miller says that the Privy Council prevented her from talking to the media about her research into the 2009 sockeye salmon collapse in B.C.
- Sep 2011. Arctic ozone monitoring & research unit & databases shut down as well as 40 year archive of ice cores
- Oct 2011. Canadian Environmental Network closes
- Oct 2011. Scientist David Tarasick speaks out after finding ‘record’ ozone hole over Canadian Arctic
- Dec 2011. Withdraw from the Kyoto Accord
- Jan 2012. Natural Resources Minister accuses foreign radical environmentalists of hijacking the system
- Feb 2012. Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) loses funding (later partial reprieve)
- Feb 2012. Closure of Kitsilano Coast Guard station
- Feb 2012. Canada threatens trade war with EU over tar sands, over the bloc's plan to label oil from Alberta's vast tar sands as highly polluting
- Feb 2012. Cuts to the ozone monitoring program are affecting ability to monitor air quality and ozone depletion, Canada is jeopardizing the scientific community's ability to monitor for holes in the ozone, especially over the Arctic
- Mar 2012. Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences closes
- Mar 2012. Gutting the Fisheries Act
- Apr 2012. Cereal Research Centre cut
- Apr 2012. Muzzling of scientists at international conferences
- Apr 2012. Repeal of Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, download to provinces
- Apr 2012. Sustainable Water Management Division cut
- Apr 2012. Transport Canada Aircraft Services cut
- Apr 2012. The Centre for Plant Health relocated (later reprieve)
- Apr 2012. Scientists monitored at polar conference
- Apr 2012. National Aboriginal Health Organization’s funding cut
- Apr 2012. Parks Canada cuts affect four national marine conservation areas
- Apr 2012. 47 scientists and researchers at the NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics laid off in Winnipeg and Calgary.
- Apr 2012. 2012 Budget cuts Women's Health Contribution Program, Canadian Women’s Health Network, National Network on Environments and Women’s Health, Federal Tobacco Control Strategy
- Apr 2012. 2012 Budget cuts Centre of Excellence at B.C. Children’s and Women’s hospitals in Vancouver, Quebec Network of Action for Women’s Health, Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence
- Apr 2012. Budget cuts affect Canadian space programs such as RADARSAT (More info: 1, 2.)
- May 2012. 1000 jobs cut at Department of Fisheries and Oceans (details follow)
- May 2012. Ocean Contaminants & Marine Toxicology Program axed.
- May 2012. Centre for Offshore Oil & Gas Energy Research cut
May 2012. Freshwater Institute cut
- May 2012. Centre for Off-shore Oil, Gas, and Energy Research cut
- May 2012. Maurice-Lamontagne Institute cut
- May 2012. Smokestacks Emissions Monitoring Team cut
- May 2012. Cuts to NSERC Discovery, Major Resources Support and Research Tools and Instruments programs
- May 2012. Mersey Biodiversity Centre slated for closure
- May 2012. Transport Canada library closed
- May 2012. Environment minister Peter Kent accuses environmental charities 'laundering' foreign funds
- May 2012. Killer whale expert out of work as Ottawa cuts ocean-pollution monitoring positions
- May 2012. NSERC cuts to Canadian Neutron Beam Centre
- May 2012. List of cuts to NSERC MRS program
- May 2012. Limiting fish protection to “serious harm” is a serious problem, benefits oil & gas industry
- Jun 2012. Eliminate Experimental Lakes Area program
- Jun 2012. Addictions Research Centre cut
- Jun 2012. When asked if he believes in evolution, Minister of Science and Technology refuses to answer question; suggests MP who asked the question has brain damage and here
- Jun 2012. Canada falls out of top fifty in global freedom of information rankings with obvious implications for access to scientific, environmental and public health information
- Jul 2012. Arctic Institute of North America’s Kluane Research Station cut
- Aug 2012. Major Resources Support (MRS) Program Moratorium impacts National High Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Centre, the Canadian Centre for Isotopic Microanalysis and the Canadian Charged Particle Accelerator Consortium and others
- Aug 2012. Tories have cancelled almost 600 environmental assessments in Ontario
- Sep 2012. Revamp Species-at-Risk act
- Oct 2012. DFO Habitat Management Program cut
- Oct 2012. Declining grant success rate for Post Doctoral Fellows
- Oct 2012. Ozone science group falls victim to government cuts
- Oct 2012. Job cuts at NRC
- Oct 2012. Navigable Waters Protection Act changed to weaken environmental oversight, changes sought by pipeline industry
- Nov 2012. Bill C-45 weakens environmental laws and democracy, such as Navigable Waters Protection Act
- Nov 2012. Salmon research lab run by Frederick Kibenge at the Atlantic Veterinary College-University of Prince Edward Island targeted
- Nov 2012. Navigable Waters Protection Act altered to give developers more freedom to build around most Canadian rivers and lakes without obtaining permission from the federal government
- Nov 2012. Environment Canada scientists Derek Muir and Jane Kirk discouraged from commenting on oilsands contaminant study
- Dec 2012. Eliminating the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission
- Jan 2013. Very long list of scientist muzzlings from Democracy Watch
- Jan 2013. Canadian Space Agency battered by budget cuts, Steve MacLean leaves, sweeping changes expected
- Jan 2013. Oil & Gas Industry thanks government for changing a series of environmental laws to advance "both economic growth and environmental performance."
- Jan 2013. Leona Aglukkaq, MP for Nunavut and Minister for the Arctic Council, prioritizes resource development in her vision for the North's potential rather than issues such as food security, community health or engaging youth. (and here)
- Jan 2013. Canada's space agency spirals towards Code Red: CSA battered by funding cuts, criticism from government, and loss of leader
- Feb 2013. Restrict how researchers can share data
- Feb 2013. Department of Fisheries & Oceans muzzles its scientists
- Feb 2013. Information commissioner investigates ‘Muzzling’ of federal scientists, called a threat to democracy
- Feb 2013. Prairies Regional Office: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency closes
- Feb 2013. US Scientist Andreas Muenchow Caught in Canadian Muzzle, fears he won't be allowed to publish about a joint US/Canada project (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Mar 2013. Muzzling of scientists
- Mar 2013. Experimental Lakes Area environmental research project loses funding
- Mar 2013. The government votes against public science, basic research and the free and open exchange of scientific information are essential to evidence-based policy-making
- Mar 2013. $100 million cut from Department of Fisheries & Oceans over three years
- Mar 2013. National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy closes
- Mar 2013. Centralizing, Slashing Federal Web Info
- Mar 2013. Quit UN anti-drought convention
- Mar 2013. Unnecessarily sabotaging ongoing research at the Experimental Lakes Area and deliberately robbing international and domestic scientist of the 2013 field season
- Mar 2013. Environment Canada/Peter Kent give mixed messages to First Nations and oil industry about reform of conservation laws
- Mar 1013. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says that Canadian oil imports are greenest option for US, as rationale for Keystone XL support
- Mar 2013. Burrard Inlet Environmental Action Program and the Fraser River Estuary Management Program (BIEAP-FREMP) closing
- Mar 2013. 2013 Budget cuts: Health Canada’s Controlled Substances and Tobacco Program, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Drug Treatment Funding Program, Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund, Public Health Agency of Canada, Patented Medicines Prices Review Board
- Mar 2013. ELA research programs being prematurely wound down
- Mar 2013. Federal Government move to privatize management of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
- Apr 2013. Create barrier to public participation in pipeline hearings
- Apr 2013. Environment Canada name removed from its weather website, replaced with government promotional links
- Apr 2013.Closure of Department of Fisheries & Oceans libraries
- Apr 2013. Prime Minister & cabinet take over power to dictate collective bargaining and terms for other salaries and working conditions at the CBC and three other cultural or scientific Crown corporations
- Apr 2013. Scientist at National Water Research Institute in Saskatoon muzzled
- Apr 2013. Minister blames David Suzuki, Environmental Groups To Blame For Pipeline Opposition
- Apr 2013. Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver condemns climatologist James Hansen, says he should be 'ashamed' of his 'exaggerated rhetoric' on exploitation of tar sands (and here)
- Apr 2013. Conservative MP Ryan Leaf has been peddling what researchers describe as “bogus” information on polar bears and citing U.S. climate skeptics as experts on the iconic creatures
- Apr 2013. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told the editorial board of Montreal’s La Presse newspaper that “people aren’t as worried as they were before about global warming of two degrees.”
- Apr 2013. Agroforestry Development Centre wound down (and here)
- Apr 2013. Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration with numerous environmental benefits closed
- Apr 2013. Amends list of industrial projects requiring environmental reviews
- Apr 2013. Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear remarks that “no government in the history of this country has supported science as much as this government has.”
- Apr 2013. Kenora MP Greg Rickford hides from constituents rather than talk about ELA closure
- Apr 2013. Case study of differences between communicating on science with a government department in Canada vs the US finds Canada much weaker
- May 2013. Minister of the Environment Peter Kent refuses to correct Conservative MP's crackpot views on polar bears
- May 2013. Minister of Natural Resources insults oil sands critics
- May 2013. National Research Council overhauled to do business-friendly research rather than basic science
- May 2013. Hundreds of jobs cut at Agriculture Canada
- May 2013. Agriculture Canada cuts including Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, Semi-Arid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre and various centres for beef and dairy research
- May 2013. Free-speech report takes aim at Harper government's 'culture of secrecy'
- May 2013. Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre budget reduced by a third
- May 2013. Science, Technology and Innovation Council finds that Canada losing ground in global science race
- May 2013. Astronaut MP Garneau snubbed at museum opening of Canadarm exhibit
- May 2013. Government identifies PR challenge of promoting both energy efficiency & green programs at the same time as massively supporting oil & gas industry
- May 2013. Prime Minister Harper tells US Keystone XL pipeline 'needs to go ahead' -- in spite of how bad an idea it is
- May 2013. Canadian Government PR campaign in US targets Keystone XL, including newspaper ads, websites and visit to NY
- May 2013. The federal government removed some oilsands projects from a list of those requiring environmental screenings, after being told in an internal memorandum that this form of industrial development could disturb water sources and harm fish habitat (and here)
- May 2013. Montreal's Biosphere museum's future in doubt
- May 2013. NRC morale is very low
- Jun 2013. Environment Canada convened a ‘secret’ meeting on climate dangers in 2012 but Canadian spy agency, top security officials invited but didn't attend
- Jun 2013. Genome Canada to stress practical results
- Jun 2013. The federal government employs nearly 4,000 communications staff in the public service, an increase of 15.3 per cent since the Conservatives came to power in 2006
- Jun 2013. Centre of the Universe education centre in Saanich closing by summer’s end in bid to pare costs
- Jun 2013. Northern cod threatened by new fisheries rules: A Department of Fisheries and Oceans plan to increase northern cod quotas could devastate the species.
- Jun 2013. Environment Minister Peter Kent fields questions from Conservative colleagues about climate change. He defends the science yet the government does little about it. This gives weight to idea that they are more beholden to industry than science they appear to agree with.
