Canada's Government Puts Science Research on Fisheries and Oceans in the Dumpster
January 25, 2014 - In a cost-saving exercise more about balancing budgets than good science the Canadian government under its current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has been closing dozens of libraries run by Environment Canada and Canada's department of Fisheries and Oceans. The libraries have been shuttered with most closing by last fall, but few were aware that the closings would be followed by the dumping of so much of the legacy science archived in these facilities. Pictures like the one below started appearing in the newspaper showing dumpsters filled with books, journals and research papers, all thrown out by our federal government.
In one case a just refurbished library at St. Andrews Biological Station in New Brunswick, housing hundreds of fisheries and aquatic records including fish counts and water quality analysis was closed and archival material sent to the rubbish heap.
These closures have saved the government a whopping $443,000. This is a government that has spent billions on cost overruns for defense projects but nonetheless found its savings in a science library.
So is Canada losing its legacy science? When confronted with the dumpster evidence, the Minister of Fisheries for the federal government stated that few people outside the department used these libraries and that most people were seeking data online. The Minister stated further that much of the information was to be digitized and made freely accessible and that it was only the irrelevant material that was being discarded. Who defined relevance? That was not disclosed. Yet in some cases conference proceedings were disposed of even though the notes and presentations created for these events appeared in no formal publications. In one case an aboriginal band in British Columbia rescued some of the material being thrown away. Hopefully others have stepped forward to grab more of this legacy science before trashing.
An assault on science is consistent with the policies of the current federal government in Canada. The government has been accused of muzzling scientists serving on the federal payroll.
Is this a trend happening elsewhere? Certainly the new federal government in Australia is likely to exhibit similar behaviour towards the scientific community within its ranks. Shortly after being elected it shut down funding to climate science with a crowdfunding initiative by the Australian public rescuing the program and turning it into a NGO.
It is interesting that both federal governments, the one in Canada and the other in Australia, are conservative and both dispute climate change science or drag their feet about initiating greenhouse gas emission mitigation strategies.
Related articles across the web
- The Canadian War on Science: A chronological account of chaos & consolidation at the Department of Fisheries & Oceans libraries [Confessions of a Science Librarian]
- Politics, Nature and the Censoring of Science in Canada
- Librarians Say Cullings Signify Harper's New Information Policy (in News)
- About WFS
- Contact Us
- Frequently Asked Questions
- History of WFS
- Board and Council
- Press Room
- Futurist Gear
- Are You the Next CEO of the World Future Society?
- Book a WFS / Futurist Magazine Speaker
Essays and comments posted in World Future Society and THE FUTURIST magazine blog portion of this site are the intellectual property of the authors, who retain full responsibility for and rights to their content. For permission to publish, distribute copies, use excerpts, etc., please contact the author. The opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Future Society takes no stand on what the future will or should be like.
Free Email Newsletter
To sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter, enter your email in the box below and click Save.
March 8, 2014 - This is a great time to be an astronomer. It appears we are discovering exoplanets by the boat load and we are finding out that solar systems, some like ours, and some bizarrely different, seem to be the rule and not the exception.
March 8, 2014 - For several years I worked with an Australian company developing a new skimmer technology for remediating oil spills. That got me very interested in this subject area. So I keep my eyes open for new technological innovations that can address what remains an industry-wide problem for fossil fuel and transportation providers.
How will we change as technology learns to communicate with our emotions?
March 7, 2014 - The greatest challenge renewable energy providers face is achieving a sustainable continuous supply of guaranteed power delivered to consumers either through the grid or off grid. That's the single issue holding back large-scale adoption of renewables.
Yesterday my wife Deb and I had lunch at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants, and afterwards we’re given the typical fortune cookies that come with the bill. Jokingly I broke open the first one and asked, “I wonder if it’d be possible to create a real fortune sometime in the future and put it into these cookies?”
March 6, 2014 - I am finally back from Florida and once again sifting through the content my web crawlers and affiliations with social networks that provide me with the fodder I turn into 21st Century Tech blog.
Seth MacFarlane, the multitasking comedian and creator of Family Guy, and other raunchy fare, happens also to be the driving force behind the new version of Carl Sagan's classic science show COSMOS, which will appear Sunday on Fox and simultaneously on other networks, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I know a number of the writers and producers who have striven to create something stunning, vivid and updated for the 21st Century.