Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lies and lying liars

MT posted a letter from a graduate student in Canada, describing how the Harper government is destroying important environmental programs.

Over the past several months we have seen major cuts to Environment Canada that have left it without any real scientific or research power. These cuts include the Environment Canada lab I presently do research at under Dr. Brad Bass of Environment Canada’s Adaptations and Impacts Research Section (AIRS). Almost the entire Section – which focuses on measuring impacts and responding to climate change across Canada – has been cut, alongside many other departments. Dr. Bass and many other Environment Canada scientists have had their jobs cut and we’ve seen in recent days rather strong political intervention from above in what EC scientists can and cannot mention to the public, whether it’s research critical of present policy or even just discussion of the cuts.

We have seen many prominent scientific jobs cut, research funding slashed, and our ability to effectively do environmental assessment and management largely neutralized (see here, here and here). Our scientists have been muzzled, and their ability to go to press has become tightly managed by a new “media relations office” put forth by the Harper Government.
and eh, vola, the "media relations office" showed up in a reply from Mark Johnson, Spokesperson, Environment Canada who wrote. .

This piece is misinformed. No science programs were eliminated in the preparation of EC’s plans for the 2011/12 fiscal year.

The environment remains a priority for the Government of Canada. EC received funding in the 2011 budget for work in a number of important areas of science, including climate change and adaptation, protecting the environment and health from chemicals and improving water quality in the Great Lakes.

We will continue to ensure that Canadians have access to this data in order to support work on adaptation by specific communities and economic sectors.

EC is very proud of its strong science foundation and actively encourages its scientists to publish their work and to make their data publically available. This will continue.

Now Eli merely pointed out that

"No science programs were eliminated"

Some were cut pretty close to zero eh?

Doug went a step further and noted that there was a bit of inventiveness in Mr. Johnson

Insufficiently subtle, Mr. Johnson, your spin is tripping over its feet. Read carefully; you'll see that nowhere did the student refer to program elimination but instead mentioned specific cuts. Go slower, read more carefully

Indeed, as Ian Forrester linked to Nature

In a year that saw the first genuine 'ozone hole' appear in the Northern Hemisphere, atmospheric scientists say they are shocked to learn that Environment Canada, the country's environment agency, has decided to drastically reduce its ozone science and monitoring programme. . . .

The Canadian observation network comprises 17 stations — from London, Ontario, in the south to Alert in the high Arctic — which use several techniques to measure ozone (see 'The ozone network'). But atmospheric scientists and research institutes around the world, including Canada, Britain, Switzerland and Germany, have been told, informally, that the network will be shut down as early as this coming winter. This will be the end of in situ ozone measurements, including those made by balloons launched at least once a week from 11 of the stations. "This is devastating for the whole field," says Tom Duck, who conducts atmospheric research at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Environment Canada's ozone and radiation research group will also be substantially reduced as a result of staff cuts driven by financial constraints. A spokesman for the agency refused to confirm the cuts, saying merely that all government-funded programmes are currently being reviewed.

Guess who :) that spokesbeast was.

Staehelin adds that the Canadian agency has said it will no longer host the Toronto-based World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre, an archive of data collected over several decades and used intensively by atmospheric scientists around the world. "It appears that the management at Environment Canada was not fully aware of the consequences of its decision," says Staehelin. Last month, the agency notified its staff that a total of about 300 jobs will be cut.
Mr. Johnson is whistleblower hunting lately looking for who talked to Nature. Maybe he can qualify for a job with Morano.

18 comments:

Pangolin said...

Looks like the kool-aid in Canada smells of almonds.

Anonymous said...

Someone ought to report Mr. Johnson for intimidation and playing loose with the facts.

Mr. Johnson, better go ask Stevie for help :)

Thanks Eli,

Very grateful pika in Canada

Hank Roberts said...

> will no longer host the Toronto-based
> World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation
> Data Centre, an archive of data

What odds they don't have perfect backups, and the data gets erased?

Anonymous said...

