Science Policy

What the Franklin expedition says about Canadian research priorities
Publish Date: 24-SEP-2014 08:31 AM
The discovery of one of the long-lost Franklin ships is surely big news, archaeologically speaking. But it is also highly political. Not simply because Franklin is used as a symbol of Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, but also in the context of what has happened in recent years regarding federal science. 
 
Labelling GMOs about transparency, not health say advocates
Publish Date: 22-SEP-2014 09:04 AM
Advocates pushing for the government to adopt mandatory labelling regulation of genetically-modified foods may have received a boost, ironically, thanks to a recent Health Canada study. On June 10, Health Canada released a report, “Consulting Canadians to Modernize and Improve Food Labels: What We Heard,” detailing what Health Canada has learned about Canadians’ priorities on modernizing and improving food labelling. Within the grander nutrition and clarity concerns, a desire to better detail how and where food was made also emerged, including “labelling genetically-engineered or genetically-modified ingredients in food products and declaring the presence or use of pesticides, agricultural chemicals, antibiotics or growth hormones.”  
 
Canada missing out on green energy revolution, report says
Publish Date: 22-SEP-2014 08:50 AM
At a time when investment in clean energy technologies is growing worldwide, Canada is “looking the other way” and risks missing out on trade and growth opportunities, according to a new report from an advocacy group for green energy. The study from Clean Energy Canada was released Monday to coincide with the United Nation Climate Summit in New York City. It says Canada spent $6.5 billion on the renewable energy transition last year. That is minuscule compared to the $207 billion spent worldwide, including $55 billion in China alone. 
 
Stephen Harper’s climate change timeline
Publish Date: 19-SEP-2014 08:41 AM
A labour union representing federal scientists, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, would also estimate that the Canadian government was in the middle of a three-year purge, cutting nearly $3 billion in spending and up to 5,000 jobs from its science-based departments, including many scientific research positions and programs in charge of monitoring air, water, and wildlife. 
 
Canada needs a stronger stand on climate change
Publish Date: 19-SEP-2014 08:41 AM
Canada is running a sustainability deficit. But our politicians aren’t taking this seriously — they seem to believe that balancing a green and sustainable economy is less important than balancing its budgets. As British Columbian researchers who study sustainability and impacts of climate change, we believe Canada needs strong federal climate change policies and actions. 
 
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives Champion Democracy for Ukraine – for Canada, Not So Much
Publish Date: 19-SEP-2014 08:38 AM
Enthusiasm for fundamental democratic principles at home is under increasing threat, from social activism to scientific research. Perhaps the longest and most complete muzzling of freedom of expression has befallen federal government scientists, particularly those working in the areas of the environment and natural resources, in other words, the tar sands. 
 
Une étude pour rendre le réseau de la santé plus efficace (French)
Publish Date: 17-SEP-2014 03:37 PM
Un groupe de travail mis sur pied par l'Institut sur la gouvernance (IGOPP) propose des changements au réseau de la santé afin de le rendre plus efficace et, surtout, plus axé sur le patient. 
 
When it comes to science, Canadians care more than ever
Publish Date: 17-SEP-2014 08:35 AM
It was reassuring to hear the essential message of a report released last week by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) that aimed to assess the state of Canada’s science culture: that Canadians know and care more about science than ever, and they know and care more than the citizens of many other developed countries. 
 
The Canadian response to Ebola : a new science diplomacy ?
Publish Date: 16-SEP-2014 09:40 AM
In early August, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development (DFATD) announced that Canada would provide $3.6 million dollars to both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to help the international Ebola effort. This was not the first Canadian contribution; as early as April 18th, three ministers (International Development and La Francophonie, DFATD, and Health) had pledged nearly $1.3 million to address the Ebola outbreak. 
 
Oil and gas pollution committee quietly silenced
Publish Date: 16-SEP-2014 09:24 AM
Environment Canada appears to have quietly ended key discussions that were intended to tackle carbon pollution from the oil and gas industry. A committee made up of representatives from Environment Canada, the Alberta government and oil and gas companies was created in the fall of 2011 to develop options to reduce industrial greenhouse gases from the oilsands sector, the country’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions. 
 
