In May I wrote about how Stephen Harper was killing environmental science with Bill C-38. Since then, the bill passed easily and more and more cuts continue to be made to research and environmental programs in Canada. Since winning a majority, the Conservative party seems to have been systematically cutting down environmental policies and funding to major centres of scientific advancement– like shutting down the Experimental Lakes Area which is (was) known throughout the world as a leader in freshwater research. These budget cuts aren’t happening to just “fight an economic deficit”, Harper is muzzling federal scientists and trying to get rid of any evidence that might not support his political ideologies.
Scientists aren’t usually the big-protest-type, but on Tuesday hundreds of people marched to Parliament Hill to rally against these cuts and mourn the death of evidence. This has captured international attention which will hopefully put more pressure on the government as their shortsighted cuts to the environment come into the spotlight.
Regardless of political beliefs, I think that everyone should want to know that important decisions being made by our government are being made based on solid facts and research. We need evidence-based decisions, not decision-based evidence. These cuts and blows to science, research, and the communication of science in Canada shouldn’t just be worrisome to professional scientists, or “tree huggers”, or activists — these affect all Canadians and people around the world. Canada used to be considered a world leader in this field, and it’s sad to see where our country is headed.