Canada’s government gets an ‘F’ in science
OTTAWA. July 21, 2015 – Unionized teachers and education workers from across the globe are gathering in Ottawa this week amid a call to denounce the many budget cuts and attacks on science by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper.
“The government of Canada should be a model for the development of science and knowledge,” said David Edwards, deputy general-secretary of Education International (EI). “Unfortunately, over the past decade we’ve seen things take a turn for the worse. The elimination of the long-form census, in particular, is worrisome for the international community.”
Nearly 2,000 delegates, observers and guests are at the 7th EI World Congress, which is held every four years and is the largest gathering of its kind in education. Thirty million people are members of Education International, represented by over 400 organizations.
“Education and the development of science and knowledge are closely linked, and we all take a dim view of the current government’s disdainful attitude towards scientific research, both at the university and institutional levels,” said David Robinson, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).
Besides getting rid of Statistics Canada’s long-form census – an essential tool for Canadian researchers, the Conservatives have closed research centres and libraries, muzzled scientists whose results don’t meet the government’s economic priorities, and diverted research funding away from universities towards private corporations.
“If you look at the state of research funding in Canada, you’ll see that absolutely no value is given anymore to basic research. The only projects that get priority today are those that serve the needs of corporations, and this threatens the ability of Quebec and Canada to solve the complex problems of tomorrow,” said Jean-Marie Lafortune, president of the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU).
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Hans Poirier, FQPPU
Valérie Dufour, CAUT