Wednesday, 22 January 2014

PM Harper has managed to silence our scientists

Duncan, B.C.'s Crofton Mill
Here is a CBC show that caught my attention. I think that even my readers in other countries will be interested: Silence of the Labs. They focused on three scientists.

There are many afraid to speak out on many diverse issues; from managers and employers, to healthcare staff. The Canadian Government's Omnibus Bill 38, which has decimated the scientific research we have come to laud, and closed government research libraries, demonstrates a government unwilling to choose both economics and the environment equally. It need not be one or the other. Ontario's lake research on acid rain, the west coast studies on the poisoning of animals by oil spills, academic research that has put us on the map; all this prior research was furthered by a country willing to care for flora and fauna. Too many depend upon the environment for a livelihood.

We depend upon research for information that shows the effects on socioeconomics: ecotourism, and our food supplies (e.g., fisheries, salmon), birds, tourism, jet stream transmission of pollution, conservation information.) Biology, ecology, conservation, pollution (i.e.,dioxins from pulp mills), and the potential effects of pipelines on Canada and Canadians are being silenced. For those who decline to speak out, or are muzzled, we do a disservice to those who will inherit this earth.

1. Dr. Peter Ross, Canada’s only marine mammal toxicologist, spent 15 years studying the increasing levels of marine pollution. In 2012, the federal government closed the Department of Fisheries contaminants program, dismissing Dr. Ross and 55 of his colleagues across the country. Dr. Ross used to give frequent interviews to the media about his studies into the contamination of Canada’s oceans.
 The discovery that killer whales in the NE Pacific Ocean are some of the most contaminated in the world.

2. Dr. Tom Duck helped found the world-renowned Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory, or PEARL. Located just 1,000 kilometres from the North Pole, the research station was a one-of-a-kind facility that provided scientific data on ozone depletion and climate change for scientists around the world. Then, in 2012, its budget was drastically cut. Without that funding for PEARL, Duck had to stop his research, and most of his colleagues left the country to find other work. Although a measure of funding was restored in the latest federal budget – $1-million a year for the next five years, or about two-thirds of what PEARL used to receive – the interruption came as a damaging blow to the lab.

3.  Dr. Pat Sutherland spent years on Baffin Island, uncovering artifact evidence that Norse explorers had been in the Arctic 1000 years ago. Her research made headlines, promoted scientific research, and grabbed that 15-minutes of media attention. She made it into the National Walk the Line; The Norse: An Arctic Mystery] In 2012, Sutherland was dismissed by her employer after investigators prepared a damning 400-page report. Her research project was shut down. Since then, she has not been able to access her decades of scholarly work housed in the museum. The reason for this? Many purport that her research in 1000-year-old explorations might jeopardize PM Harper's attempts to claim Arctic land, and her oil.

He's all about economics, politics and big business; not the land and its peoples.

According to one blogger, as well as The Fifth Estate, this is
'the willful intent of the conservative government is to BURY evidence of the first Viking settlements in North America, in favour of a "conservative friendly" version of BRITISH Colonialism.'

You can read one report by another researcher: Progress Report –  Verify the Existence of the Bronze Helmet and Other Artefacts Found by Inuit on the North Shore of Quebec  in this PDF.
It is vital to ensure that Dr. Patricia Sutherland can continue her research on the history of Arctic Canada. Pat Sutherland is an archaeologist who...

 Silence of the Labs
baffinisland_640bScientists across the country are expressing growing alarm that federal cutbacks to research programs monitoring areas that range from climate change and ocean habitats to public health will deprive Canadians of crucial information. Programs that monitored such things such as smoke stack emissions, food inspections, oil spills, water quality and climate change, have been cut drastically or shut down.

Crofton Pulp Mill Downplays Toxic Pollutants 

2005 - RWDI formed an international peer review team to look at the JW report, and found it to be lacking in clarity, key baseline information, and credibility: “The Report does not constitute a Baseline Human Health Risk Assessment...” 

[Pulp and Paper Mill Air pollution - particulates, dioxin, air ...]

Public hearings set to start into Peace River area emissions
EDMONTON - Some Peace River area doctors are afraid to speak out about health impacts of oil and gas activity... To prepare for the hearing, AER hired eight independent experts to provide advice on various issues, including possible health impacts, the chemistry of local bitumen, impact on livestock, and to track various vapour sources on the plant sites.

Librarians Say Cullings Signify Harper's New Information Policy
Closures and 'denigration' of library materials show trend to 'minimalist government.'

The 7 closed libraries contained irreplaceable material dating back 100 years on the state of the nation's oceans, freshwater and fisheries. E.G.,
  1. Eric Marshall Aquatic Research Library at the University of Manitoba, globally significant collections on ocean science research, 200,000 items. 
  2. Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre library in St. John's.
  3. One of the largest collections of freshwater science (61,000) in the French language at Maurice Lamontagne Institute in Quebec. 
  4. The historic marine science library at St. Andrew's Biological Station (SABS) in New Brunswick.  


Carol L McKenna said...

Informative post and photos ~ Ocean Alliance on Cape MA is a group that works world wide to study the whales ~ carol, xxx ~

Red said...

It's still unbelievable what Harper comes up with. It's still more amazing that we vote for the idiots.

Carver said...

This was an excellent post. Enjoyed the photography too.