Friday, January 25, 2008

Science, Schmience

Here we go again. Not only has Harper done away with yet another senior bureaucrat Liberal hack - he has eliminated his position altogether.

I suppose it's just as well. Harper had already moved the National Science Advisor from the Privy Council Office (where he might have actually had to listen to the guy) to a storage closet in the basement of Industry Canada from where he was permitted to advise the Prime Minister on vital science issues through a pair of soup cans and a string.

Bob McDonald of CBC's 'Quirks & Quarks' has something to say about all this:

No science in the PM’s ear: Canada dismisses National Science Adviser at its peril

The one scientist in this country who had direct access to the Prime Minister is being dismissed. Canada’s National Science Adviser, Dr. Arthur Carty, was appointed by former Prime Minister Paul Martin to provide expert advice on the government’s role in matters of science and science policy. Now, less than four years after the position was created, the Harper government feels that it’s no longer necessary.

The National Science Adviser is a voice of reason to the government over actions it should take on issues such as climate change, genetically modified foods, managing fisheries, sustaining the environment - any time the politicians need to be educated on the basic science behind those often controversial issues. Of course, decisions are seldom made for purely scientific reasons; all too often, the interests of industry, special interest groups or a misinformed public will cloud the scientific truth. The Adviser’s job is to provide clarity and perspective.

Dr. Carty is extremely well qualified for this position. He was president of the National Research Council for 10 years and a prominent professor at Waterloo University for 27 years, among other accomplishments.

Eliminating the National Science Adviser is the latest in a string of events showing how our current government, at least at the top level, does not seem to be interested in the scientific perspective.

He then goes on to explain exactly why the role of Science Advisor is so vital as a counter-balance to the corporate interests and hysterical ideologies that threaten to overwhelm the public agenda.

Go. Read.


  1. And thus we see the Harper Government™ well and truly do not want to be confused by the facts. Idiots.

  2. It is also possible that they don't want anyone around who might start screaming bloody murder when they shut off the indepedent, peer-reviewed grant funding completely (they've already reduced it significantly in terms of success rates).

    Science geek perspecive at my place.