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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists      Home login  
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 andybenandy
Joined: 3/14/2010
Msg: 2
Canadian Government Muzzles its ScientistsPage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
The Canadian government is having much trouble about their secret attitudes whereas the NDP, the BLOC and the Liberals are asking for more info and more papers about the Afghans treatments by the Canadian soldiers......etc. scientists should be able to communicate freely to the people who pay for thei research i the first place .
I find Canadians NOT involved in politics as they should be .
 privat33r
Joined: 2/8/2009
Msg: 3
view profile
History
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/19/2010 9:37:36 PM
If you work for the government your opinion is a government opinion. It is lent credence based on who you work for.

A bud of mine used to work for a senator. He decided to use that position to send out a letter campaign opposing his senator's position on sports funding. The old guy had to reach in and set that right- see, . there is some work senators have to do.

Dilly-dallying can screw up science - but its not dumb to expect that the person that pays your wage might not be totally fine with a cabal of jerkwads using their positions to further interests that were opposite to your policy or embarrassing. A warning is at least appropriate.
 Divorced, Broke, Bald
Joined: 7/9/2009
Msg: 6
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/20/2010 7:29:51 AM
For the sake of our American friends, this is just another example of the paranoid, controlling and seemingly heartless government that currently rules America (well, the part north of the 49th parallel, anyway). Our prime sininster, Steve Harper, has twice suspended the government because opposition questioning was too embarrassing. He has a long history of quashing information and is perhaps the most deceitful, secretive leader we have ever had.
 knightwhosaysnih
Joined: 4/2/2009
Msg: 7
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/20/2010 10:23:07 AM
In fairness, Mr Harper's first use of prorougation was to escape a vote of confidence in the house. But the subsequent brief public outcry was quickly muted by, "a national media that views the prime minister with a blend of fear and awe previously reserved by cinematic bogeyman Kaiser Soze." (Scott Reid 2006) Buoyed by the lack of negative repercussion, it's not surprsing the tactic was again employed to obstruct investigations into the possible comission of international war crimes. Moreover, democratic niceities like parliament encumber the ability of our great and fearless leader to enact his noble vision. But there's no need for concern over the muzzling of misguided scientists, for the prime minister understands we simply can't afford to stop poisoning the planet.
 RocketMan_Len
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 8
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/20/2010 10:24:43 AM
The problem is - ANY external source of research funding is going to want to control how, when, and to whom the results are published. Corporations will want to keep any data a corporate secret, in the hopes that it will give them some kind of advantage over their competitors. Likewise governments will do the same thing, under the guise of 'National Security'.

Universities may tend to be more open about some areas, but are just as closed about others. Remember that they, too, have to go 'hat in hand' at times, and will try their best to appease all the groups that donate to their campus.

Bottom-line is... if you want researchers to be able to publish ALL of their findings, no matter what they are, those researchers will *have* to remain independent of outside sources of funding. Of course, this would make projects such as the LHC and space probes rather difficult to get going... but such is the price of not being muzzled by anyone.
 Vancer
Joined: 10/29/2006
Msg: 9
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/20/2010 10:41:33 AM
A conservative agenda involves not wanting to overkill the solution to a problem. These times can make resources feel very tight. And there is also not wanting to overestimate a problem by putting too much trust in those who are invested in there being a bigger problem.
Anybody that has a stake in the likelihood of a particular outcome, will be more inclined to provide references that reinforce their orientation, and less inclined to provide the references that criticize it. It is a natural part of life that prudence tries to be wary of.

