Local Liberals protest cuts to environmental sciencePosted Jul 26, 2012 By EMC News
EMC News - Eastern Ontario and Leeds-Grenville Liberals were on Parliament Hill last week - along with thousands of scientists in white lab coats - to protest Steven Harper's cuts to the science needed to support good decisions on environmental protection and other issues.
Marjory Loveys, Policy Chair of the Leeds-Grenville Federal Liberal Association, attended the rally, along with Ted Hsu, a physicist and the Liberal MP for Kingston and the Islands, who was the only federal politician who spoke to the crowd.
Scientists who attended decried the total elimination of work that finds long-term solutions to water pollution and finds linkages between smoking and breast cancer. Others noted that money to help companies commercialize "greener" technologies is also drying up.
According to a press release, Hsu spoke of the way scientists exchange ideas and accept criticism, and how this strengthens the conclusions they reach. He drew the parallel with governments, suggesting that listening to all sides of an issue - including critics - results in better decisions.
"Slogans are no substitute for hard work and science," he told the crowd, urging all Canadians to "stand up and ask for the evidence" to support government decisions.
"When Harper first talked about cutting the public service he suggested that the cuts would have no impact on Canadian citizens," said Loveys. "The reality is that the termination of scientific efforts to find ways of protecting our freshwater means that we will not know what to do when our lakes and rivers have problems. And I cannot understand why Harper would cut work on preventing breast cancer."
"It seems as if Mr. Harper is targeting any science that might show the need for the government to act, especially to protect our environment."
For example the work of the Experimental Lakes Initiative (ELI) was of such good quality that both the Canadian and U.S. governments used the evidence that it produced about acid rain to demand that coal-fired plants reduce their emissions. Their work also identified phosphates in soap as the reason that the Great Lakes were full of algae, and resulted in government action to reduce the use of phosphates.
Now the ELI is in the middle of studying the effects of oil sands projects on freshwater in Alberta and the north. According to the release, the government has ordered the complete shut down of the ELI and the removal of the equipment so that no one can use it in the future. The ELI was costing each Canadian only six cents per year.
The rallying cry on Parliament Hill was "No Science, No Evidence, No Truth", and many expressed concerns that, without good science, decisions will be made on one person's opinion. This will result in a future that is poorer for all of us.
Submitted by the Leeds-Grenville Federal Liberal Association.
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