Protesting federal cuts to science
Dozens showed up outside federal government offices at Place Guy-Favreau Monday to protest the decision to cut funding to the science field.
The Montreal protest was one of many taking part across the country.
Many pegged the decision on the Conservatives’ preference to the commercial side of science, rather than the pure factual elements.
“They’re driven unfortunately by an ideology that is too rigid,” said Liberal Westmount MP and former astronaut Marc Garneau. “They get their advice from polling, that’s the way they do it, they just want to satisfy their base.”
He also said the government figuratively muzzles its scientists in departments like Environment Canada, the fisheries department and the space agency.
“Under Prime Minister Harper, the control of the message in Ottawa is ‘total and absolute,’” Garneau said. “If you have a scientist at Environment Canada who wants to talk about the reality of his or her research – but that somehow sheds a negative light on the government, then the government doesn’t want to hear them speak – or in other words, the truth.”
Alain Berinstain, former director of science and academic development at the Canadian space agency lost his job when the government scaled-back the agency, along with most of his colleagues.
“The cuts were focused on scientists at the CSA, but not only at the agency,” he said.
This article was updated on September 18, 2013 at 18:15 EST.