Environment / Health / Movement / Pollution / Water / Worldwide

An Open Letter to the World on the Governmental Destruction of the Environment in Canada

Dear Everyone,

My name is Naomi. I am Canadian. I worked for Environment Canada, our federal environmental department, for several years before our current Conservative leadership (under Stephen Harper) began decimating environmentalism in Canada. I, along with thousands and thousands of federal science employees lost any hope of future work. Their attitude towards the environment is ‘avoid research that contradicts the economic growth, particularly of the oil sands’. They have openly and officially denigrated anyone that supports the environment and opposes big-money oil profit as ‘radicals’ (http://tinyurl.com/7wwf8dp).

Every day in Canada, new information about their vendetta on science and the environment becomes quietly public and keeps piling up. I have been privy to much first-hand information still because I retain friendships with my ex-colleagues (though my blood pressure hates me for it).

While I was working there, scientists were effectively muzzled from speaking to the media without prior confirmation with Harper’s media team (http://tinyurl.com/7bnsqp4) – usually denied, and when allowed, totally controlled. Scientists were threatened with job loss if they said anything in an interview that was not exactly what the media team had told them to say, as far back as 2008.

During one of my contracts, I was manager of a large, public database set. Contact information for all database managers was available for anyone. I knew what was going on with the information and could answer questions immediately and personally. During this time, I noticed that the media team  started asking me “What would I say” to certain questions. I answered unwittingly. After a certain period of time, I noticed that all contact information had been removed from the internet –eliminating the opportunity for a citizen to inquire directly about these public data sets without contacting the media team. The Conservatives effectively removed another board from the bridge between science and the public, and I had inadvertently helped.

Since then, the Conservative government has been laying off thousands of scientific employees that have been performing research for decades at Environment Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Parks Canada (e.g. http://tinyurl.com/8xtkaro , http://tinyurl.com/7gvzc7r, http://tinyurl.com/clgn97u ), shutting down entire divisions and radically decimating environmental protection and stewardship in a matter of a couple years.

I am afraid for my country. Canada is the second largest land mass in the world – though our population is small, you can be sure that when a country that encompasses 7% of the world’s land mass, and has the largest coastline in the world says “screw it” to environmental protection, there will be massive global repercussions.

The Conservative leadership have admitted to shutting down environmental research groups on climate change because “they didn’t like the results” (http://tinyurl.com/7kpqk7d), are decimating the Species at Risk Act (our national equivalent of the IUCN Red list), are decimating habitat protection for fisheries, are getting rid of one of the most important water research facilities in the world (Experimental Lakes Area – has been operational since 1968, and allows for long-term ecosystem studies [http://tinyurl.com/cdygbdk] ), are getting rid of almost all scientists that study contaminants in the environment, have backed out of the Kyoto protocol – and the list goes on.

Entire divisions of scientific research are being eliminated. Our land, our animals, our plants, our environment are losing all the protection that has been building for decades – a contradictory stance to the rest of the world. (Please see their proposed omni-bill that basically devalues the environment entirely, while being presented in an undemocratic fashion that limits debate on any of the 70+ changes [http://tinyurl.com/89ys2nf]).

David Schindler, a professor from the University of Alberta (and founder of ELA) quoted. “I think we have a government that considers science an inconvenience.”

I am writing this to implore every single person to please – look into this subject, and help us, help ourselves. Contact your MP, the Fisheries minister, Stephen Harper, anyone, everyone. I can’t sit by and just post rants on my Facebook page anymore. Share this letter, discuss, anything. Canada is an important nation environmentally, and our leadership doesn’t give a fig for science or the environment. But we do. This Conservative minority leadership was voted in on a thin string in the lowest voter election turnout in recent history, but thanks to our voting laws, have 100% full power to do whatever they want. And in the name of short-term monetary oil profit, they have realized that progressive science and the environment are threats (obstacles) to their goals, and are doing so many things to eliminate both.

We are depressed, and frustrated, and mad, and need all the help we can get to protect the value of science and our environment. In the age of globalization, intentionally non-progressive leadership is going to affect everyone. We share our waters, air, and cycles with all of you. Science IS a candle in the dark, and we cannot let greed extinguish that flame. What happens in Canada – will happen everywhere.

Thank you.


A Canadian that cares about science and the environment

**Update (May 22, 2012). There has been a huge overwhelming response to this letter. Over 40,000 people have viewed it, with hundreds of comments. There are a lot of different organizations that want to be part of a larger movement. There are also quite a few scientists who may want to speak out, but still cannot. I encourage anyone who wants to contribute and organize, and may desire to do it more discreetly (ie: anonymous and or/not as a public comment), to email me at
. Please let your colleagues know as well. I will never publish your information unless you want me to, and will be organizing interested parties somehow, so that we can effect greater change – for ourselves, our freedom, and our beautiful planet.

**Update (May 25, 2012). An excellent opinion piece by a DFO scientist on the axing of the pollution programs at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2012/opinion-mass-firing-of-canada2019s-ocean-scientists


309 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the World on the Governmental Destruction of the Environment in Canada

    • Yeah where people will just use their own opinions and beliefs to set policy that will use up billions of dollars of resources for their own projects and leave the rest of us to deal with the problem. The IPCC must be stopped now!

  1. Hey everyone reading this – please leave opinions (dissent included) on this topic. I am really interested in knowing where people stand on this.

    • I agree with this article. The major shifts that are going on with the Harper government is going to contribute to self-destruction of humanity. Just watching to what is going on with spreading of dead zones in the oceans, green house gases, sudden weather changes, tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts, famines and a growing number of oil spills causing massive destruction all point to the fact that growth at any cost to the environment will mean mass extinctions, including human beings. The earth will continue without us. The problem is that large multi-nationals corporations have actually taken over governing the world. They have governments in their pockets. That is why we do not have investments in environmentally friendly power sources, like wind and solar energy. The governments at all levels seem to be willing to turn a blind eye to take the “royalties” and give into short term gains for long term damage to the environment. It is really up to the people to rise up and put a stop to this madness. The power is with the ordinary people. This needs to be done knowing that forcing an alternative route will take huge sacrifices, but at least give a sustainable environment a chance to provide us with abundance and diversity for the benefit of future generations. 🙂

    • Hi Naomi,

      Interesting blog post and very courageous of you to come out publicly. I’d be curious to learn more about your story and some of your colleagues who were silenced or made to toe the conservative media line. Please feel free to email at corykinney@shaw.ca


      • she doesn’t come out publicly. there is no last name to actually identify this writer. that may be a self-preservation tactic, but still… it devalues some of the authenticity. nevertheless, the facts speak for themselves.