But yeah, Harper appears beyond prudent at times.
More paranoid. And smugly stubborn.
 andybenandy
Joined: 3/14/2010
Msg: 11
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/20/2010 6:31:07 PM
Prime minister Stephen Harper survived many crises . He must have some geniuses as advisers . I was waiting for a general election for a long time with no avail . If you go back to the Canadian history no prime minister has escaped so many near defeats and lasted longer in a minority government . I have no idea why the Canadians do not give a chance for some changes such as electing an NDP federal government . We have been stuck with the liberals and the Conservatives for decades . It is like in south of the borders whereas it is either Democrats or Republicans to the point where they nearly became the same in most of their policies .
 RocketMan_Len
Joined: 7/5/2006
Msg: 12
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/21/2010 6:06:54 AM
^^^^^

Perhaps because, when NDP governments have been elected at the provincial level, they have proven disastrous for just about everyone.
 knightwhosaysnih
Joined: 4/2/2009
Msg: 14
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/21/2010 7:15:14 AM
NSL - "The problem is, we have 1 conservative party and 2 contending liberal/social parties that split the liberal vote. "

I respectfully disagree. To my knowledge only two parties have ever formed the government of Canada. And while there used to be a modicum of difference between them, now they're just two different coloured suits who disagree only on minor details of how their shared beliefs would best be implemented. From the war in Afghanistan to corporate bailouts to stimulus packages, what passes for an opposition party can't find a single issue by which to distinguish itself.

As for the science of global warming, Mr Dion's cap and trade proposal was savaged by the conservatives who warned it would cost the economy 4 billion dollars. Outraged at such a reckless scheme (and just 90 days before introducing a 60 billon dollar deficit budject - the largest in Canadian history) the prime minister said, "Ours is a prudent policy. We will never go back into deficit."

We're drowning in hypocrisy and irrationalism here and the federal government is concerned with the lyrics of the national anthem. Maybe we should go back to "God Save the Queen," only slightly modified to, "God Save Canadians."
 Divorced, Broke, Bald
Joined: 7/9/2009
Msg: 15
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/21/2010 7:23:41 AM
I believe that the modern polling system and the parties' responses to them is in a large part to blame here. Whatever the issue, they both (i refer mostly to the Conservatives and Liberals here) see what the population thinks and try to curry their favour. It's Government by Shadow (following the stated) as opposed to Government by Enlightenment (following party philosophies). Of course, the government needs to listen to the people. At the same time, however, they need to provide a clear, strong message for the people to listen to, as well. Not just repeat back what they've been told.

It's leadership from the rear.
 andybenandy
Joined: 3/14/2010
Msg: 16
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/21/2010 9:41:26 AM
God save the queen ?.
Ah..........!. canada is till a monarchy !. What a weird and bizzare politics !!!.
Who said politicians make any sense ?.
Indeed God bless canada and Canadians !!!.
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 17
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/21/2010 10:16:26 AM
Harper brought in an American right wing style obsession with controlling the message. It's worked down there - in any given week on any issue the Senators, Congressmen and political whiners all use the same words and phrases. It prevents any meaningful discussion and they use slogans already tested on focus groups.

Harper is hoping to emulate that here - it's smart politics even if I don't like it. And controlling the message is essential. I saw a story this week that just by requiring an approval, requests for comment to scientists has plummeted. Because reporters are working on deadline, they can't wait for the two week process involved in getting approval and carefully constructing an answer.

Right now seals are in the news again. But reporters can't talk to the scientists actually studying the East Coast fishery because only the government pays for research in this area. They can't talk to scientists about Tar Sands extraction. They can't even get an informed comment on invasive species in the Great Lakes. If a massive meteor landed somewhere in Canada, journalists here would have to contact scientists elsewhere in the world to comment on it.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 18
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/24/2010 5:19:23 AM

It's a sad state for science in Canada. Is it any better in the US and elsewhere in world these days?

