The empire (seeks funds to) strike back


“I find your lack of faith… disturbing.” Greg Rickford, hoping a few bucks might help him learn some Jedi mind tricks to assist with silencing government scientists. And a sweet Halloween costume.vader_choke

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it, so I thought you should see it too.

Someone today sent me a recent article by Michael Harris on ipolitics, describing a letter that someone in the constituent offices of Minister of State for Science and Technology, Greg Rickford, sent to his party faithful. The article (behind a paywall) is here.

The letter (which I was also sent) that Harris writes about says a recent article in the Toronto star suggesting that Rickford might not be the best candidate for his current ministerial position are somehow unfounded (I have my own opinions on the matter), and seeks a fundraising campaign in order to better respond to these attacks (because Greg did such a good job responding himself to the issues of the day, apparently some money is required for assistance on this front). Here’s a copy of said letter, for your viewing pleasure:


A letter drafted by someone from the Conservative Party of Canada calling four scientists “radical ideologues” is a piece of comedy that I just couldn’t have come up with myself.

What’s not so funny is the implication of this letter- is the Minister of State for Science and Technology actually building a war chest to attack the scientific community? If so, scientists in Canada might well be worried about what it is Rickford is “quietly and diligently getting done” behind the scenes. Stay tuned…

UPDATE: October 8, 2013

“Federal science minister Greg Rickford not commenting on fundraising letter labelling some scientists ‘radical ideologues’”

6 thoughts on “The empire (seeks funds to) strike back

  1. Reblogged this on It's the Ecology, Stupid! and commented:
    For anyone who thinks that the phrase a “Tory War on Science” is an exaggeration, I offer this reblogged post from the brave government scientist at “Unmuzzled Science”. It records plans by Greg Rickford, the newly minted Minister of State for Science, to raise funds for attack ads against my friend and colleague Diane Orihel.

    Of particular note is the letter by Rickford’s assistant to his constituents, in which Diane is described as one of a group “radical ideologues” who are apparently seeking to besmirch Mr Rickford’s record.

    Well, as a typical tory puppet of the PMO, we can probably trust Mr Rickford to besmirch his own reputation. he has already demonstrated in public statements that he has little understanding of the way university research is communicated and published.

    But far more shameful is his apparent willingness to follow Joe Oliver in lashing out at fine Canadians like Ms Orihel, who are fighting their corner to keep the tory wrecking ball at bay.

    • Thanks for the reblog, Andrew. I agree with you- if anyone is to blame for the science community’s hesitation around Rickford’s abilities as a Minister for Science and Technology, it’s Rickford himself through his track record and statements.

  2. I am unimpressed by the claims being made in this article. Just looks like a confirmation bias circlejerk to me.

    • Hi Red,

      I didn’t think I was making any claims- just presenting the letter that was sent to Rickfords constituents. Do you think I’ve misinterpreted the letter? I’d be happy to hear your read of it- I’m happy to post alternative viewpoints on this.

      The letter is directed at the media, but also at the “radical ideologues” who have the gall to care about a government research facility in Rickfords riding. I guess the money could be used to present response op-eds or ads in the Toronto Star or competing media to set the record straight, but then I guess he’d also need to take out ads in the science journal Nature ( The fact that he seems to need to fund-raise to present a view of himself as someone qualified for the job he’s in seems concerning to me. Perhaps not to you?

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