    • I think we should share our abundant energy and water with the world but not at the cost of our environment. I believe we should limit our resources to government agencies based on their need for non-profit energy. If you want to plug into canada, no problem, we’ll help you but you’d better respect our environment or we will pull the plug. I think that should be our stance…

  2. I just shared this to Facebook. What really bugs me: if this was already happening in 2008, would more publicity have helped to prevent a Harper Majority?

    • Thanks Ien. Good question – Up until this, a lot of their motions had been quieter, less tangible (changes to “acts”, downsizing research divisions), perhaps these recent changes are too much for even slacktivists now. I have no idea on what platform people voted for Harper, but I did actually cry that night. And I’m sad that I was justified in being sad then as well.

    • the general public is more interested with the outcome of the Stanley cup or Britain got Talents . to lazzy to bother

    • Yes, but Big Business was funding and thus controlling most of the publicity that ensured Harper’s majority. You would have needed mega $$$ to have levelled the pre-election playing field. Same old story…

      My wife is Canadian and left Canada when Harper got into power in 2006. The thought of what he was going to do made her sick… and it has all come true…

      Will re-post the letter to facebook.

  3. In 2008, George W. Bush was still president in the US. Harper is a Bush clone. There might have been more of a public outrage with a more liberal US president in office? Having been fortunate enough to work at the Experimental Lakes Area since 2000 and making what will likely be my final trip in September, 2011, I think it’s absolutely criminal to shed such a scientific gem as ELA. Critics of the Winnipeg Free Press online article say good riddance to a money pit. Money should be no object to excellent science. For the cost of one fighter jet, ELA could probably run for another 10 years. Sad.

    • I agree Tyler – The fact that we have an open-ended bill for fighter jets, yet our government is quibbling over millions for science is just asinine. And who exactly do we plan on fighting with these jets is what I want to know?

      • I feel that the jets are intended in part to patrol the Arctic Region as the passages are open ice free in the summer and resource rights are being manuvered for by 6 nations depending on arguments about contential shelves being accurately mapped. Shipping and oil rigs are on the way. It all comes back to resouce development again, and environmental disaster seems just to be a matter of time. If only people paid attention before last May’s election. A lot of what has been done was a clear threat then, but not even Contempt Of Parliament was enough to alert the voting public…one wonders where the base and airfield will be opened…

      • we are a war mongering country, want it or not, this was not the case when i emigrated here 25 years ago, i wanted and was proud to become canadian, not anymore

    • The $35 + billion fighter jets are needed to kill people like those in Libya that don’t want USA, Netherlands, and Britain to own all their oil fields. In one foul swoop they could be wiped out in minutes by enemy drones over Canada. What a bargain!

  4. Its hard to over come ignorance, greed, corporate media, and religion. Add in fear and the majority of the vote is lost in division giving way to the lunatics. I’m sad for Canada, but the people are ignorant sheep, so they will bend over and take it.

    • Sigh. I know what you mean. I’m always in a flux between cynicism, apathy, and indignation when it comes to what’s happening. What I cannot be, against my sometimes better wishes though, is a sheep. “In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.” (Donny Miller).

    • Please don’t call all Canadians “ignorant sheep”. Surely there are some, as in any country, but there are lots of people who care and are taking action as best they can.

    • Keep in mind only 39% of people voted conservative and the cons fought very dirty during the election. I think their majority is largely a result of our first past the post electoral system and three other parties sharing roughly the same idea space and therefor splitting the vast majority of the voters who don’t like Harper.

      It is a shame that 39% of Canadians are really that stupid though.

      • the Liberals were elected to majorities with not much more in the way of support..were you complaining then? Also, your posts denigrate hundreds of thousands of Canadians who do not share your political views.

        You don’t speak for me and I will vote however I damn well please, sorry if that inconveniences you.

      • A) No, I didn’t vote for the Liberals because I wasn’t of age to vote when they were in power.

        B) My post ‘denigrates’ not a single voter or their right to vote. This is against the current regimes policies. Who the majority of Canadians did not vote for. If you’ll note, I also disagree with the voting system.

        C) I never claimed to speak for you, I don’t even know who you are. I allowed this post, but if you have to resort to anger, your comments will not be posted.

  5. If you want to do something, find a site that wil carry your petition, and then circulate and get it signed and sent in to the appropriate gov’t people, and the mainstream media. Send a copy to the NDP as well. There are petition generating sites.

  6. Many of us cried on the night of May 2nd 2011 and we have hardly stopped crying since. Thank you for your courage (to speak out against a government in Canada would not have been considered couragous a decade ago…but it sure is now!)

    We are right at the tipping point, aren’t we? Much of what kept the government in check, is now removed; most of the dissenting voices have been silenced, or at least a huge effort has been made to silence them; many would be protesters now think twice. Worse than all of this combined though, is the fact that there are still millions of Canadians who have not yet realized what is happening.

    I don’t want us to wait til there is no turning back before we cry foul.

    I wish you well in your search for work..and all the good people who have been let go. Kepp on speaking out. We need you!

    • Thanks therapymuse. I’ve been complaining for a while, but after I was told last night about ELA I just had to try to draw awareness to it. I don’t understand fully why it happened, or how it’s continued, but our trajectory as a species is leading straight to self-destruction (as well as planetary). This comic always brings a sad, defeated laugh for me… http://9gag.com/gag/268265.

    • I don’t see an issue with protesters thinking twice. At least in BC there is regular outrage and protests in regards to bills, cuts, and proposals by the Harper government with constant circulating of petitions and information for messaging MLA’s. I do agree that Harper is trying his best to silence us at every opportunity (for example, cutting people from speaking out at Enbridge hearings).

      We have handed him a majority government so what’s to make him listen anyways? I think many Canadians (especially those who are left leaning or have any care for the environment) have definitely taken notice of what is happening. This is very obvious by looking at the comments section of any online Canadian news story regarding the Cons.

      What people are looking for is some way to stop this government. There just hasn’t been a solution presented yet so aims are simply at slowing him down at any expense.

      Its a sad time for Canada as I watch it quickly turn from such a progressive nation to somewhere I do not identify with anymore. I keep my head up though by hoping that people remember what has happened here and never let it happen again.

    • All the Harper Government is doing is getting rid of dupilcation of studies. How many studies do we really need. As for the funding of environment groups most have been taken over by far left radicals, just ask the founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore. A new faux scandal every week about the Harper Government people aren’t buying it anymore.

      • Reid Cowper, Can you point to some evidence of “duplication of studies”, or of “new faux scandals every week”? Where does the handle of “far left radical” originate in any of the cases that you haven’t provided examples of?

  7. Thanks for posting your thoughts. I was lead to this via a friend’s Facebook post. More people need to take a stand reflective of their values so others feel empowered to do the same.