No, it's worse for scientists in fields where a lot of money might be made for research that has immidiate practical use. The Bayh-Dole act allows patent rights from research that was paid for with tax money (whether the research is done at universities, or anywhere else) to be sold to private companies for exclusive use in manufacturing products that are then sold to the public. In other words, private corporations enjoy the same monopoly on licensing , trade secrets laws and other intellectual propery rights for publicly funded research that prior to the Bayh-Dole act could only be obtained by companies doing their own research and inventing something themselves. Taxpayers get charged twice, once for funding the research and the second time through monopoly pricing.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 19
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/24/2010 7:50:47 AM

If a massive meteor landed somewhere in Canada, journalists here would have to contact scientists elsewhere in the world to comment on it.


I would ask if you have specific examples of this. While Harper has definitely gone all "Dick Cheney" on us, I would tend to disagree because there are going to be experts in the field and they are not going to easily be muzzled by the PMO's office just because it says so. It would take a helluva lot more pull on a University's purse strings than the federal government has to truly muzzle scientists and, besides, results of their research is usually published in peer-reviewed publications and so becomes a matter of public record.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 20
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/24/2010 8:09:15 AM

there really isn't a more inviting alternative for Canadians (there's no party right now that can unite moderate left/right).

It's not an ideal situation, but let's be realistic here.


So why don't we chuck the entire system and let the people of Canada vote to disband the current de facto corporate monarchy, replacing it with a de jure republic of the sovereign people of Canada?
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 21
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/24/2010 9:47:22 AM

The inner circles of each party have the real power.

False. The power was unlawfully usurped from the people of Canada; That's why our government is de facto. We can create our own de jure government by rejecting the corporate de facto government of Canada in a plebescite. If the majority of the Canadian sign it, the parliament of Canada will lose ALL semblance of legitimacy. It will become a government without a country to govern and the people of Canada will be free to replace it with anything they want. I recommend a FULLY TRANSPARENT republic based on common law (pitch the crooked statutes -- they were mostly designed to serve the elite power brokers anyway), where our public servants are just that... SERVANTS, not masters...FOLLOWERS of the public will, not "leaders" that falsely claim to "represent" it.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 22
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/24/2010 10:29:29 AM

What you purpose is mass scale rebellion. Never going to happen, and if it did, it would destabilize the country..

What are they doing to Iceland?...Nothing! That's what they'll do to us. The "rebellion" will be a peaceful transition of power from the existing elite to the people. As far as I'm concerned, anybody that crosses our borders with the intent of doing to us what was done to Haiti many decades ago can expect to get shot at by a very determined populace of a country bent on governing its own affairs.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 23
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/24/2010 10:41:33 AM

So why don't we chuck the entire system and let the people of Canada vote to disband the current de facto corporate monarchy, replacing it with a de jure republic of the sovereign people of Canada?


Because the day after the rebellion, people would be b!tching about the problems of the new government and how it is inadequate, corrupt, power hungry, etc.

You want to see problems with republics? Look south.
 andybenandy
Joined: 3/14/2010
Msg: 24
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/24/2010 1:19:36 PM

So why don't we chuck the entire system and let the people of Canada vote to disband the current de facto corporate monarchy, replacing it with a de jure republic of the sovereign people of Canada?


Because the day after the rebellion, people would be b!tching about the problems of the new government and how it is inadequate, corrupt, power hungry, etc.

You want to see problems with republics? Look south.

Monarchy is just a waste of money and it puts one family above the other families .
In 2010 to have a monarchy anywhere in the world is a pure madness .
It is time for all monarchies around the globe to disrepute and leave room from some real democracy ruled by republics . Corrupt republics ?. Well the whole damn world is corrupt......!!!!.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 25
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/25/2010 7:50:28 AM

the day after the rebellion, people would be b!tching about the problems of the new government

