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Posted: May 19, 2013

Sentinel reveals shadowy background to Harper’s war on science

By Miranda Holmes

Much has been written in the past year about the Harper government’s war on science.

Despite the irrefutable evidence of programs – and the scientists who run them – axed at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada (detailed by Joyce Nelson in the current issue of Watershed Sentinel), Science Minister Gary Goodyear continues to declare no such war exists, pointing to the more than $5 billion the government has contributed to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to fund scientific research.

Nelson, an award-winning journalist, has looked into the CFI, asking the not unreasonable question: Just who is deciding which science should be funded by taxpayer dollars?

As Nelson explains: “The CFI has a governing body of 13 members, seven of whom are appointed by the Minister of Industry. These members then select the other six members. This governing body then appoints seven of the 13 CFI Board of Directors, receives reports from the board, appoints auditors, approves the annual report, sets strategic objectives and makes final decisions about what science projects will be funded, including at universities.”

Her examination of the list of CFI Members and Directors indicates that “a highly politicized body (including a founding trustee of the Fraser Institute)” is deciding which science should be funded.

Both lists are peppered with individuals who have close connections to water privatisation and biotechnology interests. And, as Nelson reveals, “CFI Co-Chair David Fung is so thoroughly embedded in China-Canada business/trade collaboration that he may as well be seen as a de facto vice-president of China National Offshore Oil Corporation.”

Nelson’s research suggests the Harper government’s war on science has some obvious goals, including “getting rid of all federally-funded science that would impede water export, as well as any science standing in the way of aquaculture, tar sands and natural gas export.”

Her full article can be read at www.watershedsentinel.ca/content/harpers-war-science.

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