- Jul 2013. Federal government reducing science and tech spending: Science and technology investment down steadily since 2009-10, Statscan says
- Jul 2013. Libraries consolidated (ie. trashed) at Department of Fisheries & Oceans, making it harder to find obscure information
- Jul 2013. Greg Rickford, new Minister of State for Science & Technology, has the ELA in his riding and toed the government line on its fate (and more)
- Jul 2013. Cabinet shuffle continues tradition of poor science knowledge and lack of clout in science-related departments (and here)
- Jul 2013. Minister of State Greg Rickford will also focus on the economy in his new role: "our science and technology has to focus on job creation, economic growth and developing our prosperity"
- Jul 2013. The government included communications strategists in closed-door discussions that led to an estimated $60 million in cuts at Environment Canada in the 2012 federal budget
- Jul 2013. Government maintains an enemies list (and here)
- Aug 2013. Stats Can's cancelled University and College Academic Staff System (UCASS) report no longer provides the policy community in government or universities innovation data
- Aug 2013. Experimental Lakes Area process for handover to private operator, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, begins with final handover in 2014
- Aug 2013. Scientist miffed Tory MP Joyce Bateman takes credit for saving ELA
- Aug 2013. Beaver Lake Cree case reveals flaws in environmental review process
- Aug 2013. Government touted a special funding program for environmental community projects that is seeing its budget reduced, mainly to supposedly eliminate administrative costs.
- Aug 2013. Canada’s Emissions Trends Report 2013, usually out in August, has been delayed and is still not released likely due to Keystone XL context
- Aug 2013. Government supports putting a price on carbon emissions as part of a global climate change strategy yet still harshly criticizes opposition for supporting similar things when it's called a carbon tax
- Aug 2013. Government says some of Canada’s best known environmental groups are doing “significant” policy analysis and research even though it has described them as radical foreign-funded groups trying to wreck the Canadian economy
- Sept 2013. Canadian cuts to scientific research spending are almost as bad as in the US under sequestration
- Sept 2013. PM Harper cuts off questions about muzzling scientists while in New York
- Sept 2013. Is Health Canada bringing measles back by approving ineffective homeopathic remedies?
- Sept 2013. Greg Rickford, Minister of State for Science & Technology, thinks universities vet researchers' work same way his government does
- Oct 2013. Dramatic drop in NRC publications since Conservatives took power.
- Oct 2013. “I was in Oslo, just recently at the climate ch- ah climate conference, ah environment ministers conference, sorry" -- Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq (from here)
- Oct 2013. Stephen Harper’s environment minister casts doubt on climate change
- Oct 2013. Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq turns IPCC report into an opportunity for partisan attacks rather than substantive discussion and action
- Oct 2013. Despite the abundant evidence, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said heroin-assisted treatment for addicts isn't a safe and effective option
- Oct 2013. Canada will use it's position on Arctic Council to push for resource development
- Oct 2013. Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada release The Big Chill: Silencing Public Interest Science (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Oct 2013. Canadian Institute of Health Research cuts grants for in-depth health journalism to focus on social media
- Oct 2013. Drastic cuts to various labs relating to ocean sciences and wildlife make it difficult to get to the bottom of what’s causing drastic decline of beluga populations. (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Oct 2013. The riding association of Greg Rickford, the Environment Minister who oversaw the defunding of the Experimental Lakes Area, sent out a fundraising letter calling the scientists who disagreed with him "radical ideologues." (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Oct 2013. World's largest telescope, the Thirty Meter Telescope or TMT, stalled by Canadian funding woes (More info: 1, 2.)
- Oct 2013. Canadian Scientists Expose Their Government’s Tar Sands Obsession at DC Briefing
- Nov 2013. Center for Global Development ranks Canada's Climate Policy Worst In Developed World, climate Action Network Europe and Germanwatch rank Canada 55 of 57. (More info: 1, 2.)
- Nov 2013. Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, citing her brother the hunter as a source, claims that polar bear populations aren't declining. Scientists say they are. (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Nov 2013. Changes to Canada's fisheries law alarm biologists: Revisions that take effect today remove protections for 80% of endangered freshwater species. (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)
- Nov 2013. The National Energy Board, an independent regulatory agency, coordinated with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the police, and oil companies to spy on environmental groups (More info: 1, 2.)
- Nov 2013. Public Health Agency of Canada blocking information on antibiotic-resistant superbugs infecting thousands of Canadians each year
- Nov 2013. Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq attends her 1st UN climate change conference, Canadian delegation seen as largely irrelevant, even met with derision
- Nov 2013. Canada reveals stance on climate/carbon tax with praise for Australian carbon tax repeal (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Nov 2013. Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development releases report that says that the government ‘has not met key commitments, deadlines and obligations to protect Canada’s natural spaces.’ (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Nov 2013. Council of Canadian Academies report point to lack of national strategy and co-ordination thwarting ocean research, report suggests (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Dec 2013. The Federal Environment Minister set aside a proposal from her department earlier this year to publicly state, in response to the latest IPCC report, that the Harper government recognized scientific evidence that humans were “mostly responsible for climate change” and that it took this threat “seriously.” (More info: 1, 2.)
- Dec 2013. Harper government gave oil and pipeline companies $400M in subsidies to go green & boost their environmental credentials (More info: 1, 2.)
- Dec 2013. Canada’s new emissions rules on hold again, Harper says (More info: 1.)
- Dec 2013. Medical journal (CMAJ) slams Ottawa for cutting off post-trial heroin, breaching international medical ethics standards. (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Dec 2013. Minister of State for Science & Technology Greg Rickford thinks he should be thanked for saving the Experimental Lakes Area (More info: 1.)
- Dec 2013. National Energy Board quietly given authority to assess pipeline damage to fish, formerly with Department of Fisheries & Oceans (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Dec 2013. Ottawa dismantles South Shore hatchery, Mersey Centre for Biodiveristy, after $400K upgrade: Activist warns it could now be 'virtually impossible' to recover salmon stocks (More info: 1.)
- Dec 2013. Environment Canada denied 22 per cent of interview requests with scientists in 2013: Department aims to "improve" how it communicates science (More info: 1.)
- Dec 2013. National Energy Board sidestepping B.C. on Northern Gateway
- Jan 2014. Major consolidation of libraries at The Department of Fisheries & Oceans leaves many branches closed, librarians laid off, collections scattered and haphazardly weeded, important services reduced and potential issues with the Official Languages Act
- Jan 2014. Hamilton loses over 20 top environmental scientists at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters
- Jan 2014. Climate History is Under Attack in Canada via cuts to institutions such as St. Andrews Biological Station, Freshwater Institute Library in Winnipeg, and the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre.
- Jan 2014. The axeman cometh for DFO and Coast Guard? Federal cuts raise serious questions about fish management and offshore enforcement (More info: 1.)
- Jan 2014. Conservative-appointee Canadian Security Intelligence Services Review Committee (SIRC) Chair Chuck Strahl caught lobbying for pipeline company (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)
- Jan 2014. Tory MP Peter Braid's late Christmas gift to environmentalists: The member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo links extreme weather to climate change. Environmentalists surprised, PMO backpedals a bit. (More info: 1, 2.)
- Jan 2014. Main Health Canada Library Closure is Latest Blow to Canada’s Researchers, forcing Health Canada scientists and other to find other ways to get the information they need (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Feb 2014. Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada release Vanishing Science: The Disappearance of Public Interest Science about how "Government Cuts to Science Overwhelmingly Detrimental and Out of Sync with Public’s Priorities" (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)
- Feb 2014. Conservatives eye Arctic reindeer reserve for oil and gas (More info: 1, 2.)
- Feb 2014. Election Budget 2014 fails to hide cuts to Science and Technology (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Feb 2014. U.S. EPA Denied Late Participation in Kinder Morgan Hearings, Exposes Shortcomings of New National Energy Board Project Review/Public Hearings Process
- Feb 2014. Scientist silencing continues for federally-funded research: Federal scientists at annual conference of Fishermen and Scientists Research Society do not have permission to discuss their research
- Feb 2014. Federal study confirms oilsands ponds leaking, Richard Frank, lead scientist in study, not allowed to comment to media and department downplays the findings (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Feb 2014. Federal Government need to do more to fight climate change, finds Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment to the Clerk of the Privy report (More info: 1, 2.)
- Feb 2014. Federal court finds 'enormous systemic problem' in enforcement of Species at Risk Act (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)
- Feb 2014. Fisheries minister Gail Shea ignored advice from own scientists about the reopening of commercial herring roe fisheries on First Nations' territories in British Columbia (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Feb 2014. Sixty-three per cent of employees believe National Research Council management are failing to make the right decisions about restructuring into a concierge service. (More info: 1.)
- Feb 2014. Revenue Canada audits of environmental charities linked to position on oilsands, supposedly for crossing line from education into political advocacy. (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Feb 2014. Former Conservative Prime Minister Joe Clark says that Prime Minister Harper should share blame for Keystone delays due to the ill will generated by constant attacks on environmentalists (More info: 1, 2.)
- Feb 2014. New science policy consultation document/report Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation is more focused on business and innovation rather than supporting science in the public interest. (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
- Mar 2014. Aboriginal rights a threat to Canada's resource agenda, documents reveal: Canadian government closely monitoring how legal rulings and aboriginal protest pose an increasing ‘risk’ for multi-billion dollar oil and mining plans
- Mar 2014. Federal government has slashed funding for ParticipACTION, knocking the wind out of the organization that promotes fitness and healthy living — a message obesity experts say is more important than ever (More info: 1, 2.)
- Mar 2014. Environment Canada braces for cuts to climate programs
- Mar 2014. New natural resources minister Greg Rickford invested in hedge fund with energy holdings
- Mar 2014. Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade no longer has an environmental policy capacity with respect to numerous multilateral chemical conventions (More info: 1.)
- Mar 2014. Department of Fisheries and Oceans ‘fudging the numbers,’ court finds; bars commercial fishery off Vancouver Island (More info: 1, 2.)
- Apr 2014. North Pacific humpback whales losing 'threatened' status amid Northern Gateway concerns (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)
- Apr 2014. World famous research site the Experimental Lakes Area is reduced to crowdsourcing research funding on Indiegogo. (More info: 1, 2.)
- Apr 2014. Digital Canada 150 report is lazy and outdated and not offering much new to science.
- Apr 2014. Fisheries department response to salmon decline report remains secret: Department prepared report as a response to Cohen Commission on Fraser River sockeye, and was then ignored by political leadership (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- May 2014. Government Cuts Leaving Forests Unwatched, Say Former Federal Scientists
- May 2014. The Atmospheric-Optics Laboratory at Dalhousie University closed
- May 2014. Government’s weather forecasters shouldn’t discuss climate change, says Environment Canada (More info: 1.)
- May 2014. Muzzling allegations are “absolutely ridiculous” says Canadian environment minister
- May 2014. Science and technology expenditures by federal departments and agencies are expected to decline 5.4% from the previous fiscal year to $10.3 billion dollars in 2014/2015. (More info: 1.)
- May 2014. Reporters access to speakers, etc, at government's Saving Every Woman, Every Child maternal health summit is severely restricted by communications flacks (More info: 1.)
- May 2014. Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford, whose announcement that Canada’s mining sector is “a leader in transparency, accountability and good governance” stood in stark contrast with reports of human rights violations carried out overseas by Canadian extractive corporations.