And the "good" (not) news from Canada just keeps flooding in Eli and friends:

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110915/full/news.2011.538.html

"An unusual 'help wanted' advertisement arrived in the inboxes of Canadian scientists last week. The e-mail asked the research community to provide new homes for an impressive archive of ice cores representing 40 years of research by government scientists in the Canadian Arctic."

"....the collection faced destruction owing to budget cuts at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the government department that runs the survey, and a "radical downsizing" of the Ice Core Research Laboratory."


HELP!

ML

dhogaza said...

"The e-mail asked the research community to provide new homes for an impressive archive of ice cores..."

not just the data extracted from the ice cores, but the ice cores themselves, apparently. Wasn't it McI who wanted to be able to work directly with them himself, despite not having any relevant experience?

Anonymous said...

Harper is learning well from Putin.
How to control the press and stop any dissent in the beaurocracy.
This is dealt with in a vicious, personal and summary manner.
Canada is no longer run by Parliament, it is run by the PMO (Prime Ministers Office) as a de facto dictatorship.

Miguelito said...

Anonymous said: "Canada is no longer run by Parliament, it is run by the PMO (Prime Ministers Office) as a de facto dictatorship."

I've got no sympathy for the Harper government (in fact, one of the reasons I didn't vote for them is because of their habit of gagging scientists and their poor stance on climate change), but this kind of hyperbole helps nobody.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Miguelito that you do not see this fact.
It is not hyperbole.
Incidents dictated by PMO decree:

1. Short Form Census (caused top civil servant to quit) government ministers lied and got away with it.
2. Forcing documents to be titled the "Harper Government" not the "Government of Canada"
3. Porouging government, never been done in the history of parliamentary government, to avoid "inconvenient" questions.
4. Contempt of parliament, never happened before in the history of Parliamentary systems. All because he refused to release budgetary information to a legal parliamentary committee.
5. The "gagging" of all scientists so that they no longer can interact with the press without approval of the PMO
6. Return of "Royal" military
7. The immediate neutering of Environment Canada once re-elected.
8.. more to come for sure :((

None of these were part of normal government, nor passed as laws as the normal part of government. All by decree by the PMO and thus our friendly dictator Harper

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/02/18/the-house-of-commons-is-a-sham/
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/margaret-atwood-uncensored/article2004470/page5/

John said...

The Harper govt of Canada is cutting back on scientific observations at a time when the ice shelves are melting. See this AP story about melting Canadian ice shelves which is alarming.
And still there are people who will tell you that AGW isn't happening!!

Lionel A said...

Harper is behaving like an errant child, one who stamps his foot, putting his hands over his ears and screaming, 'I am not listening, I am not listening'.

If you don't like the messages then stop their sources. Easy.

When are the storm-troopers going to come after us I wonder? We have seen this scenario before, well at least our forebears have.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm slow...

"Eh, vola"? Wonderful!


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII

Anonymous said...

Michael Mann just went after a lying liar here: http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20111001/EDITS/110939988/1021&ParentProfile=1065

Given the tone of Mann's piece (and the fact that the Vail Daily has removed the opinion piece that Mann responded to), I can't help but wonder how close Mann is to hauling at least one denier into a US court.

Steve E said...

In response to Anonymous:

1. Short Form Census (caused top civil servant to quit) government ministers lied and got away with it.

Inaccurate, the concern was over dropping the requirement for mandatory "long form" compliance; yet despite all the arm waving, a voluntary long form response policy which didn't infringe on the privacy rights of Canadians received more than enough responses across all segments here:

http://www.torontosun.com/2011/09/30/voluntary-census-gets-huge-response

In the face of census results, the civil servant's resignation looks rather silly.

