Join us November 6, at 7pm, at the Fort Garry Hotel, in Winnipeg for an evening with Chris Turner, author of, “The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada.”
Diane Oirhel, freshwater scentist and founder of Save the Experimental Lakes Area, will also join us to share her experiences and observations of the challenges faced by scientists, in Canada, today.
Featuring a reading by Carl Nordgren, Duke University, N.C., from his fictional works based on his two years spent living in Grassy Narrows FN, and legends as told to him by Steve Fobister Sr., formerly both Chief of Grassy and national Chief.
Musical guest – Claire Bestland.
Refreshments. Cash Bar.
The following are excerpts from the Tyee book review of “The War on Science..”
“If anything has marked the seven years of Conservative rule, it’s been the Tories’ willingness to repudiate not just previous Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments, but the whole of history since the 18th-century Enlightenment. This attitude is so foreign to the majority of Canadians that we can’t quiet believe the Tories are serious. So while they move step by step into the past, we stand by, bemused, and let them drag us with them. This passive response is what journalist Chris Turner is trying to overcome.”
Forgetting yesterday’s outrage… For the converted, Turner’s sermon is useful because modern media induce lapses in our short-term memory. The Next Big Outrage makes us forget the Last Big Outrage: the shutting-down of the Experimental Lakes Area, the ending of the long-form census, the silencing of scientists who had something inconvenient to tell us. Those are just a few of the follies Harper’s government has inflicted on us since 2006.
The worst of those follies were camouflaged in the 2012 omnibus budget, which sabotaged so many research and environmental concerns that no one could find a single issue that would make Canadians understand what they were losing. labs and programs are shut down, another generation of scientists is disappearing. Some are retiring, with no one to move up to replace them. Others are going elsewhere. As David Schindler, the founder of the Experimental Lakes Area, told Turner, pay scales for government scientists have been slipping for years, falling behind the universities: “So there will be a huge decrease in the available talent within federal departments, at least in environmental sciences,” Schindler said. Those departments remaining, meanwhile, will do little pure research. Instead they are to serve as the “concierge” for industry, finding answers to corporations’ immediate problems in resource extraction.
The Conservative war on science and scientists is a kind of backhanded tribute to the persuasive power of research and reasoned argument. Precisely for that reason, they don’t want Canadians to hear it. Of course, this approach seems senseless to reality-based Canadians. Perhaps an analogy will help explain it. Ivory poachers know perfectly well that their jobs will end when they’ve shot the last elephant. But as the number of elephants falls, ivory only increases in value. So rather than try to make a steady living, they go for a big killing. Something like that attitude…seems to dominate the Harper agenda, and hard data only get in the way of the Conservatives’ big killing. Shut down the sources of hard data, distract voters with endless talking points about jobs and growth, make a fortune. Today is payday, and tomorrow can take care of itself.”
coffee/tea service/cash bar/light refreshments