- Jun 2014. Feds deny NDP request for independent science advisor position, citing STIC as best way for government to receive science advice. STIC is under Industry Canada and only provides confidential advice (More info: 1, 2.)
- Jun 2014. New Parks Canada policy limits information by directing all request via high-ranking beaurocrats (More info: 1.)
- Jun 2014. Government refuses to answer questions about new study concluding that deposits of toxic mercury were forming a bull’s eye around oilsands operations in Alberta
- Jun 2014. Government of Canada Accepts Recommendation to Impose 209 Conditions on Northern Gateway Proposal, effectively approving project. Most of the conditions are actually quite basic or already met (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Jun 2014. In a TV interview, Stephen Harper chides Canadians for not listening to scientific advice -- on vaccines (More info: 1.)
- Jun 2014. Stephen Harper says Canada not avoiding action on climate change and further that no country will act on climate change if jobs and the economy are at stake. (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Jun 2014. Dear Prime Minister: we 300 scientists find Northern Gateway review flawed: On the eve of Ottawa's decision on Northern Gateway pipeline, 300 scientists say a recent federal review of the project was deeply flawed. (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Jun 2014. According to report released by Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canada has been “dragging its heels” on commitments to create marine protected areas and ranks last on the list of countries with the longest coastlines in terms of the amount of ocean where human activity has been restricted to preserve biodiversity (More info: 1, 2.)
- Jun 2014. Natural Resources Canada quietly releases the Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation report which paints a stark picture of the impacts of climate change on Canada in terms of the environment, health, and the economy, yet it is business as usual for the government (More info: 1.)
- Aug 2014. Respected biologist John Smol accused of being biased. (More info, including refutation of bias from scholarly society: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Aug 2014. The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada all refuse to participate in Health Canada drug awareness campaign due to over-politicization of issue by the government (More info: 1, 2.)
- Aug 2014. New Federal Conservation Plan missing many important elements such as focusing on non-urban areas and plans to work with important partners. (More info: 1.)
- Aug 2014. During his annual visit to the arctic, Prime Minister talks Franklin, arctic research but fails to mention climate change, which is the biggest issue in the north (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Aug 2014. Harper government asks public servants to delete emails which have "no business value" raising red flags with union representing government professionals and scientists concerned with muzzling. (More info: 1, 2.)
- Aug 2014. Public health officials across Canada so starved of census data that they pay for local info of their own
- Aug 2014. Ottawa safe injection site could work—if it overcomes ideology
- Aug 2014. Federal government puts polar briefings on ice: Newly released federal documents show Tories have been thwarting Leah Braithwaite and other scientists' efforts to keep Canadians informed on Arctic ice levels (More info: 1.)
- Aug 2014. Queens University scientist John Smol accused in internal Natural Resources Canada memo of being biased and talking too much about his oil sands research (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Aug 2014. Doctors, scientists warn CIHR plans quiet cut to drug-trial funding
- Sep 2014. Canada leads world in forest decline, oil sands areas hard hit. Federal Government minimizes problem & has no will to slow deforestation (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
- Sep 2014. Canada's battle with scientists plays out during Olympic torch relay: Athlete chosen for honour instead of member of Arctic Council who were invited by Russia and who other nations sent.
- Sep 2014. Energy East oil terminal threatens belugas: federal scientists were not consulted on the project even though they had raised concerns before.
- Sep 2014. TransCanada shareholder to head SIRC investigation into CSIS spying on pipeline opponents
- Sep 2014. North-South Institute is closing due to Federal cuts. It studies areas such as energy and natural resources, the private sector’s role in development, maternal health and open data for transparency in the foreign aid. (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Sep 2014. Canada Science and Technology Museum closes until 2015 due to mould, shoddy upkeep (More info: 1)
- Sep 2014. Harper obsessed with Franklin Expedition and finding the boat but neglects other areas in Park Canada
- Sep 2014. FIPA trade deal with China could force Canada to keep weak environmental laws (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Sep 2014. Parliamentary secretary to the Minister of the Environment Colin Carrie Says Tory Government Is 'A World Leader' On Climate Change
- Sep 2014. Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq's UN climate speech doesn't mention oil and gas emissions
- Sep 2014. Clean Energy Canada says that Canada missing out on green energy revolution due to lack of government interest and investment in green technologies vs. oil & gas (More info: 1, 2.)
- Sep 2014. Prominent Canadian Academics Call Out Canada’s “Sustainability Deficit” Before Climate Summit (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Sep 2014. Federal government didn't fill either Chief Public Health Officer job or head of National Microbiology Lab after more than 15 months possibly because no one wants to work for controlling Harper government. (More info: 1.)
- Sep 2014. Federal government admits to tracking hundreds of public demonstrations and protests, including environmental protests (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Sep 2014. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver tries to tell Nova Scotia what to do about fracking. (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Sep 2014. The Canadian Government Needs to Recognize the Value of the Canadian Space Sector and Invest Accordingly
- Sep 2014. International Institute for Sustainable Development says Canada's new rules to control carbon pollution from coal plants will have a "negligible effect" on greenhouse gas emissions for at least the next 15 years (More info: 1.)
- Sep 2014. Environment Minister in Stephen Harper’s government changes topic after NDP asks about climate rules (More info: 1.)
- Sep 2014. Committee on pollution quietly silenced.
- Sep 2014. RCMP warns environmental extremism a rising threat to energy sector (More info: 1, 2.)
- Sep 2014. Info on defective drugs kept hidden from Canadians, More info from USFDA while Health Canada keeps Canadians in the dark (More info: 1, 2.)
- Sep 2014. Request to interview federal scientist Max Bothwell about "rock snot" sparks 110 pages of government emails (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Sep 2014. As hundreds of thousands march in the street, Harper takes a pass on NY climate summit, opting for a invited dinner instead. (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
- Sep 2014. Canadian government declines interviews on oilsands health impacts (More info: 1.)
- Sep 2014. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has set aside $22.7 million for an advertising blitz this year to promote oil and Canada's other natural resources in the United States, Europe and Asia (More info: 1.)
- Sep 2014. Even Brian Mulroney thinks Stephen Harper should make a pristine environment a higher priority
- Sep 2014. Canada Singled Out in International Report by French National Trade Union of Scientific Researchers on Endangered Science for budget cuts, muzzling and for a focus on applied, commercialized science rather than basic research (More info: 1.)
- Sep 2014. Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has a list of things it wants the government to do and has been working with Environment Canada on the list for some time, especially changes to the Species at Risk Act.
- Sep 2014. CSIS trying to narrow the scope of an inquiry into whether they overstepped the law while eyeing environmental activists. (More info: 1.)
- Oct 2014. Canadian Ambassador Ross Hornby tried to lobby France on behalf of the oil sands industry but France refused to be persuaded
- Oct 2014. Environment Commissioner slams Federal Government for problems with arctic mapping, falling further behind on emissions reductions target (among other things). (Full report here. Other stories: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Oct 2014. Evidence for Democracy releases damning report detailing Federal Government muzzling of scientists. (Media stories here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
- Oct 2014. Federal Government cancels key industry and environmental group meeting intended to save species at risk – no rationale given (Media story: 1.)
- Oct 2014. Federal Government play politics by banning Chinese and Russian delegates from space conference to look "tough" on Russia and China (More info: 1, 2.)
- Oct 2014. Leona Aglukkaq is silent on altered evidence in frog memo which could threaten development in La Prairie, QC
- Oct 2014. Oil and gas emissions can create ‘extreme’ ozone pollution, study finds. But Environment Canada scientist that participated in the study is unavailable for comment.
- Oct 2014. Revenue Canada targets birdwatching group for tax audit because of political activity; they complained to ministers about government approved pesticide
- Oct 2014. The only French-Language Department of Fisheries & Oceans closes
- Oct 2014. Diluting Fisheries Act to further fish farming, reducing environmental protection from aquaculture activities (More info: 1, 2, 3.)
- Oct 2014. Harper and Quebec announce plans for petrolium resource exploitation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the face of opposition from environmental, fishing, tourism and First Nation groups (More info: 1, 2.)
- Oct 2014. The Algonquin Wildlife Research Station (AWRS) is forced to use crowdfunding to try and raise money for research
- Oct 2014. Federal government report on deforestation by oil, gas industry not out until after next election
- Oct 2014. In an open letter, The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada and the Union of Concerned Scientists of the United States of American demand the return of scientific freedom in Canada. (More info: 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- Oct 2014. Report by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe lists Canada among the world's worst at fighting climate change at no. 58. (More info: 1.)
- Oct 2014. Government uses disaster at the Experimental Lakes Area as an example of how they've improved the Fisheries Act.
This list is no doubt incomplete. There may also be link errors or duplications.
In particular, if you have updates on any of the stories, including reversals or reprieves, I want to hear those too.
Please feel free to make suggestions and corrections in the comments or to me at jdupuis at yorku dot ca.
Update 2013.05.23. I've noticed the large number of posts linking to this one and even a few basically republishing my list, links and all. Since a number of people seem to be finding the spreading of the information in this post useful, please consider it CC0. To the extent possible under law, I am waiving all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this post, The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment. This work is published from Canada.
Update 2013.05.27. Over thirty new items added to the list. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions either in the comments or via email.
Additionally, two quick points.
First, as to why this extended series of posts is named the way it is. I am mindful that this blog is hosted on a US-based site so my main aim is to make "The Canadian War on Science" both catchy and mostly meaningful to a broad audience. In that spirit, something like "The Canadian Conservative Government's War on ..." at least initially seemed to me to be too wordy. It's also fairly common parlance to refer to the government of a foreign country, no matter the internal situation, just by that country's name. When I say that "France is doing this" or "Japan is doing that," I of course mean the French or Japanese governments. It's a kind of shorthand, if you will, that makes more sense on a non-Canadian site where I'm talking about Canada. So, I'm sort of accepting that while this usage will be somewhat annoying to Canadians, it's both a useful shorthand and the precedent I've set for myself.
Second, on scope. I've mostly stuck to the natural sciences, environment and some public health topics here rather than looking more broadly at how the Conservative government treats the humanities, social sciences, memory and heritage institutions and just generally any sort of evidence-based policy- or decision-making. That's purely for reasons of focus and time. It was quite time-consuming to compile this list initially so I was quite aware of just getting it finished. I've also received a huge number of suggestions both in the comments and by email and checking and adding those has also been a significant task. While I have in the past blogged about the challenges at, say, Library and Archives Canada, I decided that that would be out of focus for the purposes of this list. I would definitely encourage anyone out there to tackle creating a broader or a differently focused one. I have put this list under a CC0 licences so please feel free to take what I've done as a starting point.
Update 2013.10.06. Fifty-two new items added to the list, as detailed here. If I've missed anything or there are any errors or if I've duplicated some items, please let me know.
Update 2014.10.24. Update with 140 new items, as detailed here. Please let me know if there are any errors or omissions.
Wow. Impressive list. I searched for some of the things I was familiar with (Kluane, PEARL, DFO) and you have them already listed (just thought of the CBC one, and yep, you have that too).