    It matter less to me that people believe in what you say, although I happen to believe in your position, than that people actively debate the issues. Unfortunately the Harper government actively discourages debate and public understanding.

    The performance of this government is very depressing. We’re clearly in a sorry state and will take many years to recover from the damages this bunch is inflicting on Canada.

    Keep your energies high. We need people like you… many more.

    • Excellent point David. I completely agree that debate rather than acceptance is central to progress and a functional society. I do both think and believe though, that debate about the decimation of our environmental protection would only lead most people to disagree with the current leadership’s action and stances.

      But yes – I’d far rather people arrived at this conclusion of their own volition. And if they arrive at a dissenting conclusion, but have an excellent argument, then by all means, I welcome that as well. It’s just most people don’t take the journey to arrive at any worthwhile conclusions, but still espouse environmentally destructive ideologies.

  8. Some good online groups to make contact with and tell your story:

    Council for Canadians.
    Avaaz (Petitions world wide with Canadian branch) They do Awesome work.
    Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper

    Those are some of the most active and respected..there are many others that are also very worthy.

  9. this is the sad reality of what we have become .. our poor planet .. & people who are unaware … sad .. TY for this info Naomi .. be well ❤

  10. I believe our reality is created – so if we wake up and take action, I think many different things can be accomplished. Somewhere inside of lies some spark of eternal hope for social evolution and progress 🙂

  11. Great post–so true. We need to see the kind of public outcry that just killed bill C-30 in Canada (the warrantless online surveillance legislation). Clearly we’re still able to influence Canadian politics if we get angry enough, and if we think of creative enough ways to shame them on the world stage. Let’s do it!

    • We must have faith that we can still influence things. Or else, what is the point of being a free-thinking human in what is still a relatively (comparably anyway) nation? It’s an insult to our concept of freedom not to challenge and fight authority when we deem it unfair and destructive. And yes – there is power in numbers!

    • Don’t believe that any legislation ever dies with the Conservatives. Just trace the history of their mandatory minimum Drug War Bill that they temselves killed on order paper twice in proroguement before finally jamming into their last omnibus while ridiculing any dissent as approval of other crimes such as human smuggling or child pornography, much as Vic Towes infamous “You stand with the child pornographers” House rant typifies. I am sure the Patriot Act in the USA is a model for our current federal majority and believe it will be back in a changed form. Perhaps even officials from Public Safety will even admit to understanding the legislation next time.

  12. Great personal article! Follow the money on this one and the story is much larger than Canada, since so many multi-nationals have their investments in Canadian mining and oil. Harperites are only the middle men, and similar things are occurring globally- erosion of food security, environmental rules, cultural integrity, labour rules- all of these are being systematically removed to allow big business to profit even more. Our hard-won regulations are easy for them to remove and nearly impossible to re-introduce.

    • Thanks gerrydance. Scaling it out to that perspective is just a whole ‘nother quantum can of worms that never ends. If you follow the money… you slowly realize the entire system is just dysfunctional. I’d love to know/figure out how we can accomplish changing it!

  13. Thank you for caring and not giving up. You are not alone. There are many of us who do not know what to do besides ranting. I sincerely hope that we will not have to go beyond ranting. But if we have to. We will.

    • No self-respecting authority wants dissent do they? I just hope enough people realize how ridiculous that is, and come together to create effective change. For the people, by the people.

  14. Thank you for this. Thank you for speaking out. I’ve also heard that the Bamfield Marine Science Centre, a leading west coast research facility, has been hard hit by Harper’s cuts. Their research is critical to baseline data collection on innumerable marine habitats and species. I’m stymied as to what we can do. The very fact of our spread out population makes mass protests very difficult, but…., I suspect at some point that may be all that will stop Harper’s madness.

    • You’re right muse artist – figuring out what we can do is difficult. The way I see it though, is that the government is there for the people. Obviously there are international and political intricacies that mean some of the things we want may have to be compromised, but our environment should not be one of them.

      • The government is supposed to be there for the people but the Harper government has shown over and over that they are only there for the large corporations and they do not care about the land or the people of Canada … only the money.

  15. One thing I have heard suggested several times..peacefully crash the Canada Day parades, even enter a float…have your “Stop Harper” signs..dress up your float with anti Harper info. -or produce it once the parade is under way. Ottawa would be PERFECT seeing as there are going to be the massive celebrations of 1812 (throwing up..sorry) Keep it peaceful, keep it civil…but take back our day and begin to take back our Canada!

  16. The union that represents Harper’s federal government scientists has created a website to give a voice to the work of its members.


    The move comes weeks after it was revealed new restrictive rules have been placed on scientists at the Natural Resources department requiring them to clear a number of hoops, including approval from the minister’s director of communications, before they may speak with the press about their work.

    While Natural Resources was singled out, reporters and scientists across a wide range of departments are well aware the government frowns upon direct communication between its employees and the media without prior approval.


    • Thanks for the info Nadine. I am not as aware of what has happened to NRCan, as I have been more exposed to water-related departments (DFO and EC), but it is good to know. And also for the always observant sarcasm of Rick Mercer. 🙂

  17. “During one of my contracts, I was manager of a large, public database set. Contact information for all database managers was available for anyone. I knew what was going on with the information and could answer questions immediately and personally”

    Hi I am really interested in learning about the public database set concerning water, can you help me with your experience?

    Do you think you can work for government again given your understanding? Thanks for your reply, Best, Kelly

    • Hi Kelly – what are you interested in knowing about? I would gladly work for the government again, albeit I’d hope for far different circumstances. I think the science they were/are doing is very important and contributes to an improved understanding and stewardship of our planet. I’m not sure now, with this letter of course, that I’d be allowed 🙂

  18. It is pretty obvious that there is a race on in the world to extract as much as possible in the shortest time possible. This may be because society is now aware of the wealthy pillaging our resources through national debts and enslavement of the populations, thus gaining control over us all. It will be coming to a head, but the oil sands must be better controlled and monitored at least to ensure compliance with environmental standards. I think there will be national problems concerning the Northgate pipeline and First Nations. First Nations can only be pushed so far and they’re right at the tipping point as far as resource development and infringement on Aboriginal Land Claims. I believe it is possible to attain both goals with a Win/Win result, but Joe Oliver and Stephen Harper are going about it all wrong.

    • Good points Ron – part of my problem is that departments like Environment Canada and Fisheries/Oceans maintained regulations and environmental initiatives that kept the oil sands impact in check. Turning these from scientific bodies over to political ones is a frightening prospect, and one that was employed single-handedly by a minority government with no input or consideration from any one or anything else. The removal of these regulations means all draining, polluting, and usage of any freshwater is now OK unless someone can prove it has ‘defined economic value’. And who is Harper going to let do that?