2. Forcing documents to be titled the "Harper Government" not the "Government of Canada"

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/948436--tories-rebrand-government-of-canada-as-harper-government

If you look at the illustration in this link you'll notice that the very first heading, in colour, is the appropriate Government of Canada Department and that the Harper Government "branding" appears afterwards. This is not factually inaccurate and is not the "replacement" of "Canada" with "Harper" that is often suggested. You'll note the source is the left wing "Red" Star

3. Porouging government, never been done in the history of parliamentary government, to avoid "inconvenient" questions.

"Porouging" (sic) is a common procedure in parliamentary democracies. In Canada, Parliament has been prorogued 104 times in it's history. Mr. Harper's predecessor prorogued parliament 4 times and he had majority governments. Here is a brief history of Prorogation: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Prorogation%3A+a+powerful+tool+forged+by+history.-a0212034244

You'll note that this article mentions that proroguing to avoid embarrassment has a long multi-century precedent from Canada's English roots.

4. Contempt of parliament, never happened before in the history of Parliamentary systems. All because he refused to release budgetary information to a legal parliamentary committee.

A purely political charge made during a minority government by a committee controlled by a majority of non-government members, albeit backed by the Speaker of the House, the result? The dissolution of parliament; followed by an election--won by Mr. Harper and his conservatives in a majority.

I mean, come on, you accuse him of being non-democratic, and yet one of your arguments against him is resolved by democratic process with a majority in his favour!

5. The "gagging" of all scientists so that they no longer can interact with the press without approval of the PMO

I guess that's a matter of ideological interpretation. One could say the same thing about directions given to scientists regarding the recent CERN CLOUD results.

6. Return of "Royal" military

Canada is a proud member of the British Commonwealth. The Queen remains its "figure head" of government represented by the Governor General (see your earlier complaint of proroguing parliament). Some would say removing "Royal" from the branches of service was the bad decision. I'm sure you'd find a majority of service men who would be positively motivated by the return of the "Royal" moniker (anecdotal speculation on my part).

7. The immediate neutering of Environment Canada once re-elected.

Sorry, a pretty non-specific, over-the-top charge can't comment.

8.. more to come for sure :((

You're entitled to your opinion as wrong as it may be! ;-)

Robert said...

Steve E is a conservative hack...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ep_54vn5QE

Robert said...

Steve E,

How do you defend having staff members remove young people from a conservative function because they had display pictures on their facebook with other party leaders?

I don't need to go on an on about Harper. All I need to say is F-35 and Superprisons.

The F-35 project is the most overbloated underperforming project in american military history and Harper has jumped overboard trying to join. PS it has been shown that the F-35 will cost double to triple the price promised by Harper despite being the least capable of available options. Independent analysis has shown that even the so-called stealth abilities exist when the nose is pointed at the enemy.

Why do we need to spend 30 billion dollars on short range-single engine close air support fighters when we live in the 2nd largest country in the world?

http://img594.imageshack.us/img594/4167/5gencomparison.jpg
http://img862.imageshack.us/img862/6104/comparison2.jpg
http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/4998/rangecomparison.png

Lets just hope our pilots try to get away cause they wont...
http://img695.imageshack.us/img695/5038/speedcomparison.png

How do you defend the closure of the search and rescue coordinator stations in nfld?

The fifth estate even discusses the ramifications of this

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2011-2012/mayday/

btw on your topic of muzzeling of scientists. I work with many Env Canada scientists and Parks Canada ones and i've even been told by director level people that they are being muzzeled and that scientific results that support action on climate change are not being promoted.

Anonymous said...

Steve E produces a high quality of nonsense. Proroguing government the previous 103 times was done as a formality, at the end of the parliamentary session. In one case (guess which one?) it was done to forestall a potential vote of non-confidence.
Nice try, but complete BS.
stewart

Holly Stick said...

Another Environment Canada scientist muzzled; not allowed to talk to the media about that big ozone hole over the Arctic, and the effects of the cuts to the ozone monitoring system by the stupid destructive Government of Harper:

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Huge+hole+opens+Arctic+ozone+layer/5491487/story.html

http://letfreedomrain.blogspot.com/2011/10/environment-canada-scientist-instructed.html

pradeep nagar said...

Thank You

Your blog is very informative

SEO Training Noida