Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Anti-Science Harper: Whereby I Say (Again) - Q.E.D.

Back there, some two years ago, I discussed how Harper and his Harpies shut down the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS), all the while spinning about keeping it funded and even going as far as lying about what they were actually doing. One of the points I made as "note added in proof" was the following:

Indeed - ever since Harper and Co. took power in early 2006, science funding has been drying up all across the board in Canada. No shit. Really.

Hell - even a creationist is currently our Minister of ... Science and Technology! What else did you expect?

Results? Here's one.

Here's another one.

And another one.

And another one.


Whether it is about climate change, biomedical sciences, physics, chemistry, astronomy, astrophysics, et al. - Harper and his Theocons are effectively killing scientific research in our country.

And guess what? They ain't done yet (emphasis added):
HARPER: (...) But we do have to cast our minds in terms of the economy, in terms of our budget, to tackling the deficit. That will obviously be the next phase to ensure that the extraordinary measures we’ve had to undertake don’t result in a permanent deficits. Right now we do have, we still have the lowest deficit in major industrialized countries; we have the lowest debt ratio but those assets have to be protecting through prudent management and our focus will start to be on exit strategies from the extraordinary fiscal measures we’ve undertaken.

(...) I won’t speculate on what will be in the budget but I will say — and you’ll hear me say this both nationally and internationally because as you know I’m chairing the G8 and co-chairing the G20 — that we’ll be talking about, both nationally and internationally, the necessity of continuing the stimulus measures in the short-term but beginning to think in the medium term about serious exit strategies from some of these economic measures. And also how to continue to advance key economic priorities in a period of constrained spending growth which we will need to see in the next few years. We still have to be able to advance key files that will continue to build the strength of the Canadian economy.

I’ve given my cabinet ministers — all of my cabinet ministers now — comprehensive mandate letters to re-examine their priorities in terms of this major direction. We’ll also review all government legislation. We’ll decide what we’re going to proceed with. We’ll decide what we may combine. We’ll decide what we’ll drop and, of course, we’ll be taking a look at what new measures we might be able to introduce going forward.
"Security" expenditures and generous (free) money to banking institutions aside (of course), wanna bet where there will be further budgetary cuts to reduce Teh Deficit?

I won't give the obvious answer. Instead, I'll let our Prime Poseur say the closing words (emphasis added):
So look: I’m convinced that the country, this country, will be a positive contributor to a realistic fight against climate change. But ultimately, this government, the national government, will make those decisions and it will make those decisions in a way that treats all parts of the country fairly.
How reassuring, n'est-ce pas?

How reassuring indeed - case in point (emphasis added):

Environment Canada cuts eliminating research, monitoring and partnerships

Scientific research, monitoring and partnerships are disappearing from Environment Canada's budget as part of a multimillion-dollar reduction in spending. Here is a partial list of cuts confirmed by the federal government.

* Emergency disaster response: Spending reduction of $3.78 million per year as part of nationally co-ordinated model. Environment Canada can continue to provide information and advice ``from a centralized location.''

* United Nations Environment Programme Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS)/water: Canada has managed the international database examining water quality around the world since the 1970s, but will save $851,000 per year by 2014-15 by ending its funding and asking another country to take over.

* Canadian Environment Technology Advancement Centres: Centres established in 1994 with funding from Environment Canada to offer advice and support to small businesses for commercialization and development of new products. But government says other organizations must jump in to support because Environment Canada ``does not have the mandate or accountability to develop an environmental industry in Canada.'' Anticipated savings of $1.2 million per year.

* Research on industrial emissions measurements: The department to achieve annual savings of $718,000 by moving away from doing its own measurements of industrial pollution, and relying instead on outside sources of measurements to be assessed and reviewed for quality assurance.

* Urban waste water research: Environment Canada aiming to save about $1.2 million per year mainly in areas of wet weather and wastewater technology research.

* Waste management: Environment Canada aiming to save about $400,000 per year by reducing waste management activities since this is the responsibility of the provinces and municipalities.

* Integration of monitoring for water and air quality: Government says there is duplication and is projecting savings of $4.9 million ``by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of environmental monitoring,'' including reduction in number of ozone monitoring stations. Scientists have asked the government for evidence supporting its plans to reduce spending on monitoring.

Oilsands monitoring is not affected since it is supposed to be funded by the industry.

* National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy: Environment Canada projects savings of $5.2 million annually by eliminating the advisory panel, established by the Mulroney government to do research and special projects informing decision makers about the links between business and protection of the environment.

In other words, we have the typical hypocritical and intellectually dishonest, outright mendacious, Harper & Co. double-talk - i.e. "less is more" and "let's private/corporate/industrial interests perform 'responsible', 'voluntary', monitoring" ... ri-i-ight - here's what I wrote in this respect 5 years ago (emphasis added):

As the Harper conservative minority government keeps backtracking and spinning on the Kyoto Accord while standing against reducing (let alone getting rid of) tax breaks to oil producing companies, and with coal, gas plants and tar sand operations in Alberta now being the worst greehouse emitters of the country, it looks as if Canada's earned reputation as a world-leader on the environment question is gradually going down the drain.

But we are not quite yet from going all the way of the Bush administration and its love for, to paraphrase former Vice-president Al Gore, "Big Oil, Big Energy and Big Corporations".

Now, I am all for a free market-based economy. Competition drives initiative and creativity, leading to better (or new) products as well as to better (or new) services, and henceforth to a better and greater choice for consumers. This in turn will usually translate well into job creation or maintenance, along with better salaries. And this in turn will usually translate into better individual spending powers and higher standards of living.

However, trusting in corporations to "do the right thing" with regards to the welfare of society and/or the environment is pure nonsense. The reality is that companies live by one thing and one thing only: the bottom line. Hence, companies will do anything, regardless of whether they initially had good intentions or not, to keep profits not only high but also to increase them as well. In other words, companies will cheat, lie or steal, even go as far as to use spying, sabotage and violence, as means to protect and increase their profit margins. This is simply the nature of the beast.

Five years ago, we were "not quite yet from going all the way of the (G.W.) Bush administration".

But today, now we are "there".

So all I can say is - Q.E.D.

"Going down the drain", indeed ...

And whoop-dee-doo ...


  1. Welcome back, Mentarch.

    It's an anti-knowledge regime. There are the cuts to hard science (the NRC is being morphed into a business apps incubator) as well as tons of cuts to data collection be it the census, aboriginal health data, poverty data, women's health data, etc.

    Plus there is a suppression of citizen access to knowledge at play. The death by a thousand cuts to the CBC is one example as is the cancellation of the Computer Access Program.

    1. That is what authoritarian, anti-science and anti-knowledge theocrats do. That is all they know to do ...


Please feel free to comment on APOV. However, remember to keep in check your tone and respect for all here. Let rational, reasoning, enthousiastic and passionate conversations and discussions rule first and foremost in our participatory democracy, so as to facilitate the free exchange of reality-based facts and ideas. In between, do not forget to have fun and enjoy yourselves ... in other words: keep on rockin'! - Mentarch