A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mixed Scientific Message's

After nearly a decade our federal scientists are now free to speak about their research and findings to the public without censure.
Scientists working for the Canadian government have successfully negotiated a clause in their new contract that guarantees their right to speak to the public and the media about science and their research, without needing approval from their managers.
Employees shall have the right to express themselves on science and their research, while respecting the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector … without being designated as an official media spokesperson,” the new clause states. The ethics code says that while federal employees may talk about their own work, they should not publicly criticize government policy.

Thats the good news but is the government listening? The approval of the pipeline and LNG projects out west has some questioning the 'science' provided by the companies involved and the lack of 'independent' data considered.

Proposed for the Flora Bank estuary, a unique eelgrass bed that
provides resting grounds for hundreds of thousands of juvenile salmon from the Skeena watershed, the LNG terminal’s proposed site clashed hard with biologists and members of the conservation community who say, when it comes to salmon, a worse location simply couldn’t have been selected.
The federal environmental assessment of the LNG terminal — which concluded destroyed salmon habitat could simply be rebuilt elsewhere — was so fraught with problems members of the scientific community penned an open letter to Trudeau and his cabinet, pleading with them to reject the project’s review.
In that letter, scientists detailed a fundamentally flawed assessment process in which peer-reviewed science was ignored, basic principles of scientific investigation were violated and research paid for by the project’s proponent, Malaysian-owned Petronas, was given primacy.
The federal government ignored those pleas from the scientific community and on a September evening environment and climate minister Catherine McKenna announced the project’s approval.
This project was subject to a rigorous environmental assessment and today’s announcement reflects this commitment,” she said.
Hearing those words, many scientists in B.C. were simply perplexed.

Meanwhile south of the border in a move that should seem strangely familiar to our Canadian scientists environmental scientists are scrambling to save years of carefully collected data to independent private servers fir fear of a Trump purge of facts (and possibly scientists) he does not like.

The Washington Post reports that
Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.

The Department of Energy said Tuesday it will reject the request by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team to name staffers who worked on climate change programs.
Energy spokesman Eben Burnhan-Snyder said the agency received “significant feedback” from workers regarding a questionnaire from the transition team that leaked last week.
Some of the questions asked left many in our workforce unsettled,” Snyder said.

Somehow I doubt that their letter to Trump will have much impact upon him and his team of right wing ideologues

More than 2,300 scientists, including 22 Nobel Prize winners, have issued an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump and the 115th Congress, urging them to “adhere to high standards of scientific integrity and independence in responding to current and emerging public health and environmental health threats.”
The letter underscores the extent to which many scientists, who have worked with the Obama administration to address climate change, pandemics and other major policy issues, are worried about whether Trump and his deputies will slash science funding and overhaul the way several federal agencies operate.

Is anyone listening must be the question the scientific community must ask themselves daily.

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