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MPs question Government on scientist silencing

June 16, 2015

House of Commons Debates, 41st Parl, 2nd Sess, No 232 (16 June 2015) at 15158.



  • Mr. Speaker, today I am very proud to say that I signed Evidence for Democracy’s pledge calling on the next federal government to stop muzzling scientists and to improve evidence-based decision-making. After years of Conservative funding cuts and the silencing of government scientists, Canadians have been clear: they want our scientists to be allowed to speak publicly about their research, and they want government decisions to be based on evidence, not partisan attacks.

    Will the Conservatives end their war on science and allow our scientists to share their research with Canadians?

    Mr. Kennedy Stewart

    Burnaby-Douglas, NDP

  • Mr. Speaker, let me make it clear. Our government has made record investments in science, technology, and innovation. Why? It is to create jobs and improve the quality of life for Canadians.

    Canadian federal agencies and departments now publish several thousand science articles per year. We are proud of the work done by our scientists. Let me also add that while ministers are the primary spokespersons for our government departments, government scientists and experts are readily available to share their research with the media and the public.

    [Translation]

    Mr. Ed Holder

    London West, CPC

  • Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives’ talking points are not reassuring for the 4,000 scientists who have been let go.

    Today, the NDP has made a solemn promise to stand up for science and put an end to the censorship of scientists. The NDP has put forward a real plan to return science to its rightful place.

    When will the Conservatives end the muzzling of federal scientists and appoint a parliamentary science officer so that the government can make decisions that are based on science and not ideology?

    Ms. Laurin Liu

    Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, NDP

  • Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to supporting science, technology and innovation.

    In fact, in 2007, our government created the Science, Technology and Innovation Council. The council provides the government with external strategic advice on science and technology and prepares reports on Canada’s performance.

    Mr. Ed Holder

    London West, CPC

  • Mr. Speaker, 130 flagships of the Canadian aerospace industry, including Groupe Meloche in Beauharnois—Salaberry, will be in the spotlight at the 51st Paris Air Show. Our aerospace companies will have the opportunity to showcase their world-class expertise, know-how and innovations.

    Unfortunately, while job losses are multiplying in Canada’s aerospace industry, the Conservative ministers missed their flight to go and represent Quebec and Canadian companies at the world’s largest aerospace trade show.

    What are the Conservatives waiting for? When will they promote Canada’s commitment to our aerospace sector and jobs?

    Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach

    Beauharnois—Salaberry, NDP

  • Mr. Speaker, there is no question that there are people there representing Canada. My deputy minister and other government aides are there to promote and celebrate our aerospace industry.

    We also took practical measures in the budget to protect and promote our aerospace industry across the country. The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada said that budget 2015 was very good news for Canadian companies, our employees and our economy.

    We are taking practical measures to support the future of our aerospace industry. Great progress will certainly be made in the future.

    [English]

    Hon. James Moore

    Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, CPC

  • Mr. Speaker, that answer is of little comfort to the 1,480 Bombardier workers who are losing their jobs in Toronto and Montreal.

    After a decade of Conservative rule, the challenges facing aerospace are just one part of the huge issue facing Canada’s manufacturing sector. The Conservatives cut $500 million in vital support for research and development, and it is Canadian workers who are paying the price. With more and more good jobs lost, will the Conservatives finally admit that their plan for aerospace is a failure?

    Ms. Chris Charlton

    Hamilton Mountain, NDP

  • Mr. Speaker, speaking of workers and jobs, of course Statistics Canada reported that in the month of May, 60,000 new jobs were created. Of those 60,000, 22,000 of them were in the manufacturing sector.

    With regard to the aerospace sector, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada’s 2015 report compared Canada with other OECD countries and reported that Canada’s aerospace industry is number one in productivity, number one in civil flight simulation, and number three in research and development.

    All of the organizations in this country, every single one of them, that support and work with the aerospace sector have endorsed our budget, because we are taking concrete action to build the aerospace sector.

    Hon. James Moore

    Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, CPC

  • Mr. Speaker, this government has no respect at all for science. It has muzzled our scientists, especially those who dare speak out about climate change. Our leader made a firm commitment today to allow scientists to speak freely. Canadians pay for federal research and they have a right to know the truth.

    Why does this government not understand that our decisions must be guided by science and not ideology? Why does this government not allow our scientists to tell us the truth?

    Mr. Marc Garneau

    Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib

  • Mr. Speaker, the premise of that question is ridiculous. Our government has made unprecedented investments in science, technology and innovation to create jobs and improve Canadians’ quality of life.

    We also announced a new open access policy for science that will provide online access to all federally funded research, including research carried out by federal scientists. Canadian federal departments and agencies publish more than 4,000 scientific articles a year, and we are proud of the work that they do.

    [English]

    Mr. Ed Holder

    London West, CPC

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