Over the past several years, the Harper Government has waged an unprecedented war on science in Canada – in favour of advancing its fossil fuel agenda. This has prompted a series of rallies across the country this coming Monday, co-organized by the group Evidence for Democracy.
Rallies will take place in 16 cities, including Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Fredericton, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver (see below for a complete list with times and locations).
At the Vancouver rally – which takes place Monday, Sept. 16 from 11AM at the Vancouver Art Gallery – high-profile scientists like Dr. David Suzuki and salmon biologist Alexandra Morton will be joined onstage by leading conservationists Joy Foy from the Wilderness Committee and Dr. Craig Orr.
Morton has experienced firsthand the Harper Government’s “see no evil, hear no evil” approach to science as she’s tried to raise the alarm over salmon viruses in BC.
[quote]I have co-published on a European salmon virus in BC’s waters and have received no response from government, so I see the strong need to stand up for science. I believe our economy and our lives depend on it.[/quote]
Gutting environmental protections
The list of cuts to environmental laws, monitoring, enforcement and research under the Harper Government is too long to publish here – but here are a few of the big ones:
- Gutting important legal protections contained in the Fisheries Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, and many others – often driven directly by the energy industry
- Restricting public involvement in environmental assessments for proposed pipelines and other projects
- Slashing research funding to important Canadian projects like the Experimental Lakes
- Pulling the plug on vital environmental monitoring programs – like ocean and air pollution
- Cutting innovation funding for renewable energy, while other countries reap huge benefits from building a green economy
- Muzzling scientists and covering up Tar Sands and climate science
The list goes on and on – for a detailed review, I recommend Joyce Nelson’s story on the subject.
As Canada’s most recognizable advocate for science, David Suzuki has been the target of much of the Harper Government’s offensive. Following attacks from Harper and his Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, Suzuki extricated himself officially from his own foundation, so as to be able to speak freely without risking reprisals for the foundation. (Incidentally, Revenue Canada’s $5 million audit of environmental organizations – based on wild-eyed allegations of “money laundering” from Oliver – proved to be a total waste of tax dollars, finding not a single green group in violation of charitable laws).
In a story titled, “We ignore science at our peril”, published a few months ago in these pages, Suzuki noted:
[quote]We can and must change the way we act. That requires listening to scientists and those who are working on solutions, and not to the naysayers and deniers who would keep us stalled in a doomed spiral.[/quote]
A “Scientific Dark Ages”
To Morton, the covering up of fish science has been a constant concern – particularly the muzzling of DFO’s Dr. Kristi Miller after making important discoveries using leading-edge genomic research to zero in on salmon diseases.
“We’re in a form of scientific dark ages here and that was evident in the treatment of Dr. Miller, who discovered what is likely the cause fo the Fraser sockeye decline – a deadly virus,” Morton told The Common Sense Canadian by phone. “This government has has done nothing visible about Miller’s findings.”
Details for rallies across Canada
Vancouver Art Gallery – North plaza on Georgia Street, 11am – 1pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/364664120302614/
Contact: Pamela, S4S.Vancouver@gmail.com, 604-786-9521.
Salmon Arm, BC
Art Gallery front steps, noon – 1pm
Contact: Warren Bell, firstname.lastname@example.org
University of the Fraser Valley (33844 King Rd) – Meet on “The Green”, noon
Bring a lab coat and signs if you can.
September 14, Winston Churchill square, 2pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/569543279770489/
Contact: Krystal, StandUp4Science@outlook.com
University of Lethbridge, noon – 1pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/289078114564171/
In front of The Greenstone Building (5101 50th Ave), noon – 1pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/504283992999086/
University of Winnipeg (in front of Wesley Hall), 12:30 – 1:30
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/612342002158861/
South side of Queen’s Park, 11:45 – 1pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/371506262976184/
Press conference, City Hall, 9am
Parliament Hill, noon – 1pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/639576056054837/
Queens campus – Stauffer Library (101 Union St.), noon – 1pm
Contact: Raly Chakarova, email@example.com, 416-937-7302
Kitchener – Waterloo
Meet at Kitchener City Hall, 5pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/444399535673713/
Complexe Guy-Favreau, noon – 1:30pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/606078736081800/
Dalhousie Student Union Building, room 307, 1pm – 3:30pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/171325193051947/
Contact: Justin Singer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 647-407-2443
City Hall, noon – 1pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/122105531293444/
Contact: Jeff Clements, email@example.com
St. Andrews, NB
Information rally and barbecue
Water St and King St, 10am – 1pm
Contact: Caroline Davies, firstname.lastname@example.org
Background information on the Stand up for Science rallies is available here.