There was something about muzzling of librarians that I didn't see on your list, but perhaps that is covered within one of the articles. And Stats Canada has undergone some drastic cuts, and another round is supposed to be going on right about now (May 2013).
I'm bookmarking this article for reference. Thank you for bringing it together into one place. As I remember other things I'll check back and see if you have them listed already.
Thanks for putting this together.
How about Harper's April 2013 statement impugning those who would "commit sociology"? God forbid that we should try to understand the causes of anything!
All researchers were fired at the Canadian Space Agency.
Damn good work. I can find no omissions that I know of. I have an immediate use for this in a conference talk I am preparing, will link to it, and will credit you accordingly. Thanks so much for compiling this.
Not all of the Harper Government's anti-science activities are program cuts. I wonder if you should include Oliver's accusations of exaggeration against James Hansen, or his accusation that foreign-funded radicals are behind the fight against the Gateway pipeline, or that there is doubt that climate change will be severe. Or what about the Yukon MP who tried to pass off an unreviewed climate-denialist paper in support of a claim that polar bears are in no danger from global warming? Nah -- that would be too sadistic.
Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. If possible, I'd really appreciate it if people would add a citation to some sort of government or media source for the new items you suggest.
The plight of our environmental scientists is well known at home and abroad. Even our friends at StatsCan have received attention...but there are others, another comment alluded to it. In fact Harper does not want us 'committing sociology' or, social science research to be more accurate, if it might reveal inconvenient truths. The Addictions Research Centre, created in 1999, was also a victim of the 2012 budget. It is slated to close in 2014. The ARC is a research division of Correctional Service Canada where projects focused on drug use/abuse, mental health, addiction, & security-related issues at federal penitentiaries. It also was the centre of Aboriginal research for CSC, and the Service's Aboriginal research champion position was cut as a result of the closure. Googling 'Addictions Research Centre' and CSC will produce a list of references, but all references to its existence have been removed from CSC's website. Some can still be accessed through archived links (with the google search).
I would be interested to know how many social scientists have been affected by the 'war on science'...
Thanks for the list and for your website; it's great, I'll be checking back in!
Funding cuts like these do not prevent waste -- THEY ARE WASTEFUL. They interrupt highly productive, groundbreaking research before it is finished.
My former employer, the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (University of Guelph) was especially hard-hit when the Harper government de-funded its funding sources. BIO is the de facto home of DNA barcoding, and in itself a major triumph of Canadian science; it has long attracted systematists, ecologists, and laboratory methods specialists from around the world. But, the cuts to BIO devastated the International Barcode of Life project halfway through its existence, leaving both internal staff and external collaborators scrambling for funds to continue their work.
DNA barcoding certainly has applications to industry. But, organizations like BIO/iBOL do the basic research that industry cannot do without -- no one will make money from a technology unless the hard, unprofitable work of understanding the science and developing the methods is done first. The Harper government's redirection of funds from basic research to industry is insidiously destructive in two ways. First, of course, it starves the basic science at its source -- but second, it outsources corporate R&D to universities at a fraction of the cost. Where's the incentive for industry to hire scientists and engineers if they can farm out the work to graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty at little or no cost?
This is a push to end evidence-based policy making. Policy is to be based on political philosophy and religious views, although the latter has been kept bottled up for now...
This is such a sad story. We pay more attention to actors/actresses than our scientists. Steve please stop this behaviour.
Further to my post above, here are just a few links supporting the claims, along with comments in some cases explaining why they should be included. My apologies for not including them in the original post, but as you can see, the numbers are many, and this is only a very small sample of them.
Yukon Conservative MP accused of peddling ‘bogus’ information on polar bears (in which he uses climate denialist propaganda from a non-peer-reviewed paper, long discredited) http://o.canada.com/2013/04/29/yukon-conservtaive-using-bogus-bear-fact…
Peter Kent refuses to correct Conservative MP's crackpot views on polar bears http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2013/05/peter-kent-refus…
Do the oilsands threaten our safe climate? Hansen's "game over" vs Oliver's "minuscule amount" http://www.vancouverobserver.com/blogs/climatesnapshot/do-oilsands-thre…
Canadian oil minister Joe Oliver condemns climatologist James Hansen http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/24/canada-joe-oliver-att…
Defending Keystone, Canadian official rips top US climate scientist http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/295827-defending-keystone-cana…
Joe Oliver slams scientist's oilsands claims as 'nonsense' http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/04/24/joe-oliver-keystone-pi…
Joe Oliver beats back accusations of climate change denial (you decide how successful that was) http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/04/16/pol-joe-oliver-faces-c…
Oliver’s musings on climate science lead to testy exchange http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/04/16/olivers-musings-on-climate-science-l…
Academics warn Canada against further tar sands production http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/08/academics-canada-tar-…
Canadian economist takes his anti-oil sands message to Europe (in which Oliver describes climate scientists as "unrealistic") http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-…
Allowing tar sands oil into Europe would be a victory for ‘profit-before-planet’ politics warns Lorna Howarth (in which Oliver & Peter Kent lobby against the proposed European Fuel Quality Directive labelling tar sands fuels as "highly polluting" while Hansen & Mark Jaccard argue that it is) http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/1928187/leaked_papers_sh…
Meet the ex-Bay Streeter leading Tory charge against oil-sands opponents (in which Oliver only reluctantly admits that climate change is a serious issue) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/meet-the-ex-bay-streeter-l…
'Radical' groups working against oilsands (in which Oliver fails to recognize that many opponents are scientists whose opposition stems from the high CO2 footprint of the tar sands) http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/01/09/pol-joe-oliver-radical… also see the follow-up, in which Oliver & Harper emphasize the alleged foreign funding of these "radicals" http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/01/09/pol-joe-oliver-radical…
Energy industry letter suggested environmental law changes (in which science-based environmental laws are changed in favour of, and at the behest of the oil industry) http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/01/09/pol-oil-gas-industry-l…
Environmental charities 'laundering' foreign funds, Kent says http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/05/01/pol-peter-kent-environ… I suggest that this and many, many other other attacks on environmentalists, including some of those noted above, are veiled attacks on science because many people conflate environmentalism with environmental science. I beileve the Harper Government is well aware of this, and takes advantage of it to discredit environmental science.
Joe Oliver, Conservative Cabinet Minister, Says People Aren't As Concerned About Climate Change (in which the people he refers to are climate scientists) http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/12/joe-oliver-climate-change-fears…
And while I'm at it, here's an extra. As an aquatic ecologist, I would argue that it would be difficult to find a less scientifically-justifiable place to dump toxic mine tailings than into lakes, because they then become a threat to everything downstream. Lakes across Canada face being turned into mine dump sites http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/06/16/condemned-lakes.html
Making the case for the benefit of advanced scientific research can be controversial even amongst scientists. Often, the importance of research for research's sake is seen as a luxury that can't be afforded and which should be passed up in order to solve more pressing problems. But this is a short sighted point of view that would lead to a drying up of the well-spring of knowledge made possible by advanced scientific research on which more applied science relies. The following web-site a video tries to make that case with regard to a facility in New York: www.smashingmatters.org http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ht7rCgr6bg
Thanks everyone. Keep the suggestions coming. I'll likely update the post in a day or two.
A couple of notes.
First of all, to reiterate from above, any citation you can provide will save me time and energy.
Second, I am trying to reign in the scope of this and focus on science rather than just the CPC's more general war on evidence. So some suggestions I may not end up incorporating in the master list.
Another little thing to add to the list...Environment Canada was charged, since 1995, to run the Biosphere, Environment Museum in Montreal - the ONLY environment museum in North America. This year, the government decided to save money and shut down the museum and all it's educational programs. The programs included on site programs for school groups, as well as for the public...and videoconferences offered across the country and abroad.
John Dupuis: Kudos for putting this chronology together. The series of News Bulletins about the Alberta Tar Sands and Keystone XL pipeline that I have created for and posted on SkepticalScience.com might contain some articles that you may wish to add to list.
Cuts at Stats Can have been significant, but the complete closure of the First Nations Statistical Institute has dramatically impacted a number of community-based research projects that I'm involved with. See: http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/03/29/conservatives-axe-first-nations-st…
Astonishing here in the 21st century - devastating here in Canada - pathetic to the point of evil anywhere and anytime. BTW, hi Dave
Welcome to the neoliberal agenda folks - as a humanities scholar I'm used to seeing this kind of stuff; although it's horrible, it's fair time the rest of you got to see how ideologies operate when they're connected to finance. What is baffling is that on the one hand the Con government lauds a 'knowledge based economy' as the means to long term economic and social stability, while on the other making these kinds of cuts. Then you remember it's the word 'economy' which is the key - this is not an intellectual's notion of economy as the entire process of cultural exchange and production, of which capital-based exchanges are merely a part - but only that which makes money. So knowledge is firmly entrenched in utility and money making without any connection to long term knowledge production and discovery. This is big business folks; government run like a crap corporation. In the humanities we're used to doing nothing with nothing - doesn't mean it's right. I'm running an afternoon conference that involves c. 50 researchers and 4 universities tomorrow on about $200. Why? because that's all we've got.
And they wonder about the brain drain? Seriously, lists like these need to be compiled and published, but they need to be communicated effectively. They mean nothing to the blood 905 that sways the last election: you, scientists, and I, humanist, are simply 'intellectuals' whose work has no real impact or connection to the 'lives of ordinary, "hard working", canadians'. Until we're able to beat THAT line, we're doomed. Let's turn our research eyes to the effects this kind of crap is having on canadian society as a whole - that knowledge for knowledge's sake - in any form - is worthwhile, and that research culture with its peer review has the means to monitoring the crap without any help from the vacant world of corporate sleaze.
Unless of course, you want to study gazebos, or are able to get grants from the PMO's office if you misclaim expenses...
Closure of DFO Libraries, http://o.canada.com/2013/04/14/closure-of-fisheries-libraries-expected-…
Is there any legal way for the public to force an election??? If not, I think that is a huge mistake in any democratic country. I'm ashamed of this government these are all the things that I did not like Bush for. How do we fix it???
I'm starting to worry about my job which is publicly funded working with radioactive drugs....
April 2012 - Closure of departmental libraries at PWGSC and HRSDC, and possibly others.
What about the spring 2012 cuts to Library and Archives Canada? I think it was sometime in April.
It's not enough to just keep the links. This gov't is doing away with the information attached to them. Is anyone saving and compiling a hard-copy of each link?
I don't disbelieve this list for a second. BUT... in the interest of completeness, what happens if you extend it back to before 2006? The Liberals certainly weren't actively muzzling scientists and pushing an anti-science agenda like the Conservatives have been since then, but did they not cut any science funding/departments at all while they were in power? I'd expect to see a few cuts in the Liberal Era, but that the number would ramp up significantly once the Cons got in.
good article, good list. #HarperMustResign ...I get it that so many Canadians can not believe Harper could be so clearly in the pocket of Oil and Big money. He thinks politics is a game that does not actually do real or lasting damage; he thinks truly that his insight is better then all the science on the planet, and better then a majority of Canadians themselves. His word is the Economy-translation $ for those who are already rich; it trumps the needs and rights of people, the science, the rights of the environment, it trumps the future. For that he should not just be immediately fired, but also tried publicly for treason.