      And yes – First Nations. When it comes to environmentalism, they are always on the right side of the page. We would do wisely to heed the words of our brothers and sisters that came before, and see the land more holistically.

      • yes, fn have been speaking for the environment and the need to recognize how the human family fits in. it would be useful for all those feeing this now to join the resistance with fn.

        the liberals were not much better than this present gov’t in how they transferred the public’s environmental wealth (clean air, water, soil) over to private companies who then pollute it and leave it for the public to deal with.

  19. Do the oil sands pollute? Absolutely! But what I find annoying about this whole debate is that the Canadian people say one thing then act contrary to those beliefs. For example how many oil sands critics live in have not provinces like Quebec and Manitoba? Vast amounts of money are generated from the oil sands and this money pays by and large for social programs and health care that people use. So really, people criticize the federal government but still take the money when it’s offered in the form of a transfer payments. Also, how many of these concerned individuals (not the author per se) travel on airplanes to Asia or Europe for backpacking excursions? Drive long distances to work? Live in or want to live in a house in the suburbs which requires large amounts of energy and land for just 2-5 people and of course the morning commute with both cars…The point is that I find that most Canadians talk a big game but when it comes to the individual sacrifices necessary to help the environment. Most would rather complain and expect the government to “take care of it” and not inconvenience themselves.

    And yes I trully do belive that if we are going to help the environment we have to do it on an idividual level and that it does require personal sacrifice and living with less then what most of us grew up with and want today.

    • Right on the money George. I don’t agree entirely that the oil sands subsidize Canadian tax dollars primarily (we had pretty good social programs and health care prior to development and extraction), but either way I think the government misspends its priorities. The looming cloud over all of this is the money being spent on things not in line with Canadian values (ie: mega-prisons), and in numbers that overshadow the cuts being made to the environmental program exponentially (the fighter jets). If we genuinely have no money, wtf is a $35b open-ended price tag doing in their budget?

      To your other point, 100% agree. I’ve been ranting and waffling about this for years. Buying a ‘green’ product once in a while at the grocery store isn’t the solution. We need genuine socio-structural change – buying food locally, walking, biking, (living within close distances to your work so you can do this) cooking at home, canning, preserving, turning the lights off, getting rid of TVs, electronics, etc. I’m not romanticizing an older era, or saying technology is bad, but yes – most people talk the talk, don’t walk the walk, and we can’t afford not to talk – literally!

      I think, however – that this isn’t going to happen for most people until it ‘needs to’, sadly. The system of credit and debt means people can be wasteful far above and beyond their means; they’re taught to, and the consumer system supports this behaviour.

      So yes, at the end of the day, in addition to changing it at a top down level, we absolutely need to change it at a bottom up level as well.

      • Need some government cash ? Legalise marijuana and tax it like alcohol and tobacco. Lots of revenue, and save lots of money on police and prisons.
        Mexico wants us to now, and lots of ex-police too, as well as public health officers in BC.
        But this Conservative government doesn’t like to listen to health experts, economists and criminologists who think it’s a good idea. Somehow it plays better to their base to be ‘tough on crime’ by losing out on government revenue, adding policing costs, and supporting a criminal economy.

    • blanked blaming the individual for his/her lifestyle, is really an attempt to change the narrative. yes, individually it is important to make sustainable choices, but the multinational corporations race to extract resources while controlling governments, and having them remove regulations and environmental protection is a much huger problem.
      the need for ever increasing profits for the wealthy elite is unsustainable and damaging to everyone else .

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  21. My father is 81. He has said for a few years that Harper is doing exactly what Hitler did when he came to power. The media was warning about Harper before he gothis so called, cheated election power but people didn’t pick up on it and were bribed by a lower GST and a few money incentives, like sport tax relief, and some saving energy programs. But you could see where he ws coming from. Let us just hope that he can’t cancel democratic elections.

    • I also often think of European history as well when I consider what changes have been happening in Canada, though of the Russian (Stalin) sort. Either way, Harper is (albeit on the softer side of the definition) a dictator. I don’t know that any of his decisions reflect Canadian desires or values anymore, and he certainly does not represent a majority of the opinions. He’s already manufactured so much at Parliament to allow his laws to pass through with ease. I’ve also heard strong comparisons to Margaret Thatcher in the 80’s – for the love of freedom, let’s hope your fathers predictions aren’t too on the money, and he ends up more Thatcher than Hitler or Stalin. Or better yet – ends up out of office as soon as possible!

      • Harper a dictator? As they say, don’t hate the player hate the game. Do you actually believe that Chretien was not shoving his party’s will down the throats of Canadians when the Liberals were in powerÉ Are you actually naive enough to think that the Liberals were not subservient to the big oil baronsÉ. Remember, when the myth of man made global warming was at its peak the liberals didn`t seem to care about reducing emissions. The fact that the current government is doing the dirty work of closing down research departments is not really surprising for haad another party wona majority, they would be required to do the same thing by those who truly hold power. Look at our neighbours to the south, Obama was going to change the world but has done nothing. This game we call politics is just that, a game to entertain the masses, much like professional wrestling.

      • I don’t think that other parties wouldn’t do other messed up things if they were in this same position at this point in time. I agree that politics is a game, and a potential form of entertainment for the “uppers” – but as it stands now, the Conservatives are the ones implementing these measures, so they stand to take the fall for their actions. There must be accountability and reform if the people disagree.

    • Except for the part about taking away everyone’s guns, fomenting racial division, and rounding up everyone into camps… yes, exactly like Hitler.

  22. Nearly three quarters of all people in developing countries are already below the poverty line. Over 14 million children, under the age of 5, die each year from hunger, thirst, malnutrition, or from easily curable or preventable diseases. An average of 26 children per minute. So, give me a freaking break on Canada’s so called terrible environmental record. Get a clue.

    • Watson, I am allowing this comment, but your other one that entails sexist insults will not be. This is a place for dialogue, not mud-tossing.

      I agree that there are large issues in this world that involve a lot of suffering and require a lot of international work and effort, however to ignore a problem simply because there are other ones doesn’t make any sense. What will happen in 50 years when we are the ones who have no clean water to drink and no food left to eat? We cannot import food forever, and these environmental de-regulations are primarily targeted at water sources. Protecting our environment is actually, the only way to stay healthy and alive. The environment is linked globally – it doesn’t care that we call this land mass Canada, or that one Africa. When we dump pollutants in the ocean, they poison children in developing countries. When we release POPs or PFCs into the environment, they travel across the global ecosystems and end up in the tissues of other humans, animals, and plants. Everything is interconnected. So while helping developing countries is important, I agree, we cannot simply pretend that we have nothing to worry about at home.