The science minister seems to be in denial
Publish Date: 10-SEP-2014 11:40 AM
It’s not unusual for any government to deny the unpalatable until it finally becomes too counterproductive or absurd to do so. The government of Stephen Harper, however, has taken the practice of naysaying to breathtaking heights. Take, for example, the reaction of Science and Technology Minister Ed Holder to an editorial in The Telegram on Aug. 29. (Science Inc.). Faced with the fact that his government has systematically undercut any scientific pursuit that hinders its pro-business agenda, the minister has adopted the tried and true head-in-sand tactic. 
 
Canadian beekeepers sue Bayer, Syngenta over neonicotinoid pesticides
Publish Date: 08-SEP-2014 02:11 PM
Canadian beekeepers are suing the makers of popular crop pesticides for more than $400 million in damages, alleging that their use is causing the deaths of bee colonies.  
 
Scientists urge government to fund basic research
Publish Date: 05-SEP-2014 11:22 AM
A survey of 12 countries, including Canada, shows that scientists are concerned about the drop in government support of basic science in favour of applied research that leads to short-term benefits. While applied science is valuable and necessary to keep up in a competitive global economy, we need basic science as well to open new possibilities for true innovation. 
 
Put focus back on basic research, say science unions
Publish Date: 03-SEP-2014 02:03 PM
Geneviève Fioraso, France's minister for higher education and research, denies trade unions' claims her government wants science to have immediate economic returns.An unrelenting political push towards economic returns and short-term targets for research is endangering scientists' academic freedom in many countries around the world, the leading French researchers' union has warned…Canadian scientists, in particular, face a unique set of challenges as the government puts a squeeze not only on their funding, but also on their freedom of expression. 
 
Grassy Narrows : Why is Japan still studying the mercury poisoning when Canada isn’t ?
Publish Date: 02-SEP-2014 01:50 PM
By the time government scientists arrived in 1970 to do some testing, the people at Grassy Narrows and neighbouring Wabeseemoong First Nations had already eaten dangerous amounts of contaminated fish. The first tests revealed extreme levels of mercury in hair and blood. There has been no epidemiological study to establish the scope of the Grassy Narrows exposure, and no long-term tracking of what are now recognized as the life-long effects of ingested mercury, although an expert review by Canadian scientists in 2010 stated "there should have been extensive examinations and followup of these communities.” 
 
When science meets aboriginal oral history
Publish Date: 31-AUG-2014 01:28 PM
“Scientists are sitting around and academically discussing different theories about peopling of Americas, and you have all these different views on how many migrations, and who is related to,” he says. “Then when we actually undertake the most sophisticated genetic analysis we can do today, and this is state of the art, genetically — we could have just have listened to them in the first place.” 
 
Québec s’en remet à TransCanada (French)
Publish Date: 30-AUG-2014 01:19 PM
Malgré le fait qu’il ait essuyé uniquement des refus de TransCanada à ses demandes répétées d’un avis scientifique en bonne et due forme, le gouvernement du Québec a autorisé l’entreprise à mener des forages sous-marins dans le secteur maritime de Cacouna en vue de la construction d’un port pétrolier destiné à exporter du pétrole des sables bitumineux. 
 
Science Inc.
Publish Date: 29-AUG-2014 11:39 AM
Prime Minister Stephen Harper had another frosty message for scientists last week during his annual tour of Canada’s North. Peppered throughout the usual patriotic rhetoric were some key code words reinforcing his government’s agenda for publicly funded research. It’s simple, really. Science in the aid of industry is all that matters. Everything else is a burden or a waste of time. 
 
Why science literacy matters: Bob McDonald
Publish Date: 29-AUG-2014 11:32 AM
The good news this week that Canadians are tops when it comes to understanding science in the media is encouraging, but there is still a long way to go when it comes to making policy decisions that involve science. 
 
Is Canada a nation of science geeks?
Publish Date: 28-AUG-2014 09:20 AM
From knowing what a molecule is to endorsing government support for basic research, Canadians as a whole display a clearer understanding of and a more positive attitude toward science than people in most other developed countries. A new report, released on Thursday by the Council of Canadian Academies, offers the most comprehensive portrait of the country’s science culture in a quarter century. It comes at a time when economic competition abroad and complex policy questions at home surrounding issues such as climate change increasingly require decision makers and the public to have a basic level of fluency and comfort with scientific thinking.