And working in these science departments has become intolerable. I fled to a US university. There are many people like me who are just quitting or taking early retirement. In fact, laying off all those people is a very costly undertaking with many getting more than one year of severance pay and additional training.
Oddly, Harper is all about cutting etc yet his government can't account for $3 billion dollars AND there is plenty of cash for his pet project: Office of Religious Freedoms!!
Please do not forget the entire AECL fiasco that lead to the sale of this valuable agency to a criminal organization for a pitance. The firing of Linda Keen for doing her job by the odious Gary Lund was among the first tell-tales of how the Conservative Party of Canada regards Science:
What about the Communications Research Centre? Did you know that more than 100 researchers on 400 were cut and they amalgamated the organization under the umbrella of the Department of Industry? They muzzled this organization under the name of reorganization.
Another area I didn't see in your list was the Aboriginal-specific services that were cut, such at the National Aboriginal Health Organization. Although they were not funded to engage in primary research, they and other bodies were excellent points of research dissemination for those of working in Aboriginal health fields.
Not sure how the axe to one of the world's leading science-based conservation agencies was overlooked in this article. Parks Canada is still reeling from the slaughter: www.thestar.com/news/canada/2012/04/30/federal_budget_2012_parks_canada…
Thank you. Thank you.
NRC - where no new research is being done, unless it is at the behest of business, and from where scientists are leaving in droves...
Internationally renowned microfungus collection (UAMH) faces drastic cuts.
Constantine Thomas - "I don’t disbelieve this list for a second. BUT"
John Dupuis is not making this stuff up. It is your precious Reform/Conservative Party of Canada at work. So, go look in the mirror.
I sent this blog to a friend now living in the UK who holds a Masters of Engineering in Alternative Energy Technology. His reply:
"That [list] below reads like catastrophic road accident, where all of those involved and many a bystander die. Canada produces some excellent research and science, yet it's sycophantic cabal of politicians and industry lobbyists are doing their utmost to undermine matters at the expense of the majority and future generations, so that they can line their pockets and feather their nests. Who on Earth votes for these philistines?
Previous NRC cuts in the fall of 2012:
How about all the action trying to shut down InSite in Vancouver?
I guess that is health but it is science as well.
Cutting a budget is NOT anti science. Most of the points in the actual list are BUDGETING, not a war on science. Basically this article is an attack on math and a war on finance.
Thank you for compiling this list.
Thank you for doing this...I am a retired chemist/science teacher who has been shocked and dismayed about this terrible travesty in our country. I am glad that you are publicizing this and making people aware of the cutbacks and closures that have decimated our science programs and scientific research particularly in the Environmental field. The general public is not aware of this and will be shocked when it finally impacts their way of life: quality of water, air and food supply. I am worried that we will never be able to mend the damage that this Conservative government (ie: Harper) has done.
Very impressive list............
But it should have included the elimination of the current
P.M.' s JOB.................
Ongoing hiring freeze on all "non-essential" science positions.
Despite knowing we're anticipating a high retirement rate over the next few years, all junior positions are considered non-essential, so senior positions are retiring without time to transfer knowledge to (non-existent) incoming juniors. While thankfully the emeritus scientists are proving to be very friendly about answering questions post-retirement, the problem is going to escalate with the true impact of knowledge loss showing up when it's too late to reverse or fix the problem.
History will remember Harper as an environmental criminal. He is setting the stage for disaster by preventing Canadians from learning the truth about the environment. He gives lip service to Climate Change then takes actions that will make it far worse. Every oil spill should carry the moniker Steven Harper Oil Spill number 1, 2, 3... etc.
All oil spills will ultimately be the fault of Steven Harper because he shepherded building the infrastructure that made the spill possible.
I appreciate awareness being brought to many of the issues and also that there are many changes happening to environment and science in Canada, however; many of the linked articles do not list their sources and therefore lacking the facts that support the enclosed claims.
I advocate that, to stop the threat of Climate Change, environmentalists lead human changes by example. That's what people take notice of most. First, they should spread the word via the Internet that they are voluntarily going to have themselves sterilized. Second, that they publicly state that they absolutely refuse to further participate in the consumerist society by giving up anthing that isn't hand made or organically grown. Finally, they should make a final, collective statement that achnowledges the massive use of electricity the global Internet uses, and they are formally rejecting its further use because it is harming nature. Other people all around the world do it, so there is zero reason why doing this, and not just talking about it, can be done. A global statement like this can be made and follwed if people start doing this in groups at a time, until the masses follow the intellectual leadership, again , and by necessity, by example. This is the only way to succed at saving the planet.
Once again, thanks everyone for your suggestions. I will get around to add all the new and relevant ones to my list as soon as I get a chance.
Thank you for compiling this.
You can add the cut at the Mont Mégantic Observatory. The uproar was so intense (the was even a motion at the Québec National Assembly) that some as been found elsewhere.
Great job John!
Good article, you captured so much.
But it's also due to one party: Harper's Conservative party, which in spite of winning a majority government only represents a minority of Canadians--most voted for other parties. The Conservatives have carried out an incredibly destructive strategy to the positive Canada of old.
One thing, the title of this post is a little misleading as this is not a Canadian war on science but Harper's Conservatives' war on science and most Canadians are opposed (if you follow party lines).
Ever wonder where the Conservative government's cuts to Science and environment went?
- $4.2 Million to the Newman Theological College
- $3.2 million to Youth for Christ in Winnipeg
- $192,000 to the world of Truth Christian Center
- $495,600 to Wycliffe Bible Translators
-$357,146 to Chakam School of the Bible Inc.
- $198,951 to National Evangelical Spiritual Baptist Faith International Centre of Canada
- $84,110 to Eastside Church of God
- $2.9 million to Redeemer University College
- $2.614 million to Trinity Western University
- $1,0 million to Global Kingdom Ministries Community Center, Toronto
- $544,813 to Crossroads Christian Communications”
Environment Canada has faced very steep cuts in funding over the last few years.
Environment Canada job cuts raise concerns (Aug. 2011)
Canada's ozone science group falls victim to government cuts (Oct. 2012)
Scientific decision making is like blowing atom bombs. From the beginning to the end, it is 99% scientific. But no one asked whether having a monopolistic institution called government is scientific in the first place.
pardon me for being dense but what does closing the kits coast guard station have to do with science? it's unpalatable for sure, but other than that what?
John, this is a brilliant post. Thank you so much for listing all of this in one place. Your work in compiling this is exemplary. I want you to know how much it is appreciated. - Randy
Brilliant compilation John!! Thanks!
Here are a couple more items that you might include in your list.
Stuffed into omnibus Bill C-38
The Harper government is in the process of dismantling the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA – a division of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), terminating its programming, and selling off its assets, like Community Pastures and the Tree Farm.
The Tree Farm (Agroforestry Development Centre), established as a tree nursery in 1901 by the Laurier gov’t at Indian Head, SK, produces trees and shrubs (provided at no cost) for agroforestry plantings (shelter belts) on agricultural land in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and in the Peace River region of British Columbia. It is further dedicated to producing new knowledge and better understanding of trees and agroforestry practices through research projects at regional, national and international levels.
The Community Pastures System is a federal program that has worked well for over 75 years to the benefit of farmers, wildlife habitat, and prairie ecology in numerous ways.
It covers 87 pastures, including approximately 2.3 million acres, of which 62 pastures, including 1.78 million acres, are in Saskatchewan. See http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/sasknotes-pfra-co…. Also see Trevor Herriot’s Globe and Mail piece from April 6, 2013 at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/why-is-ottawa-abandoning-s…
March 27, 2013
Decision to legally withdraw from the UN Convention to Combat Drought and Desertification (UNCDD) makes Canada the only nation on the planet not to be part of the multilateral effort to help farmers deal with drought.
I see twice where you have asked for links, so I'm following up on my earlier post about the Correctional Service Canada's Addictions Research Centre, which is the only one of its kind worldwide:
Canada’s only facility dedicated to investigating the connection between criminality and addiction is closing.
The role of the Addictions Research Centre is:
...to advance the management of addiction issues in criminal justice towards the goal of contributing to public protection. The Centre is committed to enhancing corrections policy, programming and management practices on substance abuse through the creation and dissemination of knowledge and expertise.
“Staff at the facility have been undertaking key research into addictions within the Aboriginal population, which remains a serious problem in Aboriginal communities across the country,” she says. “Eliminating this key work will do nothing but cause further hardship for Aboriginal communities and families struggling with addictions."
The same funding cuts that affected the ELA affected the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/05/07/science-cuts-canada_n_3228151.h…) - actually on that page (as I think you know) there are other articles linked.
The cuts to Parks Canada budgets should be listed- drastic and significantly affecting research in Parks (no cite at hand...)
thanks - great list
I'm not finished, let me know if you want the code to embed this on your site.
Great work, I look forward to keeping track of this as you update. You may want to contrast the Canadian muzzling of scientists with the US policy encouraging scientists to contact the media and allowing scientists to speak publicly and freely about their work: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20111207_scientificintegrity.h…
I like this. I think you should make a list of all the "for" science policies implemented by the conservative government as well. This would balance out the perspective a bit more and make everyone more informed.
Oh man, fantastic work. PLEASE keep this around, and continue to build it!! Break this out come the next Federal Election! Our country needs this evidence thrown in our faces to remind us what we're doing to ourselves!
Hey John, thanks for this!
I've taken the liberty of charting the numbers from the list in this post (I couldn't actually locate a similar larger list at the link you included). Anyway, if you have any suggestions or corrections, shoot them along: http://www.daviddumaresq.com/blog/?p=253
You have done a great service compiling this list, as depressing a task as it surely was. I hope it gets wide distribution. I am sending it to the Save Ocean Science group in St. Andrews, NB, which is trying to save the DFO marine sciences library from closure.
Your readership may find my article in the Marine Pollution Bulletin (Editorial, April 2013) of interest. It is not as comprehensive as portrayed in your list but attempts to point to the crisis in the aquatic sciences we are facing under this government. It is time for another major protest!!
Harper! or as we call him here in the States "Bush Light" and his quasi religious conservative fruitcake administration (thanks in no small part to the selfishness south of you) is going to ruin your otherwise beautiful country.....DO NOT LET HIM....vote these fools out....and if that does not work, quit being pussies and get out into the street and take your country back. We here south of you are just now beginning to step up to the plate and are slowly getting offended by the stupidity, arrogance, and selfishness of the previous administration. I know that Canadians in general are easy going, polite folks....but, now is not the time for that....God damnit.....GET F*CKING MAD ALREADY!
There we substantial reductions (25-50%) at Parks Canada in May of last year, large numbers of park ecologists, resource management technicians, and support staff were either terminated or reduced to season employment.
Depressing. But thank-you for the compilation.
I think you should include the changes to the Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax credit program, that have reduced it's effectiveness in helping Canadian companies innovate.
Port Metro Vancouver, a federal entity, does the environmental assessments on its own projects on its lands and dismantles FREMP.
Artist on sustainability harassed by the federal government.
