David Suzuki speaks out against Stephen Harper at Stand Up for Science rally in Vancouver

Cheers of approval greeted David Suzuki as he spoke before a large group that rallied in defence of science at the Vancouver Art Gallery today (September 16).

“We now have a prime minister intent on pushing through the pipeline across British Columbia before all of the scientific information—the assessment—is even in,” said the academic and famed environmentalist. “We don’t make informed decisions that way. We have to assess the information available. But what we are now is we are threatened with politicians deciding, not only whether or not to listen to scientists, but the kind of information that scientists are allowed to tell us about.”

The event was one of 14 protests staged across the country under the slogan Stand Up for Science.

In a telephone interview, Pamela Zevit, one of the Vancouver event organizers, told the Straight that federal Conservative policies are hindering the work of scientists and preventing researchers from meeting their responsibilities to society.

“Over the last few years, there have been a lot of shifts in how science is funded in Canada and in how science is communicated to the public,” she explained. “I happen to be a conservation biologist and I work with a number of individuals who are both inside and outside of government and I’ve seen the impacts that these changes have had in regards to ensuring that there is enough rigorous information that’s provided for decision making.”

The office of Greg Rickford, Canada’s minister of state for science and technology, did not respond to an interview request by deadline.

The same day that scientists and their supporters staged the protests across Canada, the NDP opposition critics for science and technology called on the government to pass a motion that would protect researchers from political interference.

On the phone from Ottawa, Kennedy Stewart, MLA for Burnaby-Douglas, told the Straight that some 200 scientists he’s spent the last two years meeting with regularly have expressed three major areas of concern.

“The first is that this muzzling that is creating a chilling climate, where you’re always looking over your shoulder,” he began.

The second is the significant number of researchers who have lost federally funded positions. “Since 2011, there have been 4,000 scientists and researchers who have lost their jobs,” Stewart said. “Considering we only have about 36,000 researchers in Canada employed by the federal government in Canada, that’s a lot, to lose 10 percent in two years.”

The third cause for alarm is funding cuts. According to Stewart, since 2006 there has been a six-percent reduction in federal funding for science and technology investment in Canada.

He described it all as part of a greater narrative related to an open hostility towards environmental science and climate change research, and how work in those fields could adversely impact the economic development of Alberta’s tar sands (also known as the oil sands).

“It’s gotten so bad that our information commissioner here has launched an investigation into six government departments, including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada, and the National Research Council,” Stewart said. “It really is a dark time for science in Canada.”

Comments (16) Add New Comment
Get up to date people, we don't have to love this planet with fear like neocons:
*Occupywallstreet now does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock markets ruled by politicians.
*Science has never agreed it WILL be a crisis, only could be a crisis and it’s been almost three decades.
*Not one single IPCC warning has ever said any crisis WILL happen, only 28 years of “maybe” a crisis. Prove me wrong.
*Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).
*Julian Assange is of course a climate change denier.
*Obama had not mentioned the crisis in two State of the Unions addresses.
Definition of a Fear Monger; Anyone saying a CO2 crisis will happen when science has NEVER agreed it WILL happen, they only agreed it could and might and possibly and……………………….for 28 years. Who’s the neocon here again?
Rating: -30
what is this crisis you speak of exactly? I believe it isn't going to be a crisis , but eventually small changes to our environment will begin to affect how we live. These being a lack of significant local food sources where the water dependent Californian farms will be starved for water very soon. All of our local farmers have been undercut out of business by these large monopolizing farms and without the input of these local sources, we will see what happens..
Rating: -5
Chris walsh
It is not just the science or the carbon dioxide, or the suppression of information it's the insistence on selling unrefined crude over refined product, and the refusal to transition to a more green economy. If nothing is done we will be worse off soon!
Rating: +6
Michael Puttonen
It's happening already. The science was decided long ago. We're fucked.
Rating: +12
@ mememine69 - you're acting like a conspiracy theorist - typical of someone who wants to obfuscate the issue - were you paid by the harper administration????

