The Canadian War on Science

By:  Chris Turner - An excerpt from the book 'The War on Science'

"If you look at the impacts of Bill C-38 and its policy cohort on environmental science, the agenda's real aims become all too clear. From the freshwater lakes of the ELA to the High Arctic  monitored by PEARL to the coastal waters where the Department of Fisheries and Oceans does its data-gathering to the creeks and rivers once protected by the Navigable Waters Act, the Harper agenda has steadily diminished the government's capacity to analyze and assess the health of the natural world. (The elimination of the long-form census has had a similar impact on the social sciences.)

By eliminating the pesky reports produced by organizations like CFCAS and the NRTEE (which repeatedly warned the government of its failure to adequately address the challenge of climate change), by closing down offices like the ones occupied by the DFO's marine contaminants program and Environment Canada's Environmental Emergencies Program, and by demonizing environmental groups and freezing their funding while they undergo nuisance audits, the Harper agenda has dramatically reduced the nation's capacity to respond to crisis.

And by muzzling scientists and obliging all government staff to direct queries to media officers armed with talking points, the Harper agenda has made it substantially more difficult for scientists to tell Canadians what is happening to the ecosystems in which they live and breathe. Do No Science, Hear No Science, Speak No Science -- that is the Harper agenda.

And if this agenda is most evident and most pronounced in environmental science, that is simply because it is a field most likely to uncover evidence that the government's paramount goal - to free the country's resource extraction industries from regulatory oversight in the name of rapid expansion - is wrongheaded, reckless, and damaging."

CHRIS TURNER is an author, speaker and strategist, providing Canada’s most authoritative voice on sustainability and the global cleantech boom. A National Business Book Award finalist for The Leap (which the Globe and Mail called “one of the most arresting arguments for building a green economy yet in print“) and also for The Geography of Hope; Turner is also the author of the international bestseller Planet Simpson.

A TEDx speaker in 2010 and 2013, Turner has appeared in Fast Company, Time, the Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Utne Reader, the Walrus, Canadian Geographic, and countless other publications; his expertise earning him nine National Magazine Awards, and two Governor General's Award nomination nods.

As the Green Party candidate in the 2012 Calgary Centre by election, Turner’s passion, platform and personality allowed him to post the best result ever by a Green candidate in Alberta.  His latest book, The War on Science, has already been heralded as “required reading for all Canadians.”  

When not writing or consulting, Turner enjoys life in Calgary, Alberta with his wife and two children.