Prime Minister Stephen Harper drops by Vancouver every once in while just to show he cares about us. Right?
Well, not exactly. Sometimes, there's a bigger agenda at play.
This prime minister has a problem with well-educated urban voters because his government has consistently demonstrated that it's not interested in what scientists are saying.
Exhibit one: UVic professor Andrew Weaver has pointed out that Harper has muzzled climate scientists.
Exhibit two: Vancouver AIDS expert Julio Montaner has slammed Harper for his refusal to listen to the scientific evidence around containing the spread of HIV. This has been echoed by supporters of the supervised-injection facility known as Insite when Harper has visited Vancouver.
Exhibit three: In the past, B.C. scientists have also condemned comments by Harper's minister of state for science and technology, Gary Goodyear, for refusing to say whether he believes in evolution. Goodyear, a chiropractor, later backtracked from that position.
Exhibit four: The Harper government has consistently escalated its war on drugs, despite what scientists are saying.
Exhibit five: Guess who killed the long-form census? None other than Harper.
Harper's contempt for science has given the federal Liberals an opportunity to rebuild by advancing evidence-based policies. In an interview with the Straight in July, Liberal Leader Bob Rae talked about the importance of promoting measures that are supported by good research.
So what's Harper's response? Rather than actually listening to scientists, he visits Science World for a photo-op.
It's designed to trick the public into thinking that Harper actually cares about science. But he also knows that his party might have won Vancouver-Quadra and Burnaby-Douglas—home to UBC's main campus and SFU's main campus, respectively—had he not been so hostile to science. This little show-and-tell event in Vancouver was created by his spin doctors to achieve a different result in the next campaign.
Harper really doesn't give a hoot what scientists have to say. The proof is in his eagerness to muzzle climate researchers, his government's attack on Vancouver's supervised-injection site, and his decision to escalate the war on drugs.
If there's any doubt at all, just listen to what he said yesterday in Vancouver. He won't back down in his crusade against marijuana growers and he won't ban shark-fin soup, even though certain species may go extinct.
Harper hasn't changed much. He's still the same dullard who was once the policy chief for the Reform Party of Canada.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.