    • See its all ok, as long as it is not 26 kids a minute, all other evils do not matter, nothing to worry about any policy, if Harper issues a new order to kill 25 Children a minute, no problem….as long as it is less than the worst stat imaginable…clued in?

  23. just another example of king steven hitlers selling of canada to the highest bidder and his little dictatorship is just getting started , with the erosion of our civil rights , he has sold canada out to the new world order owned buy the corporations , and piss on the real canadians we dont matter in his plan of total control , wake up sheeple we are being turned into tax slaves for his little kingdom and you gave him a majority ,so now the sky,s the limits ,if we will be able to see it from all the pollution

  24. Thank you for your courage to speak out. Your words echo the voices and sentiments of so many Canadians. The corporate owned Harper regime has taken us from democracy to fascism. The daily barrage of Harper’s crimes against Canada and it’s people makes my head spin. Austerity for the 99% while “they” invest our dollars in war and weapons of war as people descend further and further into poverty and . Something’s gotta give.

  25. I, too, cried the night of the election and stated then that we are royally screwed… This government is burying the people and do not care at all. I was a professional artist until a couple of years ago but still work in the arts sector and with artists and we have seen our communities dwindle due to massive cuts and negativity from the government about the arts. Science is now next and it terrifies me…. This week they announced closures of coast guard operations on the west coats, so if one of those massive oil tankers does spill our coast is gone… No one to clean it, no one to save animals and people from the destruction and noe one create Satiracle timely art works about the devastation.
    I am so infuriated by this government…. What is next? Ah yes, the abortion debate is back, health care on the chopping block, privacy issues with Internet… Etc.

    I do not want any stupid fighter jets… I want the country that I love to be the country I love.

  26. Thank you very much for posting this – I was one of the scientists who lost my position for speaking up and being right. I no longer work as a biologist and have lost a part of myself that I worked so long and so hard for. It was a blindside after being told that everything I worked on was relevant and mattered. In the game of survivor (in biology) I lost – was voted out. Unfortunately the ramifications follow you wherever you go.
    I am very away of the hidden agenda and have sent letters etc only to have them fall on deaf ears. It is very hard to know that Canada is willing to let everyone who spoke for the land and the wildlife slip through the cracks in favour of big business. My father once asked me what was the price of a caribou – I know now.

    • Hi Lost, I’m a Vancouver-based science journalist developing a story idea about the endangered face of government science for a national magazine. I am keen to hear your story and can honour any anonymity you require. If you are game, please get in touch. You can see my creds and bonafides here: http://www.annecasselman.com and email: anne dot casselman at gmail dot com.

  27. Thank-you for sharing! I am so afraid for our future. I have a lump in my stomache thinking about how many people choose to ignore the FATAL changes our government is making. I would really like to print this letter and share in my neighborhood (elected conservative MP). Do you mind?

  28. This is an very interesting conversation and I can see how easy it is to see a big potential pot of money in the fighter jets to solve the issue; however, protecting Canada and protecting Canadian rights (as we know them) is not only a worthy investment but a necessary investment.

    • The biggest threat to Canada and Canadian rights isn’t coming from outside. It is coming from the top of Canadian politics (or rather the big businesses pulling the strings). Sure other threats “might” come from outside at some point in the future, but at the going rate there won’t be anything left worth protecting when that happens.

  29. Thanks for posting this. I have no clue on your credibility, however, in my gut I believe this information is true and to be honest, it makes me sick and angry and I have shared this blog with others. I don’t know what I can do to make it better, I feel like such a small puzzle piece.

  30. I am 63; my “hostages to the future” are grown and on their own. I am therefore able to be more openly defiant and political than I was a few years back. I have been doing what I can to keep these issues before the public eye, particularly, because I live in B.C., the oilsands/pipelines/tankers disaster-in-waiting. If we can’t stop them from starting to build those pipelines, I *will* be heading North to place myself in their path. It Will Not Happen.

  31. What utter rot.

    My husband has worked for or with various government departments for about 25 years. He currently works with sustainable resources. He works with government scientists on a daily basis. He develops the software they need to do their job and is a database manager. He has NEVER seen any evidence of this war on science or scientists, nor has he ever seen any evidence of “muzzling” of scientists. Oh, there’s politicking, so be sure, but it’s no different then the internal politics of any other major organization. People don’t like to have their grants cut or be told their jobs are a waste of time and money. Guess what? Most government positions are a waste of time and money! They are redundant, and the grant system encourages waste.

    Ms Naomi here writes her open letter to the world, but doesn’t even let us know who she is so we can fact check her. Since she’s already apparently lost her job to the Big Bad Conservatives, she should have no problem putting a name to her claims so we can see if she really is who and what she claims to be. If you’re going to make such sweeping charges, you’d better be willing to stand up to scrutiny.

    Frankly, while I have some issues with our current government, it’s the best one we’ve had in decades, and I’m glad to have Harper at the helm in these tumultuous economic times. One would have to be seriously brain addled to describe Harper as a Bush clone or compare him to Hitler, but then, brain addled pretty much describes most of the people mindlessly ranting against our current governemnt. Lord knows, evidence or reason has no part in their worlds.

    • Your dissent is welcome, but the fact that your husband hasn’t noticed muzzling doesn’t make it true. And you’re actually wrong (see below). Let me know if you want any more facts. And no, I will not publish my personal information. Because this isn’t “me” or my “conjectures” under scrutiny. These are public facts, I just happened to synthesize them. I provided links (like science tells us to) – maybe you should look at them. I can’t make up globally known information, especially when most of it has been handed out from the Conservatives themselves.


      • “I provided links (like science tells us to) – maybe you should look at them.”

        LOL Sorry, but your links are the news equivalent of rag mags. The HuffPo, CBC and the Star are particularily notorious for being fast and loose with the truth, especially when it comes to the current government – and yes, I know this from first hand experience. Sorry, but I’ll take my first hand sources that span decades over them any day.

      • Ok, I’ll dig deeper. Obviously something that has happened in the past few years cannot span decades of information, but these go as far to the source as I can find at 4:30 AM. If you think BBC, Toronto Star, CBC, and Huffington Post are all wrong collectively, that’s your choice. If you do not believe any of this evidence because you don’t like the sources, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. These are multiple international news sources, scientific journals, and personal experiences. You can look Bill C-38 up for yourself, and its pretty easy to identify the fact that ELA is closing. Any other sources you question?


      • “If you think BBC, Toronto Star, CBC, and Huffington Post are all wrong collectively, well that’s your choice. If you do not believe any of this evidence because you don’t like the sources, ”

        Actually, what I said was that they are fast and loose with the truth. They are agenda driven and partisan. The links you posted are not evidence. They are all basically opinion pieces, mostly repeating each other and often referencing each other.

