Scientists depend on the power of reason Publish Date: 04-JAN-2015 09:29 AM Damage to science today stems from demand by policy-makers that outcomes of scientific research be evident in advance of the research being performed.
Au nom de la science (French) Publish Date: 10-DEC-2014 08:50 AM Irrités par les interventions du gouvernement Harper, les scientifiques fédéraux ont concocté un répulsif inusité: des clauses à insérer dans leur convention collective. Reste à voir si le remède sera homologué.
Waterloo woman finds NEB e-mail lauding public’s inability to question pipelines Publish Date: 09-DEC-2014 08:48 AM A Waterloo resident – now credited with finding crucial flaws in Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal pipeline in Southwest Ontario -- is sounding the alarm over an internal e-mail from the National Energy Board that appears to boast about new Harper government rules that reduce the public’s ability to ask questions at pipeline hearings. Louisette Lanteigne uncovered the e-mail via an Access to Information request. In the report attached to the memo, the NEB’s Hearing Manager for Oil Pipeline Applications told colleagues about the “successes” of a recently concluded Line 9A pipeline hearing in the summer of 2012.
Science shouldn’t be all business Publish Date: 09-DEC-2014 08:44 AM Last Thursday, during a visit to IBM headquarters in Markham, Ont., Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled his government’s science and technology strategy. Like all Harper government-branded products, it has a grandiose title: “Seizing Canada’s Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation” – and features the buzzword du jour, “innovation.” It also opens with some bons mots from the PM himself… What the Prime Minister announced was not really a science strategy, but a business strategy – and a short-sighted, self-serving one at that.
Negotiate *this* Publish Date: 09-DEC-2014 08:39 AM Last week, the union that represents government scientists (PIPSC, my former union) tabled a bold negotiating position with Treasury Board (the branch of the government that you negotiate with when you’re a Union), as reported by the Ottawa Citizen. Rather than making it about salary increases, or sick days, as one might have expected, their negotiating position puts the notion of scientific integrity front and centre. My first reaction upon reading a summary of their position was something like “Hell, yes”.
Demoting top public health scientist wrongheaded Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 08:13 AM Buried in the current omnibus budget bill currently being studied by Parliament is a plan to demote the chief public health officer of Canada. He will no longer hold a deputy minister rank, he will have no direct line to the federal minister of health, he will be subservient to a bureaucratic agency president and he will have no secure public funding. The new chief public health officer has said he is in favour of this plan, as shrugging off managerial oversight for the Public Health Agency will free him to provide scientific advice. That may be so, but will anybody be listening? Will he even be allowed to speak?
Public service union using science as a bargaining chip Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 08:11 AM The union representing federal scientists and researchers is in contract negotiations this week, and there's more on the table than salaries and benefits. PIPSC is pushing for a 'scientific integrity' policy, which would include changes to protect scientists' right to speak publicly about their research, without government interference. Debi Daviau, president of PIPSC, joined us with the details.
Scientists want revenues from their inventions invested in research: union Publish Date: 07-DEC-2014 02:45 PM Canada’s federal scientists want contract changes so half of the revenues generated by their inventions and other intellectual property will be plowed back into government research to shore up budgets hit by spending cuts and to attract top talent. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents more than 15,000 scientists, researchers and engineers, is going to the bargaining table this week with a demand to improve science funding as part of its negotiating strategy for 2,300 researchers working in the science-based departments and agencies.
Pseudo-science in the House? Scientists challenge a bill on Lyme disease Publish Date: 04-DEC-2014 02:40 PM This week, infectious disease specialists stood before a Senate committee to voice their concerns about proposed legislation on a national Lyme disease strategy. They say the bill's preamble dismisses accepted evidence and is "anti-science". Brent speaks to Dr. William Bowie who represented the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Canada at the Senate hearing this week, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May who sponsored the private member's bill.
Federal Government Scientists Seek to Protect Scientific Integrity Through Collective Bargaining Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:36 AM Federal government scientists are upping the ante in their dispute with the Harper government over continuing cuts to federal science programs and the muzzling of federal government scientists by bringing their concerns directly to the bargaining table. This week, the union representing federal government scientists will table a proposal that would obligate the government to negotiate scientific integrity policies, ensuring adequate public standards of science and support for science are upheld. "Preserving scientific integrity within the federal government is crucial to ensure we can continue to protect Canadians' health, safety and the environment as well as promote genuine innovation," says Debi Daviau, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents approximately 15,000 federal government scientists, engineers and researchers.
Musellement: les scientifiques fédéraux passent par leur convention collective (French) Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:32 AM Las d’être «muselés» par le gouvernement Harper, les scientifiques du gouvernement fédéral adoptent une voie originale: celle de négocier des clauses de protection de l’intégrité de leur travail dans leurs conventions collectives. L’Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada, qui représente quelque 15 000 scientifiques à l’emploi du gouvernement fédéral, présente à la table de négociation une proposition qui obligera le fédéral à négocier des clauses protégeant la liberté d’expression des scientifiques fédéraux, le réinvestissement dans les programmes de recherche et la protection du savoir et des bibliothèques scientifiques.
Public sector union to take muzzled science issue to bargaining table Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:30 AM The union representing government scientists, engineers and professionals says its next contract demands will include an integrity policy to free up muzzled researchers and promote evidence-based policy making. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents 55,000 federal employees, says a scientific-integrity policy is needed to ensure innovation and to protect public health, safety and the environment.
