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Harper follows Pope's advice

It was recently announced that the federal government will cut their national science adviser at the end of the fiscal…

By Trevor D'Arcy , in Blogs The Blogoratory: Science News Commentary , on February 1, 2008

It was recently announced that the federal government will cut their national science adviser at the end of the fiscal year.

Could this be is an effort to stay the seductive powers of science? Or perhaps it is an attempt to silence opposition to Conservative ambitions…

Either way, the move has upset both politicians and members of the scientific community.

However, the Conservatives are defending their decision, saying that the national science adviser, Dr. Arthur Carty, prompted the decision himself, in a letter announcing his retirement.

They say an adequate replacement to the Office of the National Science Adviser was established in May 2007 with the Canadian Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC).

Perhaps it is too early to condemn the Conservative’s decision, but it should certainly be viewed with heavy scepticism.

For starters, the STIC’s mandate is to “encourage a more competitive Canadian economy and improved quality of life for Canadians through science and technology.” Rather than providing independent advice on scientific issues like the national science adviser, it is meant to make Canada more competitive and successful from an economical standpoint.

Looking at the STIC members, most, if not all of the scientists have a heavy – and lucrative – involvement with industry and / or health research. Meanwhile none of them have an ecological, or environmental background.

It is also significant to note that Carty was originally assigned as a member of the Privy Council Office when his position was created by former PM Paul Martin. But when the Conservatives came into power, he was transferred to Industry Canada and could no longer report directly to Stephen Harper.

It would be worthwhile to learn just what kind of advice Carty was giving to Harper and what Carty makes of these changes. He has yet to publicly comment on the removal of his position.

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