Greg Rickford? Really?


The Toronto Star published a well-written commentary by a number of scientists a few days ago lamenting Greg Rickford’s appointment as Minister of State for Science and Technology. Go give it a read if you have a few moments- I think it raises some genuine concerns regarding how Rickford will handle the file given his recent flip-flop track record with the Experimental Lakes Area (see how one man goes from this viewpoint, to this, in just one budget announcement).

Similar concerns regarding Rickford’s ability to function well as a minister of this file have been voiced by MPs in adjacent ridings, and there’s a great blogpost by Alison at Creekside that takes a good look at Rickford’s track record not just with ELA but with his most recent portfolio in Aboriginal and Northern Affairs. Even Nature blogged about it.

With the move, the FEDNOR file also moves to Rickford. FEDNOR is a pot of federal money used for economic development in Northern Ontario communities, and like many programs were subject to significant cuts. Previously, the file was with Tony Clement, who was criticized for having let the FEDNOR file take a backseat to his Treasury Board responsibilities. Interestingly, in a recent CBC interview with Clement, he opened the door to the possibility of FEDNOR dollars being used to help support ELA in the future (listen to the interview here). One wonders whether Rickford will be as inviting to the idea.

By putting Rickford in charge of the Science and Technology file, given his past performance of sticking to the party newspeak at all costs, one can only assume that this will not result in a thawing of relations between the current government and it’s resident scientists.

5 thoughts on “Greg Rickford? Really?

  1. The amusing statement that Rickford would be invited to any idea at all suggests that he has some control over the agency he has been appointed to? You and I both know that not one minister has absolute control over any department in the Harper government. All of them site as pawns for Stephen Harpers controllers. The conglomerates.

    • My real concern is that Rickford will hold some real animosity against the scientific community for all the heat he took over the ELA decision. He doesn’t necessarily strike me as a “forgive and forget” guy, and seemed pretty defensive and downright angry about the whole situation on his interview on CBC’s “as it happens” a few months ago (can’t find the link right now, will put it up later).

        • Yep- that’s the one (thanks anonymous internet reader). Some observations on that interview:

          1. He sounds like he’s trying to say he’s not taking it personally, but by the end of the interview, it very much sounds like he’s taking it personally. Our new Minister of State for Science and Technology.

          2. He blatantly dodges Carol’s questions, particularly as to why they didn’t seek an alternative operator prior to shutting down ELA if that was the government’s plan all along. (By the way, what’s happening with that anyway? Haven’t heard much since all the brew-ha-ha that the Province of Ontario was getting into the mix.) Shows a government moving in reactionary mode, vs. one making well-informed policy decisions.

          3. Rickford proudly reads from his queue card of talking points about government mandates, negotiating transfers and demolishing buildings that were “clearly” at the end of their life cycle (clearly, as families were living in them just 4 months prior to their demolition, full of researchers personal belongings).

          As a premonition of what’s to come, the ghost of Science and Technology future for this government is pretty terrifying.

  2. Reblogged this on through the luminary lens and commented:
    Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area is under threat of closure, along with ‘watered down’ environmental regulations. This is a reblog of one Canadian scientists report on the situation; for more background, it is best read in conjunction with my previous post on the weekly photo challenge: Fresh . . . Is the water.
    Best regards – Bruce

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