Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Silencing Dissent

Stephen Harper's government continues to come under fire for its measures that have silenced scientists on a number of important issues, not least of all the environmental impacts of projects such as the Alberta oil sands. A recent editorial in The New York Times is very critical of the restrictions on academic freedom in Canada, pointing out that:

Science is the gathering of hypotheses and the endless testing of them. It involves checking and double-checking, self-criticism and a willingness to overturn even fundamental assumptions if they prove to be wrong. But none of this can happen without open communication among scientists. This is more than an attack on academic freedom. It is an attempt to guarantee public ignorance.
As the article notes, scientists across Canada have organized public protests against the actions of the Harper government, but this is an issue that has implications for everyone whose work may conflict with government policy, and as such, it is an issue that is too important to ignore.

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