As an educator, I find the biggest scandal of the current election — bigger than the Mike Duffy affair and all the lies to cover it up, bigger than peegate, and bigger than using majorities on parliamentary committees to back-date rules — is the attack on science that we see in the Harper government. For years we have been getting the reports that government scientists are being muzzled: they are not allowed to publish their findings, they are not allowed to attend conferences to share their work, and they are outright forbidden from researching areas that the Harper government considers sensitive. Now there are allegations that public servants have been ordered to destroy environmental data.
Destroying government records — which are the property of the people of Canada — is a serious matter and, as far as I am concerned, borders on treason. The extent to which this government has invested itself in the oil industry — an industry whose future has been foretold for decades — is both incomprehensible from the viewpoint of building a balanced and diversified economy (which should be the goal of every well-meaning government) and is a disastrous environmental legacy for the generations to come. After having experienced the hottest month on planet Earth ever recorded (July 2015), and seeing temperatures of 50 degrees — 70 (!) with humidex — in a city in the Middle East a few weeks ago, we know the reason for the suppression of science in the Harper government: they have known that the evidence for climate change has been there all along and they are trying to destroy that evidence. This is a scandal that makes the Mike Duffy affair pale in comparison. Scott Findlay, a biologist at the University of Ottawa and co-founder of Evidence for Democracy is on record as saying, “One way to avoid using evidence in policymaking is not to collect it, or to get rid of historical evidence.”
We cannot insist that our children learn knowledge — particularly scientific knowledge in this case — and then have a government that suppresses it in order to fulfill a skewed economic agenda. The science is clear on the threat that petro-chemicals represent to the health of this planet and the existence of future generations. It is time that we had a government that will base its policies on reality — an NDP government.