Scientists Storm Ottawa After Harper Government Cuts Environmental Protections and Research Again

Canadian scientists are taking to the streets in protest of the Harper government's latest cuts to scientific research and its increasingly backward environmental policies.

Over the last several weeks, the government has shut down major research institutions such as the iconic Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), eliminated funding for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science, and passed a budget bill which cuts government jobs for scientists and scraps pollution control programs.

The Harper government has made no bones about the energy future it envisions for Canada.  Alberta's oil sands lay at the center of not only the government's energy plan, but also its economic plan.  Now, it is becoming abundantly clear that if environmental protections get in the way of this plan, they wil be removed.  Hence Canada's withdrawl from the Kyoto Accord and its awful record at international negotiations on a new, legally-binding climate pact.

Scientists have reached their boiling point.  In their second act of protest in less than a month, scientists have donned white laboratory coats today and are walking the streets of the nation's capital.

The UK's Guardian newspaper has captured some of the sentiment from Canada's environmental scientific community.

Andrew Weaver a climate scientist at the Uinversity of Victoria told the Guardian: 

It's not about saving money. It's about imposing ideology. What's happening here is that the government has an ideological agenda to develop the Canadian economy based on the extraction of oil out of the ALberta tar sands as quickly as possible and sell it as fast as it can, come hell and high water, and eliminate any barriers that stand in their way.

Maude Barlow, the chair of the Council of Canadians, and a former United Nations advisor on water said:

The Harper government is the most environmetnally hostile one we have ever had in Canada. Harper pulled Canada out of the Kyoto protocol, gutted the Fisheries Act (our strongetst freshwater protection law), and hallowed out our environmental assessment legistlaion, making it easier for extractive industries to get licences to exploit. It is heartlessly shutting down a program that costs very little to run given the incredible benefits it brings, in order to silence the voices who speak for water.

Finally, John Smol, a freshwater lake biologist at Queens University shared his thoughts on the closure of the ELA:

In my view there are a lot of attempts in this country, and other countries too, to push through resource-based economies. People working at ELA are constantly finding reasons why you can't just put a pipeline here, or an industry there, because there are going to be environmental costs.


He’s in Calgary for Stampede.  (No, I didn’t get him to flip pancakes for me.)

Lets not forget PMO Pest Control;

Just spray your scientists with this “anti science dogma goo” to make your problems go away.

This twitter hashtag has tweets from attendees, media, some rightwing trolls, etc:

I would take to the streets too if someone was to cut my gravy train!

No more feeding at the “AGW” trough for these folks, they will have to learn to make a living the honest way for a change. This was bound to happen, expect to see a lot more of it if Romney gets elected.

How ignorant of you to think scientists are not honest, hard workers. The thing is that their discipline does require honesty and objectivity.

Are you stupid?  Or merely ignorant?  Tell me which.  Please.  You didn’t even read the article.

The environmental scientists in question do all kinds of stuff.  But I guess you have to attack climate scientists.  That’s what you’ve been trained to do.  Parrot see, parrot do.

Monitoring toxic emissions… axed those jobs.  (Funny… but they created quite a few jobs with their work… Sulpher emissions reduction is exceedingly difficult.

I guess you like acid rain, right?  Which brings you do these guys;

The Experimental Lakes Area was used to determine quite a lot effects of toxins on the environment.  Like… dumping cleaning detergents and acid rain.

And dead fish…  you LOVE dead fish in your water. That must be it.

Harper has gutted the Fisheries act.  I’m sure that has nothing to do with all the Simpson’s like Blinkies we’re finding in the tar sands.  (This has already been clearly linked to Tar Sands atmospheric emissions.  and under the old act… the federal government could order the companies in the tar sands to clean it up.)

All this, and we still haven’t gotten into the federal ‘minders’ for scientists and censorship.  Lara, having lived in White South Africa, I can assure you that censorship works unbelievably well.

For some homework Lara, I suggest you start by reading George Orwell’s 1984.

I leave you with Blinky!  Canada’s new mascot!

So… scientists with the Experimental Lakes Area discovered the causes of acid rain.

Resulting in solutions and the creation of jobs in Calgary no less.

The purpose of that device is to adjust the oxygen mix in a refinery exhaust stack in order to reduce sulphur emissions.  (You need a Phd and sound science to build it.  So its something conservatives wouldn’t understand.)

And all this was supported by active monitoring to understand and improve the situation.

Curious, but where does all that sulpher go?

Sales.  It makes money.

And Harper is ending all that.  The Harper Government wants more acid rain… more pollution.  What’s all that environment crap anyways?

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