Canadian scientists hold forum to protest government cutbacks

October 7, 2014

A group of Canadian scientists calling themselves "Scientists for the Right to Know" held a forum last week to raise awareness of the effects of government cuts to research. Entitled “Imposed Ignorance,” the forum featured a panel discussion with former Chief Statistician of Canada Munir Sheikh, former head of the federal public service Mel Cappe, and uToronto professor David Hulchanski. The panelists each offered testimony regarding how individuals and agencies have been silenced through moves including the cancellation of the mandatory detailed census, the auditing of charities that speak out on public issues, and the censoring of an Environment Canada climatologist who had written a science-fiction novel about global warming. The group also highlighted government elimination of programs including the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, the Law Commission of Canada, the National Council of Welfare, and the Canadian Council on Learning, as well as cuts to Statistics Canada, Health Canada, and Environment Canada. “It’s easy to wreck something that’s working well and it’s hard to make it work again. When the muscles atrophy, it is very hard to pick up weights. It will take a long time to recover,” said Hulchanski. Toronto Star