What is clear is this: That the Harper administration tries to silence those who speak against them and their agenda. This is not limited to the "voice of science" - they limit the information published to the general media as well - does that not spell FASCIST, TOTALITARIAN and DICTATORSHIP to you? Get him out - anyone who votes for him is simply afraid of change and the typical response is "there's nobody better to vote for" - well I'm sorry, but that's not a good enough excuse for voting for him. PERIOD. We don't want or need someone like that in power. Not only has he undone years of environmentally protective laws, but he's trying to "globalize" our economy based on some unproven theories (he's an economist after all) - the people who suffer are the Canadian people - who work to pay our dues (taxes) to keep this country alive. The top 1% is just that - only 1%.
Rating: -3
C. Brown
In the Land of Fruits & Nuts, Amoebas cheer publicly paid Fruit Fly Squishers
Rating: -3
C. Brown
Have no fear, Fruit Fly Squisher is here !
Rating: +3
valerie morris
I was at the raly yesterday and all I would like to say is thank-you to Mr.Suzuki and all others involved. I don't know how anyone can deny what is happening on our planet. Canadians need to wake up! Before people start or continue criticizing Dr.Suzuki' and other scientists findings, they need to realize the objective to the raly was to educate the public regarding the lack of information we currently have...as our government is muzzling our scientists. As Canadians we cannot even formulate educated opinions unless we have all the information Mr.Harper is keeping from us. ..and frankly I'm tired of hearing criticism regarding Dr.Suzuki. ..he has dedicated his life to help save our planet..Canadians owe him respect! End of story...Thank-you Dr.Suzuki for your continued dedication to saving our planet and ultimately my family.
Rating: +15
Lee L
@Valerie Morris

'saving our planet' huh?

This just in!!...
Your planet will return to ice age status within a few millennia. The Holocene has been a great ride but it is time for it to end. Think there might be some species depletion happening then?
I bet humanity will be all to happy to burn coal, or even better have a fusion technology working.

Rating: -6
David Suzuki as gotten rich spewing his fear mongering BS. I am sure most if his followers do better things for the planet than he does. I don't trust him, i don't like him. Harper keeps the country working and paying the taxes the left so dearly loves. We had a great warm and sunny summer, and i LOVED IT!
Rating: -13
Ben Sili
The photo is carefully taken so the few people attending this no event appear a crowd. Suzuki and his Foundations have been exposed for accepting tens of thousands of British Pounds "contracts" i.e. bribes from the UK government to develop the scheme of carbon trading. How Canadian is that? Meanwhile golbal temperatures are stationnary despite CO2 increase. The game is up. Climate sensitivity has been overstated in virtually all IPCC models by nearly a factor 10. Sea level rise in Vancouver in the past 100 y has been 3 cm with a 2.4cm incertainty. Enough of the self serving alarmism and greenwashing. Australian voters trufed the Labor carbon tax scammers. Beware that BC green libs are next!
Rating: -7
Where does the money come from that supports these "scientific" findings?
Large corporations hire people with scientific backgrounds to promote their cause. Ask De Suzuki what he thinks about Monsanto seed. I don't think anyone in the crowd brought it up.
Scientists will be found to be just as greedy as the rest of us when our lives are paid for and controlled by our bosses. Where our food is concerned I prefer a natural process over chemical skulduggery. Imagine eating pesticides. Anybody want a second helping raise their hand.
Rating: -1
@Lee L - No one is disputing whether another ice age will happen, eventually, CO2 emission reductions or not. What is the problem with people wanting to increase the quality of life humans can have on earth while we are here to enjoy it by managing our impact on it in the most responsible and healthy way's possible? We need open communication from our Scientists and their research in order to achieve that. Why would anyone be okay with muzzling that? Limiting what our Scientists can and can not say publicly and pretending we have no impact or control over the health of our planet has the same impact on our planet as a negative attitude has on your life and self esteem. It is devastating. Why do that to everyone that exists today and hereafter you, especially when we know how not to! Here here to Mr.Suzuki for organizing this event and all that he does.
Rating: -4
Get real, check the facts and make the change. We MUST adapt to clean energy. I just signed up for Bullfrog Power, what can you do? It's not hard and Green jobs are the result....and of course our FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT! Listen to the scientist and let's make sure that is allowed to happen. It's a no brainier people, lets get it done ! ENOUGH
Rating: +8
The gravy train for these entitled agenda-driven unemployable "scientists" is over.
Rating: -10
Caroline Covell
I actually quit voting after knowing that the politicians are not for the citizens but for the interest groups and for themselves. The citizens are just their means to an end. When you write to them, they never read your letter. Their political staffs answer your letter and politicking. They don't solve problems. Worse, now that they trump science above "feelings" or "hunch," and worst, watch them when they debate or the worst of worst is during the Question Period. No one likes to be a leader in that kind of environment. They call each other names, boo on each other, and insult each other. That means they are immature, less educated, lack wisdom and short of words.
Rating: +1
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