The anti-science party

We’re not making this up: when Conservatives convene in Calgary for their policy convention, there’s a proposal on the table to eliminate all references in the party’s policy book to an independent Chief Scientist to "advise and report to Parliament on scientific matters, and help coordinate science policy issues within government and internationally."

Just cross it all out. Let’s not have an Office of Chief Scientist "modeled on the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in the United Kingdom" and "mandated by Parliament to provide independent and balanced analysis of public policy issues related to science and technology… to enable informed decisions."

Scrap all that, and replace it with a “single window system” to review applications for large science projects.

Grassroots Conservatives in Brandon-Souris behind this policy proposal could very well be taking their cue from the Harper government. The Conservatives have already shuttered Canada’s Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Lab (PEARL) and pulled funding from the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, the Experimental Lakes Area and the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Data Center.  

Muzzling federal scientists goes hand and hand with gutting science projects. Last year, one of the world’s leading scientific journals Nature penned an editorial criticizing the Harper government for silencing government scientists. This year, the New York Times piled on.

When the unbridled development of natural resources is the priority, best not to let science get in the way.

Photo: jennfarr. Used under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence.

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