Thank you so much!
I've been talking about this since Harper started muzzling climate scientists, now I have my backup at one location.
Excellent compilaton........ Keep it up.... Everyone..... ! ! ! ! !
Immense losses.....scientific studies of orcas and chemical pollutants by Dr. Peter Ross .
May 2012 http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/20/killer-whale-expert-out-of-work…
An interesting discussion is worth comment. I believe that you should write much more on this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but usually individuals are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers
Great list, would love to see this in the US as well. BTW, what does women's health have to do with a "war on science" ?
This Topsy website is handy to search out out twitter hashtags, though I'm not sure the date sorting works properly when you are looking at the tweets for all time:
has 3516 tweets using #unmuzzlescience
3092 for #deathofevidence
Other hashtags include: #saveELA (over 6000) #savePEARL (150)
Don't forget the Conservatives voting against the NDP opposition day motion on basic science and funding for the Experimental Lakes Area - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-take-heat-in-house-…
This is off on a tangent but I think anything in politics & Arctic science should be watched: Charles Monnett is an American scientist who was under investigation for handling gov't money, or maybe for reporting on dead polar bears - it's complicated. Defenders said he was being harassed; and he was mostly cleared except for having released some documents he shouldn't have:
Some allegations had a Canadian connection, that he helped U of Alberta scientist Andrew Derocher write a proposal for a government contract:
Which caused a delay in Derocher's project funding:
I don't know if there is a specific Canadian government connection in this case, but climate change deniers like WUWT have criticized Derocher for saying polar bears are in danger, and I think the Harper Conservatives tend to listen to deniers.
Just a little more about Monett: US science blogger Eli Rabett blogged quite a bit about Monnett: http://rabett.blogspot.ca/search?q=monnett&max-results=20&by-date=true
including suggesting the whole thing was connected to Shell wanting to drill in the Arctic, and to internal politics:
Erg, new article today:
"The federal government is quietly removing in situ oilsands operations from the list of projects covered by its environmental assessments branch..."
They've attempted to suppress scientists @ Health Canada for years too as you may have heard about http://fairwhistleblower.ca/search/site/shiv%20chopra | http://shivchopra.com/?cat=6
Given the digital nature of so much of the record of the work of shut-down, cut and muzzled individuals and organizations, Sandy's 22 May question:
" It’s not enough to just keep the links. This gov’t is doing away with the information attached to them. Is anyone saving and compiling a hard-copy of each link?" provokes another:
Is the CPC deliberately also at war against the HISTORY of Canadian science?
June 5 2008: Harper Government commissioned Independent Panel of Experts on Transferring Federal Non-Regulatory Laboratories makes recommendations on divesting of government laboratories.
I don't even know what to say! It is shocking - but those of who have been watching, have known how much damage the Harper Gov't has done - but I didn't realize the whole extent!
Yes, this needs drastic action to make an effort to reverse the trend - that'll take a few years!
What to do?
I agree with Michael from Arizona that "Canadians in general are easy going, polite folks….but, now is not the time for that….God damnit…..GET F*CKING MAD ALREADY! " Please!
As a Canadian expat abroad I find this heartbreaking, and am baffled that 'noone' seems to notice or care. Where is the outrage? I'm shocked, saddened and ashamed that there's so little effective political opposition.
thanks to John for this incredible blog ! I am with an organization called Scientists for the Right to Know ( http://scientistsfortherighttoknow.wildapricot.org/)- currently compiling a time line and saving all the links John provided as PDF's ( I already came across links which disappeared). I urge concerned people to become members of our organization as we are planning a series of events starting this fall in Toronto to bring the issue of the muzzling of science to the community at large. Thanks
Pieter Basedow in #108 Your website lacks some important information such as who you are and any evidence that you are a legitimate organization.
Why would anyone pay a substantial fee to join your group when there are no board members or member organizations listed?
V. Jobson, Scientists for the Right to Know is a new advocacy organization. A lot of the members are from Science for Peace at University of Toronto ( www.scienceforpeace.ca) We will shortly re-arrange the website as our primary concern was to even have a website. Thank you for your much valued feedback !
References for #15: closing of Bioshere - Environment Museum in Montreal:
Pieter Baselow, thanks for your response. It pays to be wary, because there are so many astroturf groups out there, especially about climate science. I do support your group's aims.
If your group is a registered charity that issues tax receipts for donors, there is probably certain information that should be on your website; but if it is for advocacy, can it be a registered charity?
I've run across this website which is new to me, but which looks legitimate to me, and which may have some useful information for you in setting up things:
I have taken your advice and our website for Scientists for the Right to Know is now updated ! http://scientistsfortherighttoknow.wildapricot.org/
We are in the process of incorporating as a not for profit corporation not as a charity since our aim is advocacy work.
Pieter Basedow, that looks great! Good luck with it!
One minor thing, on the About page the link to the May 29, 2013 article needs fixing
Thanks for compiling this list, hopefully, it can be used as a touchstone for the media to bring this issue to the voters of Canada. Serious issues like this are being discarded in the press lately in favour of tabloid journalism for various scandals, that are really not important and only offer distraction.
I would add the planned reformation of the CIHR grants program to that list. as it will contribute to a serious setback in biomedical research in Canada.
"Canada is the only country in the world sneaking out the back door on the UN Convention Against Drought."
From Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich -Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party of Canada
The steep costs of funding cuts . Four scientists and the results of funding cuts on the significance of their work.
Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands , and leader of the Green Party of Canada Is very involved in this issue.
Good work John. Thank you.
Government's priorities are all mixed up. Billions more for big businesses, under the pretense of it being repayable and creating jobs. Transparency in Ottawa is at an all time low. See "The Harper Tories’ multibillion-dollar transparency problem" http://tinyurl.com/mhmdb3o
It is important to keep Insite in this list. It is one of the most heavily and carefully researched health facilities in the world and the Tories are not only completely ignoring the peer reviewed data, they have set up a bogus health pr organization to send out phony rebuttals. Serious stuff.
Thanks for the article but it is so sad to read. What are those of us unemployed, passionate scientists to do? All I want to do is learn and improve the world, why isn't that valued anymore?
For those who understand French, find at the URL below an interesting comparison between american conservatism during Franklin D. Roosevelt era and Harper's governement. Hard not to link the two...
Don't know if you'd want to put this under the war on science as it may seem less than far-reaching, but they're cutting funds to a BC observatory (link below). This is possibly the result of the government's stance that they're going to focus on science that results in a short-term monetary gain (as opposed to "blue-sky" research where applications of a discovery may not be fully realized till years to decades after the discovery...e.g. Rutherford would be amazed to see what his discoveries led to).
We should put the end of this government at the next election, this is terrible . How can a country that is suppose to be a free country have this done to its science projects, this is a WAR on science.
An impressive (and useful for future reference) account of Harper's accomplishments in the gradual dismantling of Canada in so many dimensions. Work needs to be done on distilling and compressing the most egregious issues into twitter length punchy sound bites, ready to be brought out for the next election. We have to capture the attention of normally docile and politically shy Canadians, with this kind of shock doctrine.
I would also add another to the list of Harper's sins: maybe I missed it, but I don't recall seeing mention of the vicious attacks on the CBC--another professional/scientific messenger of inconvenient truths for the Harper agenda.
This is scary and beyond criminal, I stopped reading after 2011 sick to my stomach. Why this is not known as the biggest failure of the Harper government is beyond me. I mean you feel disgruntled when you hear a little bit on the news but when it is all put together it is clear there is a war on science in it prime Webster definition.
knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation
Was just led here and am so grateful to see someone compiling some of the disaster Harper's created - hope it gets publicized for any not yet aware!
We need to get the UN in as observers well prior to Federal elections and prevent any more 'smart'-ALEC cheaters from getting in, assuming any Canada remains by then...
Fantastic list! I suggest everyone with a twitter/facebook account alert people of the URL. The opposition parties should be linking to it as well.
"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."
Reactionary Blues by Charlie Angus & Grievous Angels
(Charlie Angus is an NDP MP)
Very interesting article.
Most likely, as per the crimes they commit, they are making science (knowledge) a matter of National Security in order to further oppress Canada and the world. This along with an unnecessary (illegal?) tax system , Unconstitutional Morality laws [Marijuana laws, Prostitution laws etc (like them or not.)] and a Justice system that spreads Social Injustice and Legal Inequality.
(New Oxford American Dictionary) Constitution - A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. How can a Constitution with a not-withstanding cause be Constitutional in any Country?
As a victim of Government experimentation myself, (Exposed to Mutagens as a fetus, infant and toddler in what the Canadian government called an experiment.) and now old enough to understand that I (my family) have also been (a) victim(s) of Human trafficking, at the hands of Canadian Civil Servants and Canadian Organized Crime. ( And in at least one case - A crown prosecutor and their in-laws, members of Canada's Hells Angels.) Funny how I am facing more Social injustice and legal inequality today in a court (civil), in a city, were this Crown Prosecutor works.
I believe that the war on science, war on drugs, war on terror etc, are actually smaller battles in the War on Freedom and Democracy being waged against humanity by Anarchists Corporations, Government officials, civil servants, unions and organized crime. This does not include all members of the above groups, but enough to influence the majority and to allow the work of a Dr. Joseph Mengele to continue today.(Of course with Science Knowledge and education being for the privileged few)
Yes I really don't know what is up with deniers they don't believe in the loc ness monster or the moon landings or that 9-11 happened and don't get me started on GMO's or vaccine's and really why would anyone be a denier of big foot ?
The Fifth Estate has a "Silence of the Labs" on Friday January 10th
I welcome these cuts.This planet has to be driven to the brink of disaster before anyone will act. Stephen Harper is pushing as hard as he can and I will support him in every cut to science and knowledge that he makes.
I have been aware on the War on Science for some time now but only this week really was made aware of how badly the dispersion of content in this unique collections has occurred. We have lost a treasure of a few paltry dollars. Thank you for your work on this issue and for the contributions by posters who also aided in this creation of a bibliography of events.
One correction "We have lost a treasure for a few paltry dollars."
TORONTO STAR editorial Dec. 8, 2009
If Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to end funding to KAIROS, one of Canada's well-known organizations promoting social justice, his government owes a better explanation than the feeble one on offer.
KAIROS has a 35-year history of working with Ottawa. It spends about $4 million a year lobbying for social change at home and abroad, supported by members of the United, Anglican, Catholic and other Christian churches. Until last week the Canadian International Development Agency provided about 40 per cent of its budget.
KAIROS's overseas projects include providing health care, schooling, and legal services to Colombian women; lobbying for peace in war-torn Sudan; and helping Congolese rape victims. It also educates Canadians on global aid issues.
But the group has also been active on the domestic front and has criticized the Conservatives' policies on climate change and the Alberta oilsands, aboriginal rights, mining practices, trade and immigration.
Last week we learned that CIDA has rejected KAIROS's bid for $7.1 million for 2009-2013. KAIROS was told only that its longtime work no longer meets "CIDA's current priorities." In fact, says KAIROS, CIDA staff found the bid met their criteria and sent it to International Development Minister Bev Oda for approval.
