Sunday, 8 July 2012

Science community to protest research cuts with funeral march

Science community to protest research cuts with funeral march: ..."A funeral procession — complete with a coffin, black-clad mourners and a scythe-wielding grim reaper — will make its way to Parliament Hill Tuesday as hundreds of scientists from across Canada rally in protest of federal science cuts.
Members of Canada's scientific community are staging the rally to mourn the "death of evidence" in what the rally's organizers say is the federal government's war on science.
Whatever values Canadians cleave to, they should be presented with evidence on the impacts of federal government policies and programs and be able to make informed decisions based on that information, said co-organizer Scott Findlay, associate professor of biology and former director the University of Ottawa's Institute of the Environment.
"The prevention of this evidence getting into the public domain, the consequence of that is that the public continues to be uninformed. And an informed public is the basis on which democracy depends," Findlay said.
"I think it's important for the public to understand that scientists are getting increasingly concerned about this. I'm hugely concerned."
The cuts, according to the organizers' media release, are being imposed on critical research programs in Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the National Research Council of Canada, Statistics Canada, through the closure of Experimental Lakes Area, the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory and the First Nations Statistical Institute, and through the elimination of the National Science Adviser and National Round Table on Environment and Economy.
It would be easy to say that scientists are upset because the cuts are resulting job losses, but the issues are much more fundamental than that, Findlay said.
"Every Canadian must surely be of the view that, if you're going to make a decision, especially if you're a government making a decision, it should be based on evidence. Sound evidence. And it's important that all the evidence be presented," Findlay said.
"And science is the best method that we have for assembling and collecting the evidence and bringing it forward into the public domain, relatively untainted by political agendas and ideology."
There is growing concern in many quarters about what is being viewed as the government's excessive information control. Several organizations say they are concerned with what they call the silencing of Canada's federal scientists."
And this is the link to the Death of Evidence rally on Tuesday, July 10th, 2012:

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