What new government? It doesn't have to be representational democracy. The only things required would be a competent judiciary to deal with criminals and civil servants to administer our affairs the way WE want it done. The people of Canada should be the MASTERS of government, not its SERVANTS.
 yna6
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 26
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/26/2010 6:32:23 PM
We lost our "mastery" of gov't when we allowed the corporations to use our social insurance numbers as identification. The "civil masters" we now employ are entrenched and nothing short of a rebellion would move them out.
Small example...the smuggling of cigs from reservations was getting to the point where Ottawa was noticing a decrease in tax revenue. When truckers brought full loads in to sell in parking lots and advertised it by posters and word of mouth, nobody got busted. The gov't realized it was beaten by the will of the public. They dropped a lot of the tax on cigs. Of course a vocal minoprity pitched a b*tch about it all, and it wasn't too long before taxes went right back up...and again, we see a smuggling problem.
Yes...gov't still listens to the people...as long as enough of them congregate and protest.
But....apathy by Canadians is a huge problem. Which is just fine by gov't standards. If you are too busy working two jobs and trying to raise a family to be bothered by "issues" that have little affect on you personally, you are less likely to get out there and actually voice your opinion. Corporate Canada is right there helping the gov't out...longer hours, less benefits, wages not staying in line with cost of living increases...you name it...."Keep their noses to the grindstone and never let them look up!" "Keep 'em hungry...but not starving..."
 aremeself
Joined: 12/31/2008
Msg: 27
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History
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/26/2010 9:45:45 PM
there was an article out just the other day, that was saying that almost all scientists work for money some how, and its a major problem, as far as being influenced.

what I mean is that scientist are hardly ever independent.
always some kind of axe to grind.
 GGarbo
Joined: 10/8/2007
Msg: 28
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/29/2010 4:33:06 PM
Most companies have policies in regards to speaking to the media so an opinion which reflects company opinion can be expressed rather than an individual. There are whistle blower policies though, even in the government, to protect Canadian society.

If you do your research, you'll find that government employees can not be fired for making public statements if they feel there is a safety issue which could harm people.

I don't think this is an issue of restricting free speech so much as an example of how cumbersome centralization can become to those stuck in it. Policy is dictated at by a central entity which doesn't necessarily meet regional needs. I don't think this is a conspiracy just very very bad business practice.

You can't solve problems if you have no control to solve them. It's likely that lack of control scientists are more upset about than policy.

They should be upset too. Putting all your eggs in one basket is a big mistake from any perspective. I think alot of these problems would be solved if we gave provinces back their power to make their own decisions and not reliant on the slow gears of Ottawa to do so.

Centralization of your resources leads to waste and unproductivity. If you want a great example of what happens when you centralize resources, take away power, and dictate policy...look at First Nation people.
 LeCutter
Joined: 2/25/2009
Msg: 29
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 3/31/2010 8:24:45 PM

No, it's worse for scientists in fields where a lot of money might be made for research that has immidiate practical use. The Bayh-Dole act allows patent rights from research that was paid for with tax money (whether the research is done at universities, or anywhere else) to be sold to private companies for exclusive use in manufacturing products that are then sold to the public. In other words, private corporations enjoy the same monopoly on licensing , trade secrets laws and other intellectual propery rights for publicly funded research that prior to the Bayh-Dole act could only be obtained by companies doing their own research and inventing something themselves. Taxpayers get charged twice, once for funding the research and the second time through monopoly pricing.


That's the sickest part of it. And it's the reason so many taxpayers - myself included - are against public money going toward research or programs like NASA when said research just ends up in private hands and we have to pay for it. If the research is done with tax-dollars it belongs to the public, plain and simple. If you disagree, form a company and look for private investment.

The conservative government is doing nothing new here. It's the purview of conservative governments everywhere that the sciene should support their platform or not be funded at all. Just look at how Dubya raped the NSA. They'll be a long time recovering, if ever.
 andybenandy
Joined: 3/14/2010
Msg: 30
Canadian Government Muzzles its Scientists
Posted: 4/4/2010 5:26:51 PM
The governments' contracts are huge issues since there is too much corruption around the world vis à vis who gets the contract and who does not . In many countries, unless you pay big bribes, you can not have a business contract . Oops...I thought the people have a say in their government affairs..........how wrong I was !!!.
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