Canada's aid priorities are shifting, to be sure. Ottawa has refocused our $4.7 billion foreign aid budget on three critical areas: boosting food production, promoting economic growth and improving the lives of young people. CIDA's partners will have to adapt. Yesterday, facing pointed questions in Parliament, Oda lamely noted that that CIDA still funds other church groups that deliver health care, schooling, food and water. "Tough decisions will have to be made," she added.
Maybe so. But organizations such as KAIROS deserve a credible explanation, a fair shake, and time to reshape or wind down programs. Otherwise Oda's "tough choices" will look like "payback" from a government that brooks no criticism of its agenda.
Office of Jean Crowder, MP
You have done a great service, John!! Canadians owe you a debt of gratitude for your efforts and I certainly thank you personally for it!. Further, I will share it at every opportunity I get. I do hope someone has taken up researching the areas you did not have time to (areas you mentioned near the end).
Keep up the good work, it is very important!
Good Grief --------- speechless...................!
Along the lines of the bitter irony in the words "government that fundamentally doesn’t believe in science" (science is knowledge, not belief) it seems the Canadian government is a "guiding light into an age of darkness". Unfortunately we seem to have the same disease in Australia now since our change to a "conservative" government.
Health Canada's libraries are being shut down. If it goes the way of the Fisheries and Oceans libraries decades of research will be either inaccessible to scientists, or destroyed:
January 22, 2014
MANDATED COPY (of December 30, 2013)
Minister of Veterans Affairs
7th Floor - 700 6th Avenue Southwest
Re: ”...regardless of law ... anything but justice...VRA Board vindictively set out to...”
Attn.: Hon. Mr. Julian Fantino
Previous Ministers of Veterans Affairs (VA) have done nothing to settle this veteran's claims (nor those claims of other veterans) as Mr. Coward’s lawfully supported attempts concerning the practical and equitable evaluation of other veterans’ claims (see included) have enumerated over the past years. While Mr. Coward’s demonstrated professionalism and equitable treatment of Wallace J. Fowler is yet un-matched (nor even approached, by gov't depts. and/or reps) with the same level and standard of honesty and integrity) and even the Min. of VA has completely ignored the respectful direction of the very Hon. Mr. Justice William D. Nichol (Executive Officer of the "Canadian Justice Review Board"), it is becoming more and more evident to Canadian veterans and citizens alike that Canadian governments and their elected representatives (I.e., MPs) are less than lawful and obedient to the same laws and legislative terms that they (i.e., those governments) force upon all other Canadian veterans and citizens alike. Where is there law and order in a country when the very precepts of justice are completely ignored by those legislators who construct and/or enact such laws.
While successive Canadian governments have ignored their legislated obligations to all veterans of both the CF (Canadian Forces) and RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), government deception appears to be continuing despite noble efforts to the contrary of the veterans listed herein. As both governments and their allegedly duly elected representatives (e.g., MPs) continue to unlawfully deny their legislated obligations to all Canadian veterans, where can one find the legitimate truth and direction promised by these same MPs as part of their electoral platforms? The blatant disregard of the Canadian governments and all of it's incumbent MPs (as outlined by Mr. Coward et al. in the attached) is far from intolerable - it has finally evolved to the point of bering without conscience.
Along with the extensive documentation referred to and/or listed herein, which both attests to the legitimacy of this veteran's claims and supports the claims of other veterans (such as those outlined in Rocky's attached documentation), this veteran has provided independent professional assessment of the history of my claims (refer to enclosed letter from the very Hon. Mr. justice W.D. Nichol), which historically identify the blatant unlawfulness of the Min. of VA’s office in dealing with both this veteran's claims and that of thousands of other veterans. While outlaws are either hung and/or criminally hunted in other cultures until something resembling the service of justice is affected, what would you suggest we Canadians do with the aforementioned outlaws? As this same documented history demonstrates how the Federal (Fed.) department of VA, it's present ministers and support staff have all stepped over the line separating lawful from criminally unlawful Canadian citizens, when will the Fed. office settle this veteran's claims along with the thousands of other veterans like this veteran?
“When we unquestioningly accept the structures, habits, and bureaucracies of our various communities and organizations as if they had an absolute reason to be there, we’re trapped outside time.” (Smolin, 2013, pp. xv-xvi)
In coming back to our time, Mr. Coward and learned veteran so eloquently stated:
“The mendacious coverup by DND senior brass on the ill treatment of our Veterans has indeed reached epic proportions. Accordingly, my response ( as an advocate for Wally J. Fowler) to Major-General Millar, Chief of Personnel, National Defense Ottawa reveals that they have been busted - wide open by their own web of lies, deceit, deception, collusion and conspiracy to cover the truth and much more... Consequently, I am therefore calling on all fair-minded Canadians, including Veterans to write to your Member of Parliament (MP) to demand a "Public Inquiry" and justice for Wally and countless other Veterans that have been subjected to similar unconscionable acts by our Government Officials.” (Fowler/Millar [MGen D.B.], via Registered Mail [dated Dec. 25, 2013]; signed for 9 Jan. 2014),
From the beginning of Canadian history and the election of representatives (i.e., elected reps) at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, a number of provisional conditions have been forced upon all Canadians, all of which questionably include the following:
If in other contemporary world cultures, liars and deceitful elected individuals would be hung before a trial, honest Canadians just continue to give our hard-earned tax dollars to these same elected reps in payment of nothing;
If deceit, countless lies and misrepresentations are evident in an MP’s record, an elected representative is identified;
If Canadians start to bring these issues to the attention of their existing elected representatives and demand a dollar of service for every tax dollar, there will be more morally and financially bankrupt elected representatives; and
If elected representatives can continue to misrepresent their constituents on 11 out of 10 instances, they questionably remain elected representatives.
While Canada continues to deteriorate towards a lawless entity of unknown designation and description, when will this same country initiate MPs’ realisation of it's legislated obligations to it's veterans and, for once and for all, stop this same aforementioned and detailed deterioration? Will your office be the first to both initiate and implement equitable procedures in meeting these legislated obligations to all Canadian veterans?
Your response to that above questions is eagerly awaited by both this veteran as well as all Canadian veterans and citizens.
Peace be with you & yours,
#33 - 9520 Bonaventure Dr., S.E.
Calgary, AB T2J 0E5
Coward/Millar [MGen. D.G.]. Dec. 27, 2013; registered mail.
Smoulin, Lee (2013) Time Reborn: from the crisis in physics to the future of the universe, Toronto: Alfred A. Knoff (Random House); ISBN 978-0-307-40071-0; 319p.
cc.:Hon. Mr. Jason Kenney, Member of Parliament for Calgary Southeast;
Fax: (403) 225-3504
Hon. Peter Gordon MacKay (Minister of Justice), firstname.lastname@example.org
Sean.Casey@parl.gc.ca [Sean Casey (Liberal Dept. of Justice critic)] (fax:  996 - 4714)
ccc.: very Hon. Mr. W.D. Nichol, CEO, Canadian Justice Review Board
local MP: Min. of Citizenship, Immigration & Multiculturalism; Fax: (403) 225-3504
encl. Nichol/Blaney letter, Feb./Mar. 2012 (as attached)
DRAFT/SENT Feb. 6, 2012/Mar. 2012
The Honourable Steven Blaney
Minister of Veterans Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Veterans Affairs Canada
66 Slater Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0P4
The Canadian Justice Review Board has received a complaint from Brian C. Bradley of Calgary Alberta.
We can find no better words to describe Mr. Bradley’s situation than quoting his honour Mr. Justice J.E. Hershfield of the Federal Court of Canada.
“ The battle with the [Veterans Review and Appeal Board ] VRA Board has, according to the Appellant’s testimony, been going on for more than a decade which included four judicial reviews of the Board’s refusal to recognize a disability pension entitlement. In all review cases, I am told that the Federal Court Trial Division sent the matter back to the Board for reconsideration.
 One certainly has the impression listening to the Appellant that he has not
been properly dealt with by the VRA Board and that his fight to establish his
disability pension rights has resulted in his losing his home and become
 His submissions reflect a genuine plea for justice which he feels can only be
achieved by someone rectifying the treatment he has had to endure. He wants the
Federal government departments that he holds responsible for the burdens he has
suffered made accountable. He seeks compensation and includes in his plea for it,
just and fair treatment from the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) taxation.
 This leads me to direct myself to the taxation issues that have drawn the
CRA into the Appellant’s line of vision as one the government agencies
responsible for his financial regression, as he puts it.
 In 2005, the Appellant launched his fourth action for judicial review of the
VRA Board’s refusal to award him a disability pension. He retained the services of
a prominent law firm. He paid a retainer and was quoted substantial fees, namely,
fees in excess of $40,000. His only source of funds was a modest RRSP (currently
valued at some $16,000 which includes a contribution that is at issue in this
 To fund the litigation he withdrew $44,000 from his RRSP. That was in
2005. However, his legal fees that year only came to $21,095. Realizing the
withdrawal was excessive, he returned $24,000 to his plan and claimed $23,000 on
his 2005 tax return as a deduction in calculating his net income for the year on the
basis that it was an innocent mistake to have taken it out. In effect, he sought to
treat the excess withdrawal as a non-event. I will note here, as well, that he claimed
the legal fees of $21,095 as a deductible expense on the advice, apparently, of his
The reassessment being appealed denied both deductions.
 Given that the most recent Federal Court review of the VRA Board’s refusal
to award the Appellant a disability pension has resulted in the matter being referred
back once again to the Board and given his hope of finally having his entitlement
to a disability pension confirmed, one might think that the Appellant will finally be
allowed to deduct his legal fees. However, that is not the case, at least not in
respect of the 2005 taxation year. The Appellant has repeatedly acknowledged that
he never received one cent of income from the pension source in respect of which
he incurred the legal expenses at issue. The relevant provision of the Income Tax
Act (the “Act”) allows that deduction only against the source of income in respect
of which the legal expense at issue is incurred. This leaves the Appellant in the
unfortunate circumstance that his legal expense deduction cannot be taken, at least
Minister, it appears to the Canadian Justice Review Board that on four separate occasions the Federal Court of Canada has found a lack of fairness and due process on the part of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board in this matter; a deficiency so serious that the Court saw fit to quash each VRA Board decision. Mr. Bradley appears to have a legal opinion from his federally funded Bureau of Pensioners’ Advocate (BPA) confirming that his claim has merit. This arguably constituting reasonable grounds for him to have believed that, considering the Federal Court judgments against the VRA Board, a pension or compensation would be forthcoming (from which he could then have properly deducted his expenses for tax purposes).
As you can see from Mr. Justice Hershfield’s remarks, Mr. Bradley’s financial resources have been no match for the deep pockets of the federally funded VRA Board. This tends to foster the public impression that the government favours a system of “justice” where the party with the most money wins (regardless of law). It also creates the impression that the VRA Board has been able to engineer a scheme, and a vicious circle for Mr. Bradley, which effectively ignores the rule of law contained in the Federal Court judgements against it. Considering also that the VRA Board knows, or ought to know, the limited mandate of the Bureau of Pensioners’ Advocate precludes it acting for anyone in Federal Court, Mr. Bradley was put to expenses he could ill afford (to paraphrase Justice Hershfield). This creates a concern that the VRA Board vindictively set out to bankrupt Mr. Bradley. Our understanding of Mr. Justice Hershfield’s remarks is that this is anything but justice.
Minister, we ask that you personally investigate this matter and rectify the situation.
William D. Nichol
Diary date: February 6, 2012
Mr. Brian C. Bradley, 33 - 9520 Bonaventure Dr., S.E., Calgary, AB T2J 0E5
cc. Hon. Mr. Jason Kenney, Member of Parliament for Calgary Southeast. House of Commons 325 East Block Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 & 1168 137 Ave SE Calgary, AB T2J 6T6; Fa: (403) 225-3504/
P.O. Box 4853 Station E, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5J1
There's more to come it seems....
Environment Canada braces for cuts to climate programs (over next three years...)
I might have missed this but here another link re: Parks Canada layoffs:
May be I'm stupid, but I can't understand WHY Canadians are reelecting him???
The Canadian Harper government is downgrading the protection of humpback whales off the coast of B.C. under the Species at Risk Act.
The move is being made as the government readies for a decision on the approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, which would feed oil onto a tanker shipping route that overlaps with what environmental groups describe as "critical habitat" for the whale.
Due for an update... Also, is anyone aware of a location where we can see what has been awarded funding (particularly in the area of the sciences) during the conservative governments time under leadership?
I'm not sure if you've seen our list of "Harper's Crimes Against Ecology" at Alternatives Journal. It's an environmentally-focused version very much inspired by your work here. Might be worth a look, especially if you're working on an update.
Hit submit too soon. I'm sure you're capable of googling, but a link would probably be helpful anyway: http://www.alternativesjournal.ca/policy-and-politics/crimes-against-ec…
An excellent list.
Something that should maybe be considered as an addition is this Case in Alberta - www.ernstversusencana.com - the timing of the legislation RE: the Responsible Energy Development Act, the implementation of the Alberta Energy Regulator, and the date the EnCana finally filed their Statement of Defence to Ernst's claims (years after her first Statement of Claim, when typical Alberta Rules of Court Require a Defence filed within 20 days.)
Looking at that case, it appears clear to me that the government spent nearly 10 years stalling Ms. Ernst's lawsuit in order to rewrite the legislation to make themselves (and Encana) not legally responsible for the Rosebud aquifer being contaminated by hydraulic fracturing activities and inadequate regulatory process. Ernst is hoping to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada after finding no justice in the Calgary Court.
Our family was similarly effected in Alberta and we chose to speak out though the documentary "Burning Water" and our website" www.rosebudsburningwater.wordpress.com
Thank you so much for making your article CCO., and investing so much time and effort on this. You have done a great service for Canadians.
The union representing scientists and other professionals in the federal public service is abandoning its tradition of neutrality in elections to actively campaign against Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Rather than reading the Archer stories solely as mysteries, thrillers, entertainments, and detective stories (though of course they can exist solely on that level for readers who are interested in them as such), we’d do ourselves a favor to consider them in a few other ways as well. In the massive reference work World Authors 1950-1970, published by the H.H. Wilson Company, Macdonald wrote that The Galton Case and Black Money “are probably my most complete renderings of the themes of smothered allegiance and uncertain identity which my work inherited from my early years.” Of course, in Black Money the smothered allegiance occurs between the lovers Ginny Fablon and Tappinger.
Chief doctor's demotion by Ottawa worries public health community - Health - CBC News
Members of Canada's public health community are expressing concern about intended changes to the authority of the country's chief public health officer, changes that strip the office holder of the responsibility of running the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Several suggest the move to demote the position from its current status as deputy minister to that of an officer or employee of the agency will weaken the office, which was created in the aftermath of Canada's disastrous SARS experience in 2003.
The changes, included in the current omnibus finance bill making its way through Parliament, give authority for running the agency to a president, a newly created position. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already named the new president: Krista Outhwaite, a career bureaucrat who has been the agency's chief operating officer. [...]
Dr. Perry Kendall, British Columbia's chief medical officer of health, said when the position of chief public health officer was envisaged, the decision to make the office holder a deputy minister was deliberately made.
The idea of having the agency run by a bureaucrat, not the chief public health officer, was considered and rejected, Kendall said.
"There is a rank and rank matters," said Kendall, who will retire next March after 15 years as B.C.'s chief doctor.
"And I am a little concerned that the chief public health officer does not have a deputy minister status to make him or her the equivalent to the deputies around the table. It makes a difference."
The position of chief public health officer of Canada was created on the recommendation of a report on the handling of the SARS crisis commissioned by the federal government of the day.
"The Government of Canada should create the position of Chief Public Health Officer of Canada," said the report, written by a committee of experts headed by Dr. David Naylor, who was then dean of medicine at the University of Toronto.
"The Canadian Agency for Public Health should be headed by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada who would report directly to the federal minister of health and serve as the leading national voice for public health."
The new proposed structure would shift responsibility for the budget of the agency to the president. As well, the president would be responsible for staffing the institution.
Concerned observers wondered how much authority this will give the chief public health officer to set the agency's public health agenda or direct its responses to infectious disease outbreaks.
Steven Hoffman, a global health law expert at the University of Ottawa, said the agency could have a bureaucrat as a manager without placing that person over the chief public health officer.
"It doesn't make sense. We had a good model that at least provided some measure of independence for the chief public health officer. And moving towards a model that's maybe more comfortable for the current political leadership and cabinet is not helpful for public health," Hoffman said.
Hoffman said the move is reflective of the current federal government's distrust of scientists. "There's been a pretty systematic effort by this government to silence science and ensure that scientists are not saying things that run against the government's political agenda."
Kendall said he has discussed the planned change with a number of colleagues in the public health community and all agree stripping the chief public health officer of the responsibility of running the agency will undermine the role and the agency.
"In our view it will significantly weaken the agency and the position and the influence of the chief public health officer and his or her independence," Kendall testified.
"The move seems retrograde to us and ignores the lessons of the past."
Remarks by Steven J. Hoffman to the
House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance:
Dr. Kellie Leitch, PC, MP Canada's Minister of Labour and Minister of State for the Status of Women will be delivering a lecture titled "Why Stephen Harper is Good for Science," Thursday February 5th, 2015, Dunning room 11 at 5:30pm. It would be great if anyone in the Kingston area could come and bring along some of the information listed here.
We have just learned that the lecture by Dr. Kellie Leitch, "Why Harper is Good for Science" has been cancelled.
Welcome to the conservative dark ages.
In studying the Lew Archer novels of Ross Macdonald I’ve tried to identify certain characteristics, themes, motifs, images – call them what you like – that crop up frequently throughout the various books. I don’t claim that the following are particularly important or have any special significance or meaning; nor do I say this is a comprehensive list. They are simply some things I’ve noticed in more than one of the novels. Some of these appear in quite a few of the Archers. In time I hope to post the results of reading through each of the books individually while searching for these ‘repeaters’.
In studying the Lew Archer novels of Ross Macdonald I’ve tried to identify certain characteristics, themes, motifs, images – call them what you like – that crop up frequently throughout the various books. I don’t claim that the following are particularly important or have any special significance or meaning; nor do I say this is a comprehensive list.
Apply today to be selected as one of the 20 Concordia University Summer Research Institute Fellows.
The Fellows will be housed in Concordia's Grey Nun's Residence at no charge. Additionally, breakfasts and lunches will be provided. Fellows are responsible for their own transportation to Montreal, and for dinners other than on the closing night.
Register by May 15th, 2015 to secure your spot!
In relation to all of this, it is not coincidental that the Long Form Census was scuttled by the Harper government and replaced by the equivalent of a colouring-book data gathering methodology that weakens our public policy strategies for facing social, economic and scientific challenges everywhere in Canada. The ideological continuum of Harper's conservatism leads to national ignorance.
I'm not sure if this should go under "war on science" but it most certainly fits under "war on anything that is bad for business - science included". It also shows the close ties between government and the corporate milieu. The Canadian Embassy in Bucharest has been actively involved in the extremely aggressive lobby to support the environmantally and archeolocically disastrous gold-mining project of Canadian company Gabriel Resources in Rosia Montana (Romania) to the outcry of the local scientific community: http://www.miningwatch.ca/urgent-action-stop-canadian-government-suppor…
It has emerged that GR (who later offered a comfortable seat in the board to former Canadian envoy to Romania who had lobbyed for them) has bought the sympathy of media outlets, public servants, politicians and academics who turned a blind eye to the countless clues that Rosia Montana was being served a rotten deal. The director of the Romanian Institute of Geology Ștefan Marincea, who said the geological surveys upon which GR based the minig project were forged to fit the GR needs was sacked abruptly and breifly forcibly confined to his office : http://www.bdlive.co.za/world/americas/2013/11/11/romania-doctored-maps…
A big change in 2012 was an official and unofficial reduction to the scientific research and experimental development tax credit (SR&ED). The credit was officially reduced for larger businesses. Unofficially, the bureaucratic demands became so cumbersome that a lot of small (and large) businesses stopped claiming the credit since more time was spent on dealing with the CRA than on actual development and innovation.
Two things that are now evident:  The CRA does carry out political work on behalf of the government as seen by the aggressive audits of environmental not-for-profit groups.  The government said they would go to direct funding model rather than a tax credit, and they did increase their budget for the NSERC IRAP program. However, two issues with this: (a) The current regime has shown they will only support projects and companies in ridings where their party members are MPs and (b) Whenever the government cuts a check, the company takes the money and then lays off all the works and move to Mexico. The Caterpillar plant in London, ON is a great example of this.
Very informative post! I encourage you to re-post it to UnpublishedOttawa.com, a social media website in Canada for current affairs, so we can share it with our audience. Its free to use. We promote all post on our social media channels and put a minimum of $5 toward each to ensure they reach an interested audience.
I've been trying for a while to find out more information about the harper inequities and have now found too much. I couldn't read your whole list as it made me sick with anger.
But I will come back to it. No pain, no gain.
We will get a stronger Canada out of this nightmare of a government.
Here's a biggie in 2015: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/cuts-to-md-phd-funding-greeted-with-horro…
http://cockblockscience.com #COCKblockSCIENCE #anyonebutHARPER #unmuzzleSCIENTISTS #unskewRESEARCH #unseatHARPER VOTE FOR SCIENCE
Now that Harper is gone, I strongly encourage the keeper of this list to continue it so that we can see how many of these changes Mr Trudeau reverses. We need to make sure that Trudeau keeps his promise on the re-establishment of science in Canada, and a list like this can be a measure of his response.
I need to speak from a personal standpoint on the consequences these cuts have had. My sister lost her position with the closure of her library. As someone who gave so much to her career, the devastation of this loss created such stress and grief that she recently passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack. This loss has been enormous to her family and perhaps was avoidable
Physical well-being completely depends upon a solid brain as all activities of the human body are controlled by your mind. Any disturbance in the mind will disturb the body giving rise to various abnormalities.
Defenses serve to protect your Builder Base and prevent as much damage as possible. Each defense has its own strengths and weaknesses, and its location in your village should reflect that.