Canadians Mourn The Untimely “Death of Evidence”

“The Harper government is the most environmentally hostile one we have ever had in Canada.”Maude Barlow, Chair of the Council of Canadians. 

by: Obert Madondo |  | Published July 11, 2011, by The Canadian Progressive

About 1,500 scientists, lawyers, students and activists from across Canada gathered on Parliament Hill yesterday and held a mock funeral to mourn the death of Canadian evidence.  The rallying cry for this groundbreaking show of democratic outrage against Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his backward-looking Conservative government: “No science, no evidence, no truth, no democracy.”

The media has already extensively covered the event.  And so, I’ll try and do something a little different: bring you closer to the heart of the protest. Via what the activists said before, during and after the event. Via a couple of pics I snapped up at the event.

What the activists said:

  • “It definitely seems to us these cuts are not just part of fighting the deficit, that there is a systematic attack on science and the preferential cutting of programs that may produce results not in line with the Conservative agenda.” Katie Gibbs, PhD student at the University of Ottawa and one of the organizers of the rally.
  • “The only scientific evidence that Mr. Harper wants the public to know about is that which supports his political objectives and ideology. That’s not science, that’s propaganda.” Organizers’ website.
  • “Scientists are generally not agitators, but this continuous set of (Harper government) decisions has got very many scientists hot under the collar.” – Dr. Scott Findlay, associate professor and former director the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Environment, according to this this CBC report.
  • “It takes a lot to mobilize scientists who normally concentrate on basic science questions. But the Harper government’s blatant disregard for science-based evidence and public consultation in the formation of its polices has motivated this march.” –  Dr. Felix Breden, biologist at Simon Fraser University.
  • “We feel that most Canadians regardless of their values or beliefs think that policies should be made based on evidence and based on facts, and that regardless of the decisions that the government decides to make, our democracy depends on an informed public.” – Katie Gibbs
  • “The Harper government has embarked on a systematic program to impede and divert the flow of scientific information to Canadians through two major strategies. The first involves the gutting of programs and institutions whose principal mandate is the collection of scientific evidence.” – Organizers’ website
  • “It’s not about saving money. It’s about imposing ideology. What’s happening here is that the government has an ideological agenda to develop the Canadian economy based on the extraction of oil out of the Alberta tar sands as quickly as possible and sell it as fast as it can, come hell and high water, and eliminate any barriers that stand in their way.” –  Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, speaking to The Guardian.
  • “Harper pulled Canada out of the Kyoto protocol, gutted the Fisheries Act, and hollowed out our environmental assessment legislation, making it easier for extractive industries to get licences to exploit.” – Maude Barlow, former UN advisor on water and chair of the Council of Canadians.

What the images said:

Canada “Death of Evidence” 1

Canada “Death of Evidence” 2

Canada “Death of Evidence” 3

Canada “Death of Evidence” 4

For more pics, please check out our Facebook Page.

For the list of cuts at the centre of the protest, please visit the Death of Evidence website.

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad