Julie Payette: Engineer, Astronaut, Governor General of Canada, Defender of Reality

(by John Dupuis) Nov 14 2017

Julie Payette is about as ridiculously accomplished as you could ever imagine any person could be.

I like this short passage as a quick summary of awesomeness:

In her career and public life, Julie Payette has proven her mettle, intelligence and integrity time after time. An engineer, computer scientist and astronaut, she has flown commercial and military jets, been certified as a deep sea diver, operated the Canadarm, participated in two missions to the International Space Station, served as the chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency, has had international academic posts and has sat on both corporate and non-profit boards. (For what it’s worth: Payette also speaks six languages and is a gifted singer and pianist.)

This article from back in the summer when Payette's appointment was announced gives a fantastic overview of why she was a great choice for governor general.

Which brings us to this most recent tempest in a teapot.

As governor general, Payette represents the Canadian head of state, Queen Elizabeth and effectively functions as the head of state in Canada. For example, it is the GG who formally dissolves parliament before an election and asks the leader of the party with the most seats to form a government after an election. Usually, these are deeds without controversy as the GG is unelected (appointed by the prime minister for five year terms) and follows a fairly well-defined tradition. But not always.

At the Canadian Science Policy Conference in Ottawa in the first week of November, Payette gave a talk where she addressed some scientific "controversies" around such topics as climate change denialism, the validity of horoscopes and, horror of horror, whether or not divine intervention played a role in the story of life on this planet.

Some selected quotes here:

"Can you believe that still today in learned society, in houses of government, unfortunately, we're still debating and still questioning whether humans have a role in the Earth warming up or whether even the Earth is warming up, period," she asked, her voice incredulous.

"And we are still debating and still questioning whether life was a divine intervention or whether it was coming out of a natural process let alone, oh my goodness, a random process."

She generated giggles and even some guffaws from the audience when she said too many people still believe "taking a sugar pill will cure cancer if you will it good enough and that your future and every single one of the people here's personalities can be determined by looking at planets coming in front of invented constellations."

Overall, pretty mild stuff. Science is real; pseudoscience, denialism and religion aren't.

Not a particularly nuanced approach to be sure, and perhaps she could have phrased the bit about evolution a bit more circumspectly, but at the end of the day I can't find fault with what she said. Yes, we have freedom of religion. People can worship as they please and hold the tenets of their faith as literally or as metaphorically as they please. Payette never implied otherwise. But the government's (and the state's) only requirement is that they not interfere with that worship or require any particular set of beliefs to participate in public life. The government and the state don't support any one religion over any other religion. They also don't promote belief over non-belief (at least in practice; separation of church and state in Canada is a bit complicated). They certainly don't have the burden to reassure believers about the literal truth of their beliefs.

As The Beaverton put it, making fun of Conservative leader Andrew Scheer's criticisms,

“There are millions of Canadians who were offended by Julie Payette’s scientific proselytizing,” explained Scheer to reporters about the Vice-Regal’s support of Newton’s law of universal gravitation. “We should be more inclusive to those who believe that gravity does not exist, or who believe in many gravities. We can’t conclusively claim that what goes up must come down; I mean why are mountains still standing?”

...

“What’s next? Governments advocating for people to get flu shots?” Scheer asked rhetorically, shrugging his shoulders.

Scheer clarified that he wasn’t anti-science, rather trying to accommodate the sacred views that the scientific method is the work of the devil.

In matters of public policy, the government and the state do need to take seriously what the best evidence (demographic, sociological, scientific, historical) and the scientific consensus is on important issues.

Governor General Julie Payette should be congratulated on speaking her mind, on being honest and on putting the emphasis on facts and evidence.

I have to admit, the thing about this whole issue that has surprised me the most is the legs that it's had. If I'd initially thought that it would blow over after a few days, I was certainly wrong about that. Two weeks later and still commentary is trickling in, though at this point it's mostly the disgruntled. I'm always a bit surprised at how defensive people can be, even (or perhaps especially) in the face of how dominant their world view is in society and the media. I will also note that this whole controversy received very little press and commentary in Quebec where official secularism is the norm, perhaps to a fault.

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As is my wont in these things, I've collected a fair bit of commentary around this issue both critical and supportive of Payette's remarks. Enjoy!

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Science in Canada: Save PEARL, The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory

(by John Dupuis) Sep 26 2017

Deja vu all over again. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Canadian science under the Harper government from 2006 to 2015 was a horrific era of cuts and closures and muzzling and a whole lot of other attack on science.

One of the most egregious was the threat to close the PEARL arctic research station. (PEARL website) Fortunately, the outcry was so fierce that the Harper government extended PEARL's funding for five years. Well, guess what? The five years is up and PEARL is threatened with closure once more.

Canadian science under the Justin Trudeau Liberals has shown signs of improvement, but has a ways to go.

One way for them to show their commitment to science (and to the environment and fighting climate change) would be to restore funding to PEARL and establish it as a permanent laboratory.

The fine folks at Evidence for Democracy have a campaign running whereby you can send a letter toScience Minister Kirsty Duncan asking to restore that funding.

The link is here.

The descriptive text from the E4D campaign site is here, including a great description of the importance of PEARL:

Canada’s high Arctic research station, The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) will be closed in 2018 because its funding is being cut.

Surprised? So are we.

The federal government has made it clear that science and climate change are two of their top priorities, so why are they closing this key research station?

With the impacts of our changing climate already being felt in Canada and around the world, investing in climate science is a necessary part of ensuring that our decisions and actions around climate change mitigation and adaptation are based on up-to-date science and evidence.

PEARL is one of only a handful of high Arctic research stations in the world. From its scientifically strategic location in Canada’s high arctic, PEARL is able to investigate crucial environmental issues like ozone depletion, airborne spread of pollutants and monitor high Arctic climate changes.

After over a decade of internationally recognized scientific research, PEARL is at risk of closing.

PEARL, along with six other climate change and atmospheric research projects were all funded by the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research Program (CCAR). Money for the CCAR program runs out this year and the federal government did not announce any new funds in the 2017 budget. Without immediate new funding, all of these research programs are expected to end.

But it’s not too late to save PEARL and Canadian atmospheric climate science! Join us in asking the government to:

  • Invest $1.5 million per year to make PEARL a national laboratory
  • Provide a well supported and stable funding environment for climate research in Canada by reinstating a funding model for climate science similar to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) that was cut by the Harper government.

Given the Government’s commitment to addressing climate change, investing in climate and atmospheric science should be at the forefront of funding priorities.

With climate science under attack in the US, Canada has an opportunity and a responsibility to be international leaders on climate science. This starts by making sure PEARL and the other CCAR-funded projects aren’t shuttered.

The government has supported a new northern research center, the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS), which is a valuable asset to Canadian polar knowledge. But there is no indication that any atmospheric or climate change research will be untaken at CHARS. Also CHARS is located 1200 km south of PEARL, so it simply can’t replace the high arctic data collected at PEARL.

Shutdown preparations at PEARL have already begun, we need urgent action to save this essential research station.

Send a message to the Minister of Science today.

The text of the letter to Minister Duncan:

Dear Minister Duncan,

Thank you for making science and climate change priorities for your government.

I am concerned that Canada’s high arctic research station, The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) is set to close at the end of this year unless its funding is renewed.

PEARL, along with the other projects funded by the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research program, conduct crucial research into important issues like ozone depletion, airborne spread of pollutants and changes to our climate.

Without new funding, we risk losing these facilities in the Arctic. This will jeopardize data continuity, productive collaborations between academic and government scientists, and recruitment of new researchers into the field.

I urge you to ensure that Canada continues to be a global leader in climate science by:
- Investing $1.5 million per year to make PEARL a national laboratory that could be overseen by Polar Knowledge Canada or Environment and Climate Change Canada; and
- Providing a well supported and stable funding environment for climate research in Canada by reinstating a funding model for climate science similar to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) that was cut by the Harper government.

These investments are a necessary complement to the other arctic and climate change research your government is investing in. While the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) is a valuable asset to Canadian stewardship of polar science, there is no indication that any atmospheric or climate change research will be undertaken there, nor does its location (1200 km south of PEARL) allow for the same high arctic data collection currently taking place at PEARL.

The funding of PEARL and the other CCAR projects are an essential part of ensuring that our decisions and actions around climate change mitigation and adaptation are based on up-to-date science and evidence.

I'm working on a readings list post about PEARL and hope to have that up within the next few days.

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The Trump War on Science: Daring blindness, Denying climate change, Destroying the EPA and other daily disasters

(by John Dupuis) Sep 11 2017

The last one of these was in mid-June, so we're picking up all the summer stories of scientific mayhem in the Trump era. The last couple of months have seemed especially apocalyptic, with Nazis marching in the streets and nuclear war suddenly not so distant a possibility. But along with those macro-level issues, Trump and his cronies are still hammering away at climate change denial, environmental protection, research funding and public health issues. As exhausting as it seems -- and this is part of the plan -- amongst all of us opposed to Trump, we need to keep track of a wide range of issues.

If I'm missing anything important, please let me know either in the comments or at my email jdupuis at yorku dot ca. If you want to use a non-work email for me, it's dupuisj at gmail dot com.

The selections are by no means meant to represent a comprehensive account of everything written about science and science-related over the last few months. I'm not aiming for anything than complete or comprehensive. For example, there are probably hundreds of articles written about climate-change related issues over that period, but I'm just picking up what I hope is a representative sample.

The last time around was a bit more thematically organized rather than chronologically. I'm trying the later organizational method this time around to see if I can get a sense of which I prefer or which seems more useful.

This post covers from approximately mid-June, 2017 up to August 31, 2017. The fact that most days -- even in the summer -- there are multiple things to report is terrifying.

A few general resources:

 
And now the full list:
 

 

As usual, if there are any errors in the above list or if I've missed anything significant, please let me know in the comments. If you'd prefer not to comment, you can let me know via email at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or my non-work email dupuisj at gmail dot com.

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Friday Fun: Is Game of Thrones an allegory for global climate change?

(by John Dupuis) Aug 18 2017

After a bit of an unexpected summer hiatus, I'm back to regular blogging, at least as regular as it's been the last year or two.

Of course, I'm a committed Game of Thrones fan. I read the first book in paperback soon after it was reprinted, some twenty years ago. And I've also been a fan of the HBO series, which though a bit inconsistent and wobbly at times, has been quite worth watching.

And speaking of winter, has anyone else noticed that winter doesn't seem to be coming? Has anyone noticed the person most worried about climate-related issues, Jon Snow, is having trouble being believed? In fact, anyone who worries about the climate is having trouble being taken seriously. Sure, war is important, but the Army of the Dead will kill everyone, no matter who sits on the Iron Throne.

Sound familiar? Well, I'm hardly the first person to notice the link between our favourite apocalyptic TV show and our least favourite real life environmental apocalypse.

Enjoy, or at least seriously ponder, some of the links below.

 

Is “Game of Thrones” an allegory for global climate change?

Just as the White Walkers are being ignored by the houses fighting over the Westerosi throne, so too are the major producers of carbon emissions struggling to succeed in an economy that will, in the end, render the planet uninhabitable.

 

Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen's Face-to-Face Shows the Myopia of Climate Change Denial

How do we confront an enemy no one believes in because no one can see it? That's the question Snow leaves us with. We can see iceberg calving thanks to patient videographers positioned at the planet’s edges—a relative term, of course, as circles don’t have edges. But at this moment most would rather watch the videos on their screens rather than give up the behaviors that are part of the problem that’s causing calving. We tend to choose the superstitions that benefit us, not the ones that point at our destruction.

 


Like it or not, Game of Thrones is out biggest analogy for climate change

And what did Tyrion do with that information? What did he do when he learned that all of mankind was at risk? Did he beseech Daenerys to forego her quest for the Iron Throne and head north with her dragons? Did he explain to her that it was Jorah’s father who first told him about the White Walkers, in a desperate attempt to make her accept the existential threat they all face?

No, he did nothing more than convince her to give away some some worthless dragonglass as a show of good faith. He probably does believe Jon, but taking the Iron Throne is far more important to him, so the White Walkers will have to wait for another day.

 


Game of Thrones is secretly all about climate change

Swap climate change for White Walkers and "countries" for noble houses, and it starts to sound a lot like the real world.

Specifically, it sounds like the problem of international coordination on climate change. No one country can prevent catastrophic warming on its own: Every country that's a major greenhouse gas emitter is part of the problem.

Yet the biggest emitters, like the United States and China, are also geopolitical competitors: Both are wary of the other's intentions, making it hard for them to see any kind of deal that limits their emissions as win-win. And even if you get over the US-China hurdle, you have to get a deal that's acceptable to most every other country in the world — including developing ones that need cheap energy to fuel economic growth.

