Burnaby-Douglas NDP MP Kennedy Stewart calls for independent science watchdog

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      The Conservative government has frequently come under fire for ignoring scientific evidence in connection with dealing with HIV, supervised-injection sites, and climate change.

      In fact, author Chris Turner wrote an entire book about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's war on science.

      Federal NDP MP Kennedy Stewart wants to make the government more accountable for decisions in this area.

      Stewart, the NDP critic for science and technology, told delegates at the annual Canadian Science Policy Conference that he will introduce a private member's bill on the matter.

      It will call for the creation of an independent parliamentary science officer. According to Stewart, this person's office would function similarly to the U.K. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

      If the bill is passed into law, the parliamentary science officer would report to Parliament with the same level of independence as the parliamentary budget officer.

      "After years of muzzling, mismanagement, and misuse of science by the Conservative government, this new office will promote real transparency and ensure decisions decisions made in Ottawa are based on the best available scientific evidence," Stewart said in an NDP news release.

      Stewart, MP for Burnaby-Douglas, will introduce his bill next week.

      According to an NDP background paper, the parliamentary science officer would have a five-pronged mandate (exact words below):

      • Ensuring the legislative process is informed by sound scientific and technical evidence.

      • Providing Parliament with accurate and timely advice on all scientific matters of relevance and on science and technology policy.

      • Promoting transparency and integrity in scientific research.

      • Encouraging coordination between all federal departments and agencies that conduct scientific and technical research.

      • Raising awareness of science and technology issues across government and among Canadians.

      Stewart, a professor of public policy on leave from SFU, envisions that the parliamentary science officer would serve a single seven-year term, with no opportunity for reappointment.

      This person would not be allowed to hold any other office, but would be permitted to contribute to peer-reviewed processes.



      Barney deDinosaur

      Nov 21, 2013 at 5:08pm

      This would be the correct thing to do and the best thing for the public as a whole. Unfortunately, gov't's have made past decisions based on money or based on what their "$upporter$" - eh hem, lobbyist's want. So I can't see this being approved or supported.

      Unfortunately, I don't think even this parliamentary science officer, armed with the 1000's of NON-INDUSTRY studies on EMF & RFR could have stopped the proven harmful 'Smart Meters'. Since it is the US gov't that has insisted we have them. Don't you wonder WHY the US gov't has insisted we have these 'Smart Meters' on our power, gas & water supply??They have secured their oil supply in the middle east by wrongfully invading (and now we have seen leadership changes in almost every country over there that was NOT US friendly). And with the controlling 'Smart Meters' they are securing their power, natural gas, and water supply. Dramatic changes are coming very, very soon. And most of you find it too inconvenient to believe or even just research the issue.

      The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.
      Winston Churchill

      Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
      Martin Luther King, Jr.

      The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
      Edmund Burke
      1729 – 1797
      Irish political philosopher


      Nov 22, 2013 at 9:45am

      Chris Turner's book "The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper's Canada" is a MUST READ for every Canadian. The degree of disenfranchisement of scientists and the resulting disinformation by Harper's government is stunning. We have seen our globally-recognized scientific research systematically gutted , and with it, our democratic process. When a nation's federal government replaces scientific evidence with public relations, that nation is in trouble: it's ability to discern best practice is in trouble, it's democratic process is in trouble and it's moral compass is in trouble. Believe me, we are in deep trouble now.