Letter: Closing of facility is another blow to scientific research Publish Date: 28-NOV-2014 08:41 AM On Friday, Nov. 21, the National Ultrahigh-Field NMR Facility for Solids in Ottawa announced that it must close because of inadequate funding. This unique, multi-million dollar facility, opened in 2005, overseen by an international advisory committee, is a world-renowned scientific facility dedicated to the study of solid materials using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. It has been a source of pride among Canadian scientists and the envy of the scientific community around the world.
World's strongest magnet unable to attract further federal funding Publish Date: 24-NOV-2014 11:47 AM The world’s strongest magnet dedicated to studying solids, and the strongest magnet in the country overall, will soon be shutdown because the federal government refuses to fund the project. “With no feasible options to apply for funding for proper operations and maintenance on the horizon, the Steering Committee reluctantly concedes that the continued operations of the facility are not currently sustainable,” said a memo to staff at the National Ultrahigh-field NMR Facility for Solids, an Ottawa research institution that specializes in magnets, magnetic resonance imaging and how it can be applied to the very atomic structure of solids.
The science minister seems to be in denial Publish Date: 10-SEP-2014 11:40 AM It’s not unusual for any government to deny the unpalatable until it finally becomes too counterproductive or absurd to do so. The government of Stephen Harper, however, has taken the practice of naysaying to breathtaking heights. Take, for example, the reaction of Science and Technology Minister Ed Holder to an editorial in The Telegram on Aug. 29. (Science Inc.). Faced with the fact that his government has systematically undercut any scientific pursuit that hinders its pro-business agenda, the minister has adopted the tried and true head-in-sand tactic.
Science Inc. Publish Date: 29-AUG-2014 11:39 AM Prime Minister Stephen Harper had another frosty message for scientists last week during his annual tour of Canada’s North. Peppered throughout the usual patriotic rhetoric were some key code words reinforcing his government’s agenda for publicly funded research. It’s simple, really. Science in the aid of industry is all that matters. Everything else is a burden or a waste of time.
NRC boss says data well guarded Publish Date: 22-AUG-2014 02:22 PM The head of the National Research Council (NRC) said its clients are satisfied that private research data is well guarded at the agency despite allegations of a recent Chinese cyber-attack. NRC president John McDougall, who was in the Yukon Thursday with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, couldn’t give details on who exactly attacked the NRC’s computers or what, if anything, was stolen.
Ottawa warned about its vulnerability to hackers, lack of strategy Publish Date: 31-JUL-2014 08:11 AM Under the banner of Shared Services Canada, Ottawa has hoped to change that by bringing all departments and agencies under a unified, more secure network. But documents released by the Ottawa Citizen on Wednesday show Shared Services having a difficult time bringing institutions on board — particularly science and research organizations, such as NRC. Debi Daviau, the president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, said Shared Services had been working at NRC for about a month before the attack.
Canada nearing crossroads on mega telescope project Publish Date: 29-JUL-2014 08:09 AM An international effort to build an enormous telescope in Hawaii that would see to the limits of the known universe has taken an important step forward, a signal that the Harper government will have to decide soon if Canadian astronomers will have a share in the instrument’s future discoveries.
Saskatchewan researchers help crack the wheat genome Publish Date: 24-JUL-2014 08:26 AM University of Saskatchewan researchers are part of an international team who published the first chromosome-based draft sequence of the wheat genome, a development that promises wheat breeders powerful new tools in developing varieties to meet the challenges of world population growth and climate change.
National Energy Board spends $21 million on Calgary move Publish Date: 14-JUN-2014 10:28 AM Canada’s national energy regulator estimates it will spend about $21 million over two years – more than new funding announced to improve its existing oversight of pipeline companies – to move into its new Calgary offices.
$3.2M forest research lab being built in Sussex Publish Date: 16-MAY-2014 08:17 AM A $3.2-million forest research lab being built in Sussex is expected to create better quality, insect-tolerant, resilient seedlings for planting across the region. It could lead to higher-value Canadian planted trees and much faster regeneration of managed forests, federal, provincial and J.D. Irving Limited officials announced on Friday. Rob Moore, minister of state for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, spoke at the research lab announcement in Sussex on behalf of federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford. (Brian Chisholm/CBC). The new facility, which will be operated by Maritime Innovation Limited, a division of JDI, will produce four million seedlings a year by the plant reproduction method called somatic embryogenesis (SE).
