Science Policy

Wobbling on Climate Change
Publish Date: 11-NOV-2014 09:58 AM
I’m a climate scientist and a former astronaut. Not surprisingly, I have a deep respect for well-tested theories and facts. In the climate debate, these things have a way of getting blurred in political discussions. 
 
Canada’s Union of Federal Scientists Gets Political, Commits to Campaign Against Harper Government
Publish Date: 11-NOV-2014 09:52 AM
In an absolutely unprecedented move Canada’s Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) announced it will engage in political activity in the lead-up to and during the next federal election. “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions,” PIPSC president Debi Daviau said in a press release. “This government has forced non-partisan organizations such as ours to make a very difficult choice: to remain silent or to speak out. We have chosen to speak out,” added Daviau. 
 
Tony Clement’s Orwellian ‘open government’ plan
Publish Date: 10-NOV-2014 09:48 AM
Seeking to combat his government’s reputation for secrecy, suppression of information and closed-door decision-making, Treasury Board President Tony Clement unveiled an ambitious “action plan on open government” last week. It was so totally disconnected from reality that the initial reaction in the nation’s capital was incredulity. Bitter criticism followed. He pledged to “maximize access to federally funded scientific research,” with no explanation of how this will happen when all 20,000 scientists on the federal payroll are muzzled by his government. 
 
Muzzled scientists : The challenges of reporting on climate change in Canada
Publish Date: 07-NOV-2014 09:43 AM
Yesterday, CJFE held an online chat, “The Chill in Canada’s Climate Science” to discuss the growing issue of climate change scientists being muzzled by the Canadian government. Moderated by CJFE’s Executive Director, Tom Henheffer, the event was held as part of the global campaign to end impunity. The two panelists for the discussion were Raveena Aulakh, environment reporter at the Toronto Star and Dr. Tom Duck, a leading atmospheric scientist. The panelists discussed the increase in censorship that scientists working for the federal government now face, and the challenge this poses to informing the Canadian public of crucial scientific matters that affect them, such as risks posed by climate change.  
 
Union launches political but ‘non-partisan’ campaign
Publish Date: 07-NOV-2014 09:41 AM
More than 400 delegates at the annual meeting of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) voted Friday to “take all necessary” political action – short of becoming partisan – to prepare for the 2015 election and a round of collective bargaining that could end with most members on strike. 
 
Federal scientists and professionals union to campaign against Harper
Publish Date: 07-NOV-2014 09:39 AM
The union representing scientists and other professionals in the federal public service is abandoning its tradition of neutrality in elections to actively campaign against Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) says delegates to its annual general meeting have agreed the union should be more politically active heading into next year’s federal election. 
 
Republicans, Meet Science
Publish Date: 04-NOV-2014 09:25 AM
Just days before the midterm elections, we got the latest alarm: The globe is heating up like a griddle, and we’re just lolling here like eggs. This happened on Sunday, when a United Nations panel issued what The Times called its “starkest warning yet.” But while the report made headlines, it didn’t make the campaign. Like other big issues being shelved for some later, scarier day, climate change wasn’t high on the agenda, especially for Republicans. 
 
Des scientifiques de 32 pays critiquent Harper (French)
Publish Date: 22-OCT-2014 12:44 PM
Plus de 800 scientifiques de 32 pays ont adressé une lettre au premier ministre Stephen Haper l'exhortant à rétablir le financement et la liberté d'expression des scientifiques oeuvrant au sein du gouvernement canadien.  
 
Des chercheurs dénoncent les politiques du gouvernement Harper
Publish Date: 22-OCT-2014 08:37 AM
Les chercheurs dénoncent les coupes du fédéral qui nuisent à leurs travaux, mais aussi les « politiques de censure » et le « bâillonnement » du gouvernement dont ils se disent victimes. « Il y a 25 % de nos chercheurs qui se sont fait dire par l'employeur de changer leurs mandats de recherche ou leurs rapports pour satisfaire le gouvernement conservateur. C'est inacceptable. Ils nous bâillonnent », déplore le directeur de l'Institut professionnel de la fonction publique pour le Québec, Yvon Brodeur.  
 
Plus de 800 scientifiques de partout autour du monde critiquent le Canada (French)
Publish Date: 21-OCT-2014 12:43 PM
Dans une lettre ouverte adressée au premier ministre Stephen Harper, plus de 800 scientifiques de partout à travers le monde critiquent ce qu'ils qualifient du déclin rapide du financement et de la liberté des scientifiques du gouvernement du Canada. Les 815 signataires provenant de 32 pays déplorent que le travail des scientifiques canadiens soit entravé par les compressions dans leurs budgets et par des contraintes sur leur liberté de voyager, de communiquer et de collaborer avec leurs collègues des autres pays. 
 
The Royal Society of Canada Issues a Position Paper on the Importance of Research in Canada
Publish Date: 20-OCT-2014 03:11 PM
The Royal Society of Canada has published the first in a series of position papers intended to serve as constructive additions to policy conversations about research and scholarship in Canada. 
 
New Ebola guidelines: Testing in Ontario labs for quicker results
Publish Date: 17-OCT-2014 02:42 PM
When Ottawa went through an Ebola scare earlier this week samples from the suspected cases had to be sent to a national laboratory in Winnipeg for examination before the all-clear was given. 
 
Ebola: WHO admits it botched response to outbreak
Publish Date: 17-OCT-2014 02:39 PM
Texas health care workers who were exposed to the deadly Ebola virus are being asked to sign legally binding documents agreeing not to go to public places or use public transportation. 
 
REUTERS SUMMIT-Global climate deal should be legally binding in parts: U.S
Publish Date: 14-OCT-2014 03:00 PM
The United States wants to broker a global agreement on climate change that would contain some legal elements but would stop short of being legally binding on an international level, the country's top diplomat on climate change issues said. 
 
Leona Aglukkaq is silent on altered evidence in frog memo
Publish Date: 04-OCT-2014 11:32 AM
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is offering no explanation for a mysterious memo sent from a senior bureaucrat to the environment minister that incorrectly summarized scientific evidence from a secret report. The memo, released through a court challenge, contradicted the warnings from an Environment Canada scientist about “imminent” danger from a major residential real estate project near Montreal that is threatening the survival of a critical population of western chorus frogs, protected under federal endangered species legislation. 
 
Scientists rail against imposed ignorance: Goar
Publish Date: 02-OCT-2014 11:18 AM
A year ago, a handful of Toronto scientists decided they could no longer watch helplessly as the government of Canada systematically stifled information on everything from climate change to drug safety. They formed a collective called Scientists for the Right to Know. This week, they held a public forum at the Munk School of Global Affairs. It was called Imposed Ignorance, a panel discussion highlighting what Canadians are losing and why it matters. 
 
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.