        As for the omnibus bill, I haven’t read all 400 pages, but I did read the sections pertinent to the evironment, and I see nothing out of the ordinary in them.

        Frankly, I think you’ve allowed your personal emnity towards our current federal government to cause you to see conspiracies, as have a whole lot of other people who still can’t get over the fact that people they hate so much not only got elected and re-elected 3 times. When I read a comment like “The Conservatives effectively removed another board from the bridge between science and the public, and I had inadvertently helped.” I have to laugh. Do you really think you’re important enough that “The Conservatives” would delete information from a public database because of you? This is particularly funny coming from a DBA, who should know better. Are you even what you say you are? Because a whole lot of what you’re writing just doesn’t ring true.

      • I don’t think I’m important enough at all – that’s why I said inadvertent. The fact that you feel the need to attack me personally devalues your argument – it’s not about me. It’s about the government. I never said they removed public data – I said they removed all ability for the public to contact database managers (as in, you used to be able to see their phone number, address, and e-mail, and call them to inquire directly with questions, concerns, etc.) And again, what I’m writing is 95% public information with my opinion on it, so it really doesn’t matter whether or not you “think” its true, because its out there already.

      • “I never said they removed public data – now who is the one making things up? I said they removed all ability for the public to contact database managers (as in, you used to be able to see their phone number, address, and e-mail, and call them to inquire directly with questions, concerns, etc.)”

        So… that contact information was not public data? Is that what you’re saying?

      • Kunoichi, whatever your agenda is, if it boils down to semantics, you must be working very hard to define your ego.

        Contact information for all database managers in the area I worked in was removed. Interpret it as you will. Feel free to e-mail Environment Canada and ask yourself.

        And no, numbers of employees released doesn’t include janitors. They were externally contracted. I was internally contracted, meaning I was an employee of Environment Canada. Not just as database manager, but also as a research assistant. And yes, I include those people as people ‘let go’, because if there were no research assistants, laboratory assistants, technicians, database managers, and technologists, scientists would not be able to do their research.

    • Kunoichi,

      It seems you don’t wish to deal with the actual facts, dismissing them as leftie opinion. Do you not realize that Nature is the most prestigious scientific journal on the planet?

      • Nature hasn’t been a prestigious journal for at least a decade, and their articles are rife with bad science and shoddy journalism. It’s the same with Science magazine. The state of science in general is pretty bad right now; never more have so many studies had to be retracted for everything from fraud to incompetance. Granted, there always has been fraud and deception within the various scentific disciplines (as any other discipline), but never before has such fraud been so rewarding for activist scientists.

    • I merely read many news articles, both msm and alternative, and it is obvious from the many articles that both muzzling (preventing scientists from talking directly to journalists about their work) and an outright war (slashing environmental regulations, closing many facilities) is occurring. Despite the conservatives belief, saying “That’s simply not true.” does not make something that is true, false. I would also like to point out that repetition does not make something that is false, true. such as the oft repeated lie that conservatives are good fiscal managers and are doing a good job with our economy.

  32. Naomi, yes, I highly support you on this initiative you are spearheading. Hopefully, more Canadians like you will see, understand and join you to achieve the goal of this enterprise.

  33. Inspiring. Like you, beyond posts on FB it is hard to know what to do to protest what what I realize is so impossibly wrong. This week’s closure of the Experimental Lakes (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/feds-sink-key-science-program-152000845.html) is yet another blow to environmental research. In this modern age of social media it is, however, possible for individuals to help bring about change. Thank you for your words and the dialogue it has engendered. It is up to each of us to take action and ensure our voices are heard.

  34. It’s not about ‘short term monetary oil profits’ although I know it is easy for environmentalists who insist on turning a blind eye to the state of the economy, here and in the rest of the world, to view it as such. Contrary to what many like to think, the abundance of oil that we are lucky to have available in our country is an integral part of our economy, and provides literally countless jobs to a massive number Canadians. Yes, the bigwigs at the top benefit financially in a big way and many like to demonize them for that. But the majority of people who benefit are the everyday working class, Our brothers sisters, fathers, and grandparents who make a living working in the oil sands or the oil industry. It would be economic suicide for Canada to curtail or shut down it’s oil industry in today’s economic climate. It is one of Canada’s most abundant natural resources. And for those of you who think that prioritizing Canada’s economy is selfish or elitist, how about you ask the men and women who have to work 3 minimum wage (or less when it comes to food service) jobs in the United States whether they think that a successful economy is an elitist luxury. Don’t ask one of the unlucky 20% of the unemployed population who are completely unable to provide for themselves or their families – you are likely to get slapped in the face. Whether you like it or not, oil is a huge part of the success of our economy and that is not something that we can afford to jeopardize in today’s uncertain climate. Yes, it may have been more ‘green’ to live as subsistence farmers did in the 12th century, leaving virtually no carbon footprint. Luckily we have a government that recognizes that do so, despite the idealistic (but shockingly naive) desires of a great number of the population in this country, would likely throw Canada into an economic state as bad as what we see in the United States or worse. Yes,’money doesn’t matter’ is a pretty concept, however it is simply not true. Money is what allows hardworking men and women to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

    • As a lifelong Albertan I know very well that oil is a boom and bust resource, and to rely only upon oil for the country’s economy is insane. Besides, we could be leaders in clean energy if our politicians had the brains and guts to subsidize that instead of fossil fuels.

      Humans lived without oil for hundreds of thousands of years. We can’t live without water for a week.

      • People need to realize that the economy and the environment are tied together, they are not opposing forces. Yes, the oil industry is THE driving factor in the Albertan, and Canadian economies. YES, it’s also our largest polluter, along with the individuals who go about their day to day with combustion engines, gas furnaces and dirty electricity (coal, here in Alberta). However, the movement to “green” technologies is a potentially HUGE economic market, and we only need to look to Europe as forerunners to see how they have decided to benefit from green technology, instead of fight it. Unfortunately in Canada, we don’t see it that way. It’s our economy vs. the environment…for now. Individuals need to change their habits to CREATE the market for eco-friendly business to grow, and the government will be forced to follow, because that’s where the money will be. We can’t just complain to the government, that won’t accomplish anything. Change yourselves first.

      • I agree to an extent, FinAB. This is a letter against the governments motions, but there are also plenty of changes that people need to implement at a personal level, to validate their larger concerns. That’s not to say that someone who drives an SUV can’t complain, but it certainly means they should think about their personal lifestyle choices and change them before they do.

    • I would argue it’s “economic suicide” not to develop the oil/tar sands in a sustainable way. I don’t think that’s what’s happening now.

