Returning the shout-out

Holy carp! I just got a shout out to this blog from Dr. David Schindler in his recent op-ed found in the Royal Society of Canada spring 2014 update. What a pleasure to know he’s among the readers of this site. It’s only fair that I return the favour, you can read his discussion piece here:

In a nutshell, Schindler discusses the recent events around the Experimental Lakes Area within the context of the general decline of federal science (and democracy in Canada) under the current government. It’s well worth the read. Among my favourite passages is this:

“As F.R. Hayes, the Chairman of the now-defunct Fisheries Research Board of Canada, astutely predicted in his book on the history of the FRBC, The Chaining of Prometheus, managers in the civil service “will slyly slip sawdust into the oats of the research donkey until the animal becomes moribund.” As described below, under the Harper Government, the diet of DFO’s current research donkey appears to contain no oats whatsoever. It is high time that research to underpin environmental policy is once again done at arms-length from the political process, as it was under the Fisheries Research Board.”

Hear hear.

The other strategy that seems fully rampant under the current leadership is to keep the donkey tied to a post and walking in circles so that he can’t get at the oats (or sawdust) at all- filling out endless reams of paperwork and watching it creep it’s way through the administratosphere for approval to perform seemingly simple tasks, like seeking travel approval, requesting library books, trying to staff positions, publication approval… issues that are also well summarized by a recent anonymous comment on this blog.



4 thoughts on “Returning the shout-out

    • If it were simply a single minister then I don’t think the problem would be as systemic and pervasive as it is, cutting across multiple science-based departments (Statistics Canada, Health Canada, Environment Canada, National Research Council of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans….). If it is a single minister, then given that everything seems to be run through the PMO’s office, then the evidence would seem to suggest the Prime Minister; it certainly seems that no science-based department has gone untouched.

      • IS there any thing that I can do? I am not a scientist but someone who is horrified by what is happening and now it seems worse because it comes from the PMO’s office.

        • I think that the public can voice their opinion by writing to their MP, as well as members from other parties running in the next election and reminding them that we are all voters, and we all have an interest in the value of science in an informed democracy. As such, we have a great deal of power over the future direction of science in this country come 2015.

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