Thursday, August 06, 2015

Why I will NOT vote for Harper:Part 2 (Censuring of scientists)

Harper Government's Censuring of Scientists 

Second in a series of mini-blogs on
Canada's federal election to be held 19 Oct. 2015.
DaBa, pen name of a Guest Blogger, wrote the blogs.
My comments follow the  blog
Stephen Harper's information policies muzzle scientists in dealings with the media:
For example, climate change researchers from Environment Canada have been prevented from
  • Sharing their work at conferences;
  • Giving interviews to journalists;
  • Even talking about research that has already been published. 
Similarly, scientists in departments that deal with natural resources, health, fisheries and oceans have also felt the pinch of the muzzle. Nine out of 10 federal scientists feel they are not allowed to speak freely to the media about their research
In 2013, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), representing 20,000 federal scientists, found that
  • Hundreds of their members reported being asked to exclude or alter technical information in government documents for non-scientific (political) reasons;
  • Thousands reported being prevented from responding to the media or the public.
As a result, PIPSC abandoned its tradition of neutrality in elections to actively campaign against PM Harper.
Harper's policy of preventing scientists from talking to the media, even about their published papers, is difficult to understand.
  • Harper shackles science done by Canadians working in federal departments when it doesn’t serve his political interest;
  • He prevents research from being published, even research done in collaboration with international scientists.
Such policies make a joke of Canada. We're a democracy yet Harper's actions resemble those of the authoritarian regimes of the former USSR

Of note, when PIPSC goes to the bargaining table this year, it will seek a clause guaranteeing scientists the “right to speak. They say Canada is the first country in the world where scientists have sought that kind of clause in a contract.

You know it's bad when the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) sends a letter to Harper urging him to knock it off: Prime Minister urged to end clampdown on scientists.

Scientists are quitting their jobs and will increasingly leave a stifling environment. Harper's policy routinely suppresses not only big science but even minor scientific news. Why? Because he has to control everything? That's what control freaks do.

Shackling scientists has consequences: it weakens Canada's ability to deal with ongoing and future environmental issues that affect us all
Harper also puts politics above scientific evidence as when he tried to shut down Vancouver's Insite safe injection site, but was overruled by Canada's Supreme Court, which stated
  • The evidence indicates that a supervised injection site will decrease the risk of death and disease, and there is little or no evidence that it will have a negative impact on public safety.
In response Harper created Bill C-2 designed to make it difficult for new sites to open. The bill is opposed by the Canadian Nurses Association and others.

Similar to his controlling the media, Harper seeks to control scientists, undermine scientific evidence, and weaken democracy. That's how he consistently behaves, folks. It's our Prime Minister's brand. He does Canadians a disservice and does not deserve our vote.

As always, comments are most welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.