The big wars in Game of Thrones — the Baratheon-Targaryen-Stark-Tyrell-Lannister free-for-all — are basically supposed to stand in for these complications. All of these noble houses are focused on their short-term interests, but pursuing them is blocking the real problem: stopping the White Walkers and their zombie army. Likewise, CO2 emissions skyrocketed in the past 100 years — with potentially catastrophic consequences for the human race.

Summer is coming.

 

And a few more...

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The Trump War on Science: EPA budget cuts, More on climate change, The war on wildlife and other recent stories

(by John Dupuis) Jun 16 2017

Another couple of weeks' worth of stories about how science is faring under the Donald Trump regime. If I'm missing anything important, please let me know either in the comments or at my email jdupuis at yorku dot ca. If you want to use a non-work email for me, it's dupuisj at gmail dot com.

The selections are by no means meant to represent a comprehensive account of everything written about science over the last couple of weeks. I'm aiming for something representative rather than complete or comprehensive. For example, there are probably hundreds of articles written about the Paris Climate Agreement over the past few weeks and I've only chosen a few for this list.

By the way, the idea that this long list of items is from just a little over two weeks is astounding to me. And by astounding, I mean terrifying.

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Around the Web: A quick list of readings on "predatory" open access journals

(by John Dupuis) Jun 13 2017

As a kind of quick follow up to my long ago post on Some perspective on “predatory” open access journals (presentation version, more or less, here and very short video version here) and in partial response to the recent What I learned from predatory publishers, I thought I would gather a bunch of worthwhile items here today.

Want to prepare yourself to counter panic around predatory open access journals? Here's some great places to start.

I'm sure I've missed a bunch of important articles. Please let me know in the comments!

2017.06.14 Update: Added Beyond Beall’s List: Better understanding predatory publishers to the list.
2017.06.14 Update #2: Added two more to the list.

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The Donald Trump War on Science: Pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and other recent stories

(by John Dupuis) May 31 2017

For people who are wondering why I'm not doing more of my patented chronologies or collections of posts, the answer is pretty simple. There's so damn much going on it's hard for me to find the time and mental energy to bring it all together. I'm currently working on posts covering the Trump budget proposal as well as the story about the various issue with the Environmental Protection Agency. I'm not sure when I'll get to complete those, but in both cases the story is on-going. I'm also hoping to do an update on the March for Science post.

I may also compile the story around Paris Agreement and climate change.

In the meantime, here's some of the reporting from the last week or so, quick and dirty. I'll try and do these quicker posts more frequently. I'm saving the links anyway to include in the larger posts, so collecting on the blog shouldn't be too hard to get to.

If I've missed anything significant from the last week or so, please let me know in the comments or at jdupuis at yorku dot ca.
===

Here's a list of my previous blog posts concerning the Trump War on Science:

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Job posting: Physical Sciences Librarian and Head of Steacie Science and Engineering Library, York University, Toronto

(by John Dupuis) May 02 2017

Come work with me! Be my department head!

Here's the full posting:

Position Rank: Full Time Tenure Stream - Assistant/Associate/Senior Librarian
Discipline/Field: Head of Steacie Science and Engineering Library
Home Faculty: Libraries
Home Department/Area/Division: Steacie Science and Engineering Library
Affiliation/Union: YUFA
Position Start Date: October 1, 2017

Physical Sciences Librarian and Head of Steacie Science and Engineering Library, York University Libraries, York University

York University Libraries seeks an innovative and visionary leader who will inspire the librarians and staff of the Steacie Science and Engineering Library to match the ambition of York's growing Science, Engineering and Health faculties.

The Steacie Science and Engineering Library has 4.5 full-time librarians and 5.5 full-time support staff and is one of seven libraries in four buildings within the York University Libraries system. It attracts half a million visitors a year and provides specialized resources, research support and information literacy sessions to York's science, engineering and health programs. Steacie Library takes pride in its extensive information literacy program and successful community outreach events such as its Hackfest, the Ada Lovelace Day Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, Open Access Week and Science Literacy Week.

This is a continuing appointment with an expected designation of Assistant, Associate or Senior Librarian, depending on qualifications. York offers a competitive salary commensurate with qualifications and an exceptional benefits package.

The appointment as head of the Steacie Science and Engineering Library is a five-year term (with possibility of renewal), providing leadership and direction for the department, working collegially with librarians and consultatively with department staff.

Responsibilities include oversight of daily library operations, dealing with staffing levels, mentoring and enabling goal-setting, promoting leadership at different levels, fostering implementation of best practices, and regularly reviewing department structures and procedures to ensure excellence and quality user experience. The department head represents Steacie Library as an advocate of the Libraries; serves as a point of contact for the science and engineering community on campus and externally; and builds partnerships with faculty, university administration and other campus units.

York University Libraries released a new five year strategic plan in 2016 and is currently engaging in a restructuring process. The department head will embrace and implement the plan and lead an ambitious agenda to position Steacie Library as an innovation hub to support the growing Science, Engineering and Health faculties. The candidate will also lead Steacie Library and its staff through this period of change by aligning departmental goals and institutional vision in support of the Libraries' strategic priorities, and by representing the departmental perspective system-wide.

The successful candidate will act as liaison with the Departments of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, and Science and Technology Studies (STS), and the Division of Natural Science, and will build relationships with students, researchers and instructors in these undergraduate and graduate programs. The candidate will support teaching, learning and research; provide information literacy instruction; work with colleagues to provide, promote, manage and evaluate library services, resources and collections; and foster an understanding of the research culture, data needs and publication trends of science and technology researchers. The candidate will also participate in project and committee work for the Libraries and the university, and in external cooperative and professional activities. Some evening and weekend hours may be required.

The successful candidate will have the following qualifications:

  • an ALA-accredited MLIS or equivalent with graduation year of 2007 or later;
  • academic background in the physical sciences or equivalent library professional or work experience in these subject areas;
  • demonstration of a progression of leadership responsibilities and evidence of building effective working relationships with institutional colleagues;
  • demonstrated understanding of information literacy and research competencies in science and STS;
  • demonstrated understanding of the research culture of science and technology, including scholarly communication, publishing trends and corresponding needs of faculty and researchers in the physical sciences;
  • demonstrated expertise with relevant information sources in science and technology, particularly for chemistry, physics and astronomy, including chemical structure searching;
  • understanding of the changing role of academic libraries in higher education and an ability to envision innovative and creative methods of integrating and employing digital technologies;
  • established record of research, publication and professional development;
  • strong public service philosophy and evidence of professional initiative and leadership;
  • strong written and oral communication skills;
  • ability to work collegially with a diverse population of colleagues and patrons; and
  • ability to handle multiple responsibilities and manage priorities.

The position is available from 1 October 2017. All York University positions are subject to budgetary approval.

Librarians at York University have academic status and are members of the York University Faculty Association bargaining unit (http://www.yufa.ca/).

York University is an Affirmative Action (AA) employer and strongly values diversity, including gender and sexual diversity, within its community. The AA program, which applies to Aboriginal people, visible minorities, people with disabilities, and women, can be found at www.yorku.ca/acadjobs or by calling the AA office at 416-736-5713. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.

People with disabilities and Aboriginal people are priorities in the York University Libraries Affirmative Action plan and are especially encouraged to apply. Consideration will also be given to those who have followed non-traditional career paths or had career interruptions.

The deadline for complete applications is 2 June 2017. Three letters of reference will be requested by 26 June and required by 17 July for candidates who may be interviewed. Interviews will be scheduled in the last two weeks of August.

A letter of application with a current curriculum vitae should be sent to:

Chair, Steacie Librarian Search Committee
York University Libraries
516 Scott Library
4700 Keele St.
Toronto, ON
M3J 1P3
Fax: (416) 736-5451
Email: yulapps@yorku.ca

Posting End Date: June 2, 2017

I'm on the search committee for this posting, so I can really only answer the most basic questions. If anyone would like to speak to someone internally about the York environment, etc., please let me know and I can pass you along to someone. My email is jdupuis at yorku dot ca.

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Friday Fun: Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary

(by John Dupuis) Apr 28 2017

Like with La La Land a few months back, here we have a jazz-themed documentary that I haven't seen yet but have read an awful lot about.

Unlike La La Land, I actually intend to see Chasing Trane and actually have tickets to see an upcoming showing at a Toronto theatre.

The reviews seem fantastic, with more or less unanimous opinion that the film does justice to Coltrane both as a person and as a musician.

Some of what I've been reading...

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My remarks at the Toronto March for Science

(by John Dupuis) Apr 24 2017

Many thanks to the organizers of this past weekend's March on Science here in Toronto. They invited me to be part of the amazing roster of speakers for the event. I was honoured to take part and offer some of the lessons I've learned in the course of my various listing projects over the last number of years, especially the epic chronology of the Harper years.

There's a nice video summary here and a CTV News report where I'm interviewed here. A couple of additional media stories are here and here and here.

My fellow presenters were Master of Ceremonies Rupinder Brar and speakers Dawn Martin-Hill, Josh Matlow, Tanya Harrison, Chelsea Rochman, Aadita Chaudhury, Eden Hennessey and Cody Looking Horse.

Here's what I had to say:

Hi, my name is John and I’m a librarian. My librarian superpower is making lists, checking them twice and seeing who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. The nice ones are all of you out here marching for science. And the naughty ones are the ones out there that are attacking science and the environment.

Now I’ve been in the list-making business for quite a few years, making an awful lot of lists of how governments have attacked or ignored science. I did a lot of work making lists about the Harper government and their war on science. The nicest thing I’ve ever seen written about my strange little obsession was in The Guardian.

Here’s what they said, in an article titled, How science helped to swing the Canadian election.

“Things got so bad that scientists and their supporters took to the streets. They demonstrated in Ottawa. They formed an organization, Evidence for Democracy, to bring push back on political interference in science. Awareness-raising forums were held at campuses throughout Canada. And the onslaught on science was painstakingly documented, which tends to happen when you go after librarians.”

Yeah, watch out. Don’t go after libraries and librarians. The Harper govt learned its lesson. And we learned a lesson too. And that lesson was that keeping track of things, that painstakingly documenting all the apparently disconnected little bits and pieces of policies here, regulations changed there and a budget snipped somewhere else, it all adds up.

What before had seemed random and disconnected is suddenly a coherent story. All the dots are connected and everybody can see what’s happened. By telling the whole story, by laying it all out there for everyone to see, it’s suddenly easier for all of us to point to the list and to hold the government of the day accountable. That’s the lesson learned from making lists.

Let’s travel back in time to the spring of 2013…..

And as an aside, when I say government of the day, I do mean “of the day.” Back when I started my listing project, I was under no illusion that the previous Chretien/Martin regime was perfect when it came to science. They had their share of budget cuts and muzzling and all the rest.

But back in 2013 what I saw the government doing wasn’t the run of the mill anti-science that we’d seen before. Prime Minister Harper’s long standing stated desire to make Canada a global energy superpower revealed the underlying motivation but it was the endless litany of program cuts, census cancellation, science library closures, regulatory changes and muzzling of government scientists that made up the action plan. But was it really a concerted action plan or was it a disconnected series of small changes that were really no big deal or just a little different from normal?

That’s where making lists comes in handy. If you’re keeping track, then, yeah, you see the plan. You see the mission, you see the goals, you see the strategy, you see the tactics. You see that the government was trying to be sneaky and stealthy and incremental and “normal” but that there was a revolution in the making. An anti-science revolution.

Fast forward to now, April 2017, and what do we see? The same game plan repeated, the same anti-science revolution under way. Only this time not so stealthy. Instead of a steady drip, it’s a fire hose. Message control at the National Parks Service, climate change denial, slashing budgets and shutting down programs at the EPA and other vital agencies. Incompetent agency directors that don’t understand the mission of their agencies or who even want to destroy them completely.

Once again, we are called to document, document, document. Tell the stories, mobilize science supporters and hold the governments accountable at the ballot box. Hey, like the Guardian said, if we did it in Canada, maybe that game plan can be repeated too.

I invited my three government reps here to the march today, Rob Oliphant, Josh Matlow and Eric Hoskins and I invited them to march with me so we could talk about how evidence should inform public policy. Josh, of course, is up here on the podium with me. As for Rob Oliphant from the Federal Liberals and Eric Hoskins from the Ontario Liberals, well, let’s just say they never answered my tweets.

Keep track, tell the story, hold all of them from every party accountable. The lesson we learned here in Canada was that science can be a decisive issue. Real facts can mobilise people to vote against alternative facts.

Thank you.

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