Canadian Unions to Bargain for Scientific Integrity Reform Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:27 AM As Canadian government scientists start bargaining for their next contract, they aren’t asking for more sick days or a sizable raise—they’re asking for scientific integrity protections, such as the ability to share their research regardless of the results. To put it simply, Canadian scientists are prioritizing the public interest over their own self-interest. On the table will be the right to speak publicly about their work, collaborate with peers, access scientific literature, and have adequate funding to carry out their responsibilities. The unions are also asking for federal departments to be required to develop enforceable policies that would protect researchers and hold those who manipulate or suppress science accountable.
Scientists seeking greater freedoms Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 02:33 PM Canada's federal scientists are pushing the boundaries of traditional collective bargaining in the Public Service. They are going to the bargaining table with an unprecedented package of contract changes to promote "scientific integrity" in government, including the right of scientists to speak freely and forbidding political interference in their work. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents more than 15,000 scientists, researchers and engineers, said it had released its negotiating position "in the public interest", comprising a list of demands for Treasury Board negotiators.
Scientists push for ‘scientific integrity’ at bargaining table Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 10:25 AM Canada’s federal scientists are going to the bargaining table this week with an unprecedented package of contract changes to promote “scientific integrity” in government, including the right of scientists to speak freely and forbidding political interference in their work. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents more than 15,000 scientists, researchers and engineers, is tabling a negotiating position for managing science in the “public interest” with a list of demands for Treasury Board negotiators that dramatically push the boundaries of traditional collective bargaining in the public service.
Stephen Harper government confuses science for mere opinion Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 10:23 AM The current government has repeatedly proclaimed its belief in the importance of scientific evidence. In March 2013, then-Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver advanced the view that U.S. President Barack Obama is — on the Keystone XL issue, at least — “driven by facts,” adding “and that’s what drives us as well.” He reiterated this assertion several months later in response to a blistering New York Times editorial that accused the Harper government of muzzling government scientists in an “attempt to guarantee public ignorance.” Americans, said Oliver, are entitled to their opinions but he would find it “refreshing if they confined themselves to the facts and science.”
Letter: Scientific literacy under attack in Quebec and Canada Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 10:21 AM There’s a billboard on Highway 40 disfiguring the Montreal landscape by claiming that “The sun is the main driver of climate change.” This duplicity undermines the scientific education and awareness that we have been building for decades. It is all the more vicious since by their very name, “Friends of Science” — the Albertan organization that believes human behaviour is not responsible for climate change — usurps the credibility of science in order to misinform the public.
Harper’s stealth cuts undercut democracy Publish Date: 01-DEC-2014 10:02 AM The Harper government has made no secret of its intention to tighten Canada’s fiscal belt over the last several years. Since 2010, the prime minister has been working to downsize the budgets of most federal agencies by between five and 10 per cent as part of his Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP). In some cases, such as with the RCMP, the cuts have been as severe as 15 per cent. But DRAP is only part of the picture. A stealth campaign of additional budget-cutting is afoot in Ottawa, occurring under the radar of most Canadians.
Canada can be a global innovation leader Publish Date: 01-DEC-2014 10:00 AM I met recently with Jonathan Bagger, the new director of TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for nuclear and particle physics. TRIUMF is becoming an innovation driver in nuclear medicine and materials science. It collaborates extensively, with 18 member universities across Canada, and a range of international partnerships. Dr. Bagger, well-known in the world of physics, was himself recruited from the United States after an international search. A successful research enterprise requires the best and brightest lead researchers. A search for those leaders is necessarily international. International collaboration facilitates innovation and should be encouraged. We must focus on talent retention and recruitment and a commitment to repairing Canada’s damaged international reputation in the science, technology and innovation community.
Why Canada needs a Parliamentary science officer Publish Date: 01-DEC-2014 09:56 AM Beginning with the elimination of Canada’s national science advisor in 2008, the Harper government has used every tool at its disposal to prevent, limit, and restrict public scientists from sharing their research findings with Canadians and policy-makers. Statistics Canada data reveals the Conservatives have slashed over $1-billion in S&T funding and laid off 4000 federal researchers since forming a majority in 2011. Now, an open letter signed by more 800 independent scientists from 32 countries urges the government to restore funding for public science and end the burdensome restrictions on communication and collaboration faced by Canadian scientists.
CFIA Consultations and Canadian Food Safety (PDF)
Publish Date: 19-DEC-2014 02:44 AM
As part of the 2014 CFIA Consultations, the Professional Institute of The Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) has submitted a detailed analysis of each of the following proposals:
Scientists Rally in Support of Federal Research
Publish Date: 27-NOV-2014 11:16 AM
On the morning of October 22, researchers and science staff from Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture & Agri-food Canada and the Department of National Defence demonstrated in Québec city at the entrance of Université Laval in support of research in the federal government.
The Canada First Research Excellence Fund seems to be the Harper government’s response to fierce criticism about its science policies. It was announced with much fanfare last week (although it had appeared in the spring budget) by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as an unprecedented investment to strengthen Canada’s position in the world of science. But it came on the heels of an uproar in the scientific community over the imminent shuttering of a world-class science facility at the University of Ottawa, highlighting precisely what many critics believe is wrong with the Conservatives’ approach to science.
Irrités par les interventions du gouvernement Harper, les scientifiques fédéraux ont concocté un répulsif inusité: des clauses à insérer dans leur convention collective. Reste à voir si le remède sera homologué.