    • “The Other Voice” is in touch with reality where some of these posts…well? It is idealistic to think that the more people who are employed in the name of environment, the more is being done to improve it and this simply is not so. Anyone with the desire can look back at history and see a warming trends, and it is so minute so as to be laughable. YES, the very scientists you refer to have said that their own estimations were vastly flawed! Kyoto is a huge money pit and produces nothing tangible; that’s why so many countries have pulled out of it; scientists (full fledged ones, lol) gave them evidence on which to base that major decision. People like to think that pelting money at a cause betters a situation; then they drive home in their gas-guzzling SUV rather than do something REAL, like walk or bicycle. Money doesn’t change a damn thing except it employs a lot of people like the writer of that article, whom incidentally sounds like a young disgruntled ex-employee. Rest easy, dear heart, the world is turning as it should and changing as it has since the very beginning of time. Man’s VERY SURVIVAL depends, (and ALWAYS has) on the ability TO ADAPT TO CHANGE. You may note that around the entire world, much of the economic situation revolves around the oil and gas industry. This is not unique to Canada and much of Alberta’s wealth gets spread across ALL of Canada, employs people from all over Canada and indeed, the rest of the world!! “Idealistic and shockingly naive” as The Other Voice said, and I second that.

      • Perhaps you need to read all the comments more carefully. I am not a disgruntled ex-employee. I haven’t worked for Environment Canada for two years. I got fed up at the closure of ELA and decided to synthesize publicly available information and write it from my stand-point. I’m not mad at all about losing the opportunity to work for Environment Canada as I consider myself a flexible person. I do not like, however, that some people don’t understand that governments are the only ones who can provide vast, long-term, stable funding to large-scale research and monitoring that is the least vested in private gains. When the government is no longer interested and is in fact backsliding in stance compared to the rest of the world, we will not be able to provide quality protection or understanding of our environment. And without a healthy environment and clean water, we die. It’s pretty straightforward.

      • “Man’s VERY SURVIVAL depends, (and ALWAYS has) on the ability TO ADAPT TO CHANGE.”

        Wrong. Man’s VERY SURVIVAL depends, (and ALWAYS has) on being able to obtain clean water to drink and food to eat. Without either of those man will die.
        Do you think our bodies care about oil and plastics and money? Our bodies care about our next meals, proper hydration and maintaining their ability to function. The less we focus on having clean water, the dirtier our water will get. There are studies on pharmaceuticals, hormone drugs, pesticides, herbicides, toxic chemicals, etc. in our drinking water, which the cities are unable to filter out because of how expensive it would be to both create the filters and maintain them. However, if you make an effort to NOT pollute the water, then you don’t have to worry about removing those pollutants (and by-products of those pollutants) later on.

        The environment should be our primary concern. We depend on it both for our sustenance and for our resources.

        If that hasn’t swayed you yet, then think about this.
        Would you enjoy it if your descendants lived in a world without animals in the wild, without the ability to walk around in parks and other peaceful and relaxed settings, without the ability to enjoy nature? How would you feel if you grew up in a world where, as a kid, you were taught that B is for baboon and P is for polar bear and T is for tiger, but none of those animals existed outside of zoos – and even those didn’t have enough money to fully sustain themselves?

    • so is your point that we can’t have oil development and also have environmental regulations and support scientific research? I had not realized that being upset about the political decisions to decimate the environmental and scientific sectors of Canada is the same as saying that oil extraction must be stopped.

      • Jids, that being said, man WILL still have to adapt to global change to survive simply because the earth is ALIVE and has gone through cycles of change since the beginning of time and will indeed forever continue to do so.

        Of course man needs food and water; this is not news nor is it the point of this post. I am mortified at the state of water globally and this should be a primary concern globally. Studies have shown that after a weekend, the percentage of drugs in our municipal water system is markedly higher, what with weekend binging/expelling! : O I consider overuse and abuse of pharmaceuticals one of the biggest banes in the world, period, but HUGE monies and politics are involved and this is not likely to change any time soon. I do my part by refusing any of them unless absolutely necessary.

        I do not use pesticides or herbicides of any type at my home, period. I religiously recycle EVERYTHING I can and am extremely diligent with my use of water, electricity, and gas. I abhor any kind of waste and refuse to buy products that are over-packaged. I buy virtually nothing that is “heat and eat” and have become very conscious of how I use my oven as it is one of the largest hogs in the home of electricity. I grow what food I am able to, and oddly, encounter ZERO problems not using any pesticides. I use my clothes dryer (the other hog) about 4 times per year, opting to use a beautiful vintage rack I acquired, therefore increasing the humidity in my home at the same time with no additional resources used; bonus! Or dry outside in summer. It is small things like this that would make a huge difference if everyone did them.

        People like to think that pelting money at something is doing their part and clears their conscience when ACTUAL physical changes
        in their daily habits are what will make the biggest difference globally. I really do blame just plain LAZINESS for so much of this. People opt for convenience, instant gratification, and the fact that these products exist. Why pull/dig out weeds when you can blast them with chemicals?

        Another thing I blame is excessive focus being on technological gadgets. Ironically, including computer! We actually have TV shows about GAMES; what’s new – how good they are, etc. Play them on your phone! Zap dinner in the microwave and eat chemical laden slop so games can be played, TV watched in every room, etc. Too many people take absolutely NO efforts to curtail their consumption or control their habits in an ecologically friendly manner. This laziness is also resulting in a global obesity crisis but that’s another topic.

        I am just saying that throwing money at environmental change will not necessarily yield results, although people like to think that it will.

      • Laurie, cutting money from environmental regulation is like cutting food inspectors. Last time the Harper Conservatives did that, 22 Canadians died of listeriosis. Now they are cutting inspectors again, so apparently they want to kill more Canadians so they can make more jokes about death by a thousand cold cuts.



        Laurie, will you change your tune when someone you love dies from eating tainted meat?

      • They never disappeared. All comments are pre-approved by me, and I had not previously not approved some of your more facetious statements as I don’t need anger or insults (especially in capital letters) on my blog, and WordPress automatically spammed all the rest coming from you, I just saw them now. I have no problem with links or civilized dialogue.

    • HollyStick – ironically, I was one of the ones who was in hospital with listeria!! It seemed to weaken my immunity and I bounced in and out of the hospital with ailments like dominoes for months! That being said, fat must be trimmed from our budget, and too much is being spent on environmental without tangible results – like Kyoto, which is why so many countries opted out.

      • I think it is critical to be fiscally responsible. I am not a scientist, economist or a politician but I have a keen interest in the bottom line and personal accountability. That we are having an impact on the climate is now beyond that discussion stage. 99% of scientist world wide would agree.

        When we are discussing fiscal responsibility I would hope that the debt we leave our children is part of that discussion. Political ideologies and Economics do not happen in a bubble. A stitch in time saves nine.

        I would think a little cognitive complexity in analysis is important in discussing the present reductions in environmental transparencies and accountability. The is a lot of research and science (not politics) that demonstrates we are in need of serious policy changes for long term sustainability. The translates into significant debt for our children with our present course.

        I am not sure about you but my parents and grandparents made an effort to create a better future for their family. They put aside immediate personal gain to provide that for us. To watch the present level of environmental degradation without checks and balances for future generations is an affront to what they sacrificed for us.

        The discussion is not about right or wrong as many would like to characterize it. It is about responsibility. Any sane person would want to know if they were destroying their families chance of a positive future. Let common sense dictate.

        The world has lost 30% of it’s Biodiversity since 1970. If you have the slightest interest in science think about what that means – for one minute.(following link to article). Even if the figures are wrong and it is only 2%- even if it is due solely to natural causes (which it isn’t) It is time to educate an support initiatives that support our families future.


        from the article

        The world’s biodiversity is down 30 percent since the 1970s, according to a new report, with tropical species taking the biggest hit. And if humanity continues as it has been, the picture could get bleaker.

  35. We all have a responsibility to be active stewards of Mother Earth. The Tar Sands project is our current government’s choice as the economic driver for Canada, a profit-driven initiative catering to corporations while decimating our environment, our indigenous lands, people and health. “Dissent” is addressed through muzzling of free speech and shutting down Canada’s Environmental Regulatory Agencies (under the guise of budget cuts and ridiculous “omnibus” bills). Free your mind, educate yourself, make informed decisions, HAVE THE DEBATE, together we have the chance to mobilize and affect change…if we believe. If not for ourselves, then for our children…and our children’s children and all future generations. Please take the time to look over the link I am including. Marsi.


  36. As an academic who teaches Canadian (and Global) environmental policy, it’s regrettable to realize that the country that once was the epitome of environmental concern (in 2006 Canadians’ top concern was environment), is now the model of what is wrong with environmental policy worldwide.

    And it’s not Canadians, it’s the Conservative government. It embarrasses me to say that I’m a Canadian scholar of environmental issues when Canada’s government has had such an embarrassing record in the global environmental arena in the past few years.

    Our amazing scientists and scholars are not being listened to, and I understand my fellow academics’ disenchantment with how Canadian environmental policy and politics have unfolded in recent years.

    Thanks for this letter. Know that you’re not alone.

  37. Thanks so much for the post, very informative! I just wanted to say that the link to the proposed omni-bill was not working. It is infuriating the complete lack of respect the government gives the earth. Where do they plan on living once it is no longer usable and can no longer support a population with such rapid growth… I find the whole issue frustrating and ironic, so thanks a lot for speaking out!

  38. The ideal of commerce over everything is so hateful.. I cannot believe how far we have come .. it was a sad day when David Susuki had to quit his own foundation so as to distance himself and still be able to speak… We all take courage from your bravery.. What can we do to stop this…NDP all the way

    • Theresa Tova – are you kidding? Suzuki got in hot water over the “charity” status funds being shoveled into politics! It is the non-profit tax deductible funds being put into political agendas! And he is still with the organization – he just doesn’t want to be front and center as head honcho when the poop hits the fan, as these “charities” are being looked at long and hard now! Sad day?! INDEED!! I always really respected Suzuki until recently – do a little homework, girl!

      • As to lower comment, Holly – as said, do some homework on what Suzuki’s changes to position and what’s happened and why. Number’s don’t lie, and it is because of this that all these non-profit organizations are being scrutinized. Why would anyone smear such a prestigious environmentalist? I was surprised and disappointed…

  39. The scientists who are under attack have all my sympathy (likewise the environment groups lately); the Harper government is destructive to Canada. I don’t know what their motivation is, maybe a combination of corporatism, rightwing ideology, religious fundamentalism and just plain ignorance; I think many Cabinet Ministers are not too bright.

    The muzzling is something I’ve been aware was happening for a while; US government scientist contacts with media were similarly controlled under Bush, but apparently they have become freer under Obama while Canadian scientists are being muzzled.

    This search of “unmuzzlescience” will find many tweets with links to relevant articles going back several months:

    Mike De Souza and other Postmedia Star and CBC reporters have been doing great work reporting on this stuff and it’s worth following their twitter feeds. https://twitter.com/#!/mikedesouza

    Also the Tyee: http://thetyee.ca/Topic/Environment/

    Various science and climate change bloggers and Canadian political bloggers and tweeters have been following aspects of this issue, such as http://deepclimate.org/ and http://www.desmogblog.com/search/node/muzzle (not in chronological order) and a lot of links here: http://breadnroses.ca/community/index.php/topic,7356.0.html

    So you are not alone, and the more we can spread the news to Canadians the better.

    • Holly, please do some homework on Suzuki, as that was your original post. All of these foundations need to be looked at, and that is being done.

      Please refer to my other posts as they are relevant to the original posting. The times, Holly, they are a-changing and we must also.

      I don’t blame Harper, who has kept Canada from feeling the effects of the world economic crisis far better than most other countries.

      • Laurie, you are, like most Canadians, totally dis-informed. Harper has done nothing to save Canada from the melt-down. Oil, coal, iron ore, wheat ans rock have saved us. We are selling ourbirthright as fast as the multi=national corporations can ship it out. Those of us who stilll can buy it back as Toyotas, Hyundais and Danish Butter Cookies.

  40. Thankyou for the courage to write this letter. We are in this together. I work for an enviro charity which as you know are also under attack. We have come together in the hopes of mobilizing Canadians to speak out. We have chosen June 4 as the national day – the day before world environment day. Pls help us spread the word and sign on to http://www.blackoutspeakout.ca

  41. “This Conservative minority leadership was voted in on a thin string in the lowest voter election turnout in recent history, but thanks to our ridiculous voting laws, have 100% full power to do whatever they want.”

    Please, everyone reading this…I have dedicated the last three years of my life to Fair Vote Canada for reasons just like this letter expresses. We desperately need to change our voting system so all our votes are effective we get the Parliament we vote for. This is the game changer.

    We are at a critical time in history with all three centre left parties talking seriously about electoral reform. A lot is at stake.

    If you are in Toronto, or know someone who is, please encourage them to come out for the Fair Vote Canada Convention on May 26. We have a top line-up of activists (Leadnow, Tria Donaldson), politicians (Stephane Dion, Elizabeth May, Craig Scott, Peggy Nash) and reform experts. We can build this movement to make this a ballot box issue, but we need everyone that cares to lend their support! Just $20 at the door.

  42. I too am very scared about all the damage done and planning to come!!! The problem here is immage. The idea is out there that we are in a finacial crisis (making people worry about thier jobs thier house thier family) and that there is lots of “environment” in Cananda so why worry about sutch trivial things as some plot of trees! This is the sