Friday, January 2, 2015

2015: Day Two

H/t The Toronto Star

Well, it is good to know that Star letter-writers have lost none of their edge over the holiday season. Responding to the paper's recent editorial lacerating the Harper regime's science policy ("Whatever the government’s motives, whatever it understands or does not about how science works, it has over the last eight years devastated Canadian research in a way that will be hard to reverse.") they offered the following:

Re: Canada needs a brighter science policy, Editorial Dec. 28
A lack of national science policy is fallout from the Conservative strategy of pitting one end of the nation against another, favouring pipeline-rich Alberta and shunning Ontario, for example.

There is no mechanism for uniting Canadians against this divisive, undermining approach. Stephen Harper has made clear that those who do not subscribe to his views are on his “enemies” list, and this would include scientists and other intellectuals who would challenge his free market doctrine.

The disrespect Harper has shown scientists, Statistics Canada, and others such as veterans and aboriginal peoples, is a form of contempt all Canadians should note come the next federal election.

Unlike the openness and enthusiasm for science joyfully brought forth to Canadians by Commander Chris Hadfield, Harper has silenced the dialogue about any policies Canadians value as fundamental to our democracy and impeded the future of Canada’s membership in a worldwide community of scientific research.
One has to wonder about his motives. It is time for Canadians to stand up.

Diane Sullivan, Toronto

The Harper government has taken us back several decades in our understanding of our relationship with the natural world, decades we may not be able to recover. Degrading our natural systems — wetlands, lakes, rivers, forests, wildlife, diversity of species and atmosphere — and calling the resultant increase in GDP a benefit to society is counterintuitive.

Instead of reveling in the exploitation of the sources of our water, food, air, flood protection, erosion control, soil fertility, resilience to diseases or invasive species, and protection from climate change, it would be far more productive to develop National Accounts that place a value on the assets of our natural world.

We continue to devalue the natural world of which we are a part and is essential for our existence, at our own peril.

Melanie Milanich, Toronto

With Stephen Harper’s Conservatives intent to push science back to medieval times, it may be time for Canadians to embrace those efforts and get with Harper Times. Issue all conservatives a bell to be worn in public. They have become pariahs of society, like the lepers of old, and should be treated as such.

How a party representing less than 40 per cent of the electorate can be allowed to systematically dismantle our democracy and scientific institutions shows the current first past the post voting system is a relic that has long passed its expiry date.

Tyler Lindsay, Niagara Falls

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