Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Text Size

Harper Government Cuts to Science Overwhelmingly Detrimental and Out of Sync with Public’s Priorities, Say Surveys

Ottawa, February 6, 2014 - Canadians hoping to gauge the hazards of the Harper government’s ongoing budget cuts need look no further than the impact of the cuts on government science, concludes a new report by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) titled “Vanishing Science,” based on recent, separate surveys of federal government scientists and the public.

According to newly released data from a survey conducted by Environics Research, over 9 out of 10 federal government scientists (91%) believe cuts to federal science budgets – most of which take effect over the next few years – will have a detrimental impact on the federal government’s ability to serve the public. (Over half – 51% – already believe the impact to be very detrimental.) Moreover, the cuts are strangely at odds with the science priorities of the overwhelming majority of Canadians. A recent poll of Canadians, also conducted by Environics, reveals that nearly three-quarters (73%) believe public health, safety and protection of the environment should be the government’s top science priorities – some of the very areas that have come in for the severest cuts.

The report also reveals:

a significant majority of Environment Canada scientists (69%) believe Canada is doing a worse job of environmental protection than 5 years ago,

nearly 9 out of 10 scientists (86%) at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans believe recent changes to the Fisheries Act will hamper Canada’s ability to protect fish and fish habitat, and

8 out of 10 scientists (80%) at the National Research Council believe Canada has done a worse job over the past 5 years of advancing our international standing in technology and innovation, an area the Harper government has particularly touted as important to the economy and that includes so-called “basic research” – which the government has all but defunded.

Between FY 2012/13 and FY 2015/16, a total of $2.6 billion is slated to be cut department-wide from 10 federal science-based departments and agencies alone, of which $758.1 million has been cut so far. The cuts have already led to the loss of thousands of federal science jobs, and the elimination or reduction of scores of programs and vital resources. They have also led to the loss of some of the best and brightest scientific minds from government, including:

Dr. Michael Arts, an international authority on the health of aquatic ecosystems,

Dr. Kenneth Lee, once the country’s foremost oil spill expert who spent four months providing scientific expertise to efforts at cleaning up the 2010 Gulf oil spill, and

Jean-Pierre Gagnon, a former engineer with Transport Canada and one of North America’s leading experts on train cars carrying dangerous goods. Gagnon received an “affected” notice in April 2012 and left the federal government the following March 2013, shortly after convening a meeting with industry about the safety of the DOT-111 rail tank car – the same rail tank cars at the centre of investigations into the Lac-Mégantic tragedy of July 6, 2013.

“The Harper government’s efforts to balance the federal budget in time for the 2015 election are being built on deep, unpopular cuts to public science that put at risk Canadians’ health, safety and the environment,” said PIPSC President Debi Daviau. “These are not cuts to ‘back office operations,’ as the Finance Minister described them in 2012 – not unless by ‘back office’ he means Canada’s natural environment, air and water quality, the survival of other species, and the health and safety of all Canadians.”

Invitations to participate in the online survey of federal scientists, hosted by Environics Research, were sent to 15,398 PIPSC members – scientists, researchers and engineers – engaged in scientific work in over 40 federal departments and agencies. Of these, 4,069 (26%) responded between June 5 and 19, 2013. The survey is considered accurate + or – 1.6%, 19 times out of 20. A shorter public opinion survey was conducted by Environics of 1,003 Canadians between November 14 and 20, 2013. The results are considered accurate + or – 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 55,000 professionals and scientists across Canada’s public sector.

- 30 -

For further information:

Johanne Fillion, (613) 228-6310 ext 2303 or (613) 883-4900 (cell)

Download the full report

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...

OBIDIAH

obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

JOBS

First Nations Cultural Interpreter PM – 02 Riding Mountain National Park Seasonal Indeterminate

(May to October) From $54,543 to $58,764

Closing Sept. 19, 2014

Read More

Regional Media Officer– Temp (Until Nov 2015) –F/T Position

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / NDP Research Office

Location:131 Queen Street, Suite 10-02, Ottawa, ON

Responsibilities

Communicate regularly with regional media outlets (community newspapers, radio stations, student media, ethnic media, etc.) to propose ideas for interviews and opinion content Read more...

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Workforce Report

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that highlights initiatives to improve the workforce participation of Aboriginal peoples. 

Opportunity Found: Improving the Participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s Workforce (December 2013)  

click image to download report

Tue Sep 23 @ 3:00PM - 04:15PM
FNHMA National Conference 2014

EVENTS

September 2014
S M T W T F S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
imageimageimageimageimage
cartoonscartoonscartoonscartoonscartoons

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday

 

Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins