Canadian government axes science adviser

CBC reports that Canada's "national science adviser Arthur Carty would be retiring on March 31, and that the position and office would be phased out." To which I could only say: "Who would want the job anyway? You'd just be ignored and made to feel small and insignificant."

John Smol, a leading ecology professor and researcher with Queen's University, said he found the news "troubling and worrisome."

"Having someone in a position to advise the prime minister or a cabinet minister gave me more confidence in the process," Smol said. "There's so little of this contact between the scientific community and politicians. If you remove one of those major contacts, I don't see it as a positive thing."

Andrew Miall, the president of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada, said the society did not wish to comment on the government's decision. But the University of Toronto geologist, speaking as an individual fellow of the society, said in an e-mail he thought "it unfortunate that a line of communication between the scientific community and the government is to be closed off."

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The Canadian government will still be advised on scientific matters, by Lobbyists...

Yeah, our current government sucks. Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos...

What's with only a single science advisor anyway? If I were king (or even Prime Minister), I'd have a whole raft of scientific advisors. It's not like anyone can be an expert in all of science these days.

what's the next step? A politician rewriting the math curriculum for first graders?

The biggest concern is that it is not clear where the government seeks scientific advise. Government funded scientists appear to be considered too close; the Science Advisor office is dissolved; committees are struck to advise on specific major science issues or provide direction, but then not headed. This ad hoc approach leads to an inconsistent approach to making decisions, inefficient use of funds, and is more prone to errors in judgement. Science and technology are tightly coupled to near-term and long-term economic strength of the country--surely that makes it worthy of government investment.

John Smol, a leading ecology professor and researcher with Queen's University, said he found the news "troubling and worrisome."

Too bad! Seems unwise not to have a replacement ready right away!
Dave Briggs :~)