June 5th, 2012 - 6:11pm

 OTTAWA – Today, MPs are debating a New Democrat opposition day motion calling on the Conservative government to stop its senseless attack on science and research.  The systematic silencing of scientific research is putting Canada in a dangerous position. Without a comprehensive understanding of scientific evidence, major environmental, social and economic decisions will be made based on ideology instead of fact.

 “The reckless Conservative budget cuts are yet another example of how this government sees science in this country. For them, research is only of use when it serves their narrow interests,” said NDP critic for Science and Technology, Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby-Douglas). “A government that truly respects accountability should not be afraid of dissenting views and should not try to silence evidence brought forward by Canadian scientists.  However, the Harper government has gone further than any in recent memory to ensure that the facts do not get in the way of their ideological agenda.”

 Core functions of many departments, like habitat protection or monitoring of air pollution, have been reduced, cut, or outsourced to private industry and even other countries. Combined with major cuts to Statistics Canada and First Nations data agencies, Conservative cuts to science and research will have negative impacts across Canada. 

 “The Conservative government is trying to muzzle scientists and hide facts from the public because they challenge their wrong-headed policies. That is bad news for Canadians,” said Laurin Liu, NDP deputy critic for Science and Technology.  “It’s even worse for research programs that have had their funding cut. I don’t understand why the Harper government is so afraid of science.”

 “Cuts to social science and research are also having a chilling effect throughout government departments,” said NDP Industry Critic Hélène LeBlanc (LaSalle-Emard).  “The information that we gather from agencies such as Statistics Canada is invaluable not only to government but also to businesses.  If the Conservatives continue on this track then its actions will have significant economic ramifications.”