Canadians Have a Bright Future in Innovative Healthcare Publish Date: 14-MAY-2014 11:02 AM One of Canada's biggest economic opportunities is to find solutions that will result in a greater number of Canadian ideas making it into the marketplace. Innovation -- the creation of a new product, new service or an improved way of doing something better than something that existed before -- is essential to create jobs into today's knowledge economy and ensure our future. Although Canada is the world's 11th biggest economy, according to the latest data from the World Intellectual Property Organization we rank 19th in the total number of direct resident trademark applications -- so we clearly have potential to strengthen our performance.
AECL privatizing 2,850 jobs at Chalk River Publish Date: 30-APR-2014 10:51 AM OTTAWA — Almost 3,000 federal AECL jobs at Chalk River are to be privatized, leaving employees worried and the venerable Crown corporation a shadow of its former self, according to the government’s restructuring plan. The move to a “government-owned contractor-operated” (GoCo) business model for Canada’s largest scientific research establishment is expected to strip almost all of the 2,850 Chalk River employees of their federal jobs, pension plan eligibility and other public service benefits. Sometime next year, their employment is to be transferred to an as-yet unknown private-sector company that is to assume control of Chalk River Laboratories, the last significant piece of the former Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. powerhouse that helped pioneer the global nuclear industry.
Ottawa only interested in science that supports its own priorities Publish Date: 26-APR-2014 10:39 AM It is easy to be wowed by the federal government’s claims that it is a great supporter of science and research, particularly university science and research — given its many announcements of funding and new programs. But it is important to take a closer look at what is actually happening. First, the total amount of funding for the granting councils, which provide the support for most of the fundamental research in Canada, has decreased substantially since the Harper government budgets began rolling out.
The Day the Earth Moved: Canada’s Muzzled Researchers Publish Date: 20-MAR-2014 02:51 PM On Wednesday 24 June 2010 in Ottawa, office workers returning from their lunch breaks were surprised to feel the earth move beneath their feet. People in the city immediately suspected an earthquake, though they are relatively rare in the region. As might be expected, reporters at newspapers in the city contacted Natural Resources Canada to find out what was going on. The journalists were surprised to discover that government seismologists told them they were unable to speak about it. Meanwhile, the US Geological Survey was giving out plenty of information.
Cabinet shuffle: Greg Rickford may be less abrasive than predecessor in natural resources job Publish Date: 19-MAR-2014 02:49 PM Greg Rickford’s appointment as the federal natural resources minister could signal a change in tone as the government tries to overcome opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline and other energy and mining projects. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Rickford was taking over the natural resources portfolio from Joe Oliver, who has become the finance minister following Jim Flaherty’s surprise resignation.
Greg Rickford takes Natural Resources at crucial moment Publish Date: 19-MAR-2014 02:45 PM Newly minted Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford gives the Harper government a new face on the energy portfolio as a number of key projects hang in the balance. Prime Minister Stephen Harper promoted the Kenora MP from a junior minister to one of the most important and sensitive portfolios in the Conservative government in a mini cabinet shuffle Wednesday. Rickford replaces Joe Oliver, who was moved to finance after the surprise departure of Jim Flaherty on Tuesday. The move gives the Conservatives a chance to change the tone of debate surrounding a number of large-scale pipeline and mining projects; a debate that turned toxic at times under Oliver’s watch.
Scientists map seafloor for future offshore drilling Publish Date: 17-MAR-2014 02:06 PM Canadian researchers, in partnership with scientists from the USA and Korea, are busy laying the groundwork for exploratory offshore drilling in the Beaufort Sea. More than 100 scientists, technicians and crew members took part in a Canada-Korea-USA Arctic research expedition in September, whose preliminary findings were presented to a crowd of more than 30 at Aurora College in Inuvik last Wednesday. Their main goal: to ensure offshore drilling happens in a safe and responsible way.
Feds plan more ‘transformation’ at National Research Council Publish Date: 17-MAR-2014 10:30 AM The federal government plans to continue with its business-focused transformation of the National Research Council in 2014, according to briefing notes prepared for Minister of State for Science and Technology Greg Rickford, while the agency’s latest plans and priorities forecast a nearly 10-per-cent drop in staffing at the agency over the next year.
Ottawa takes another stab at solving the innovation conundrum Publish Date: 09-MAR-2014 10:01 AM Canadians might be surprised to learn their country has a science and technology strategy.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled what he called a “bold new framework” in 2007 – “Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage.” Mr. Harper vowed at the time that the plan would make Canada “a world leader in science and technology and a key source of entrepreneurial innovation and creativity.” Seven years later, the promise remains largely unfulfilled. Canada continues to slide further behind other developed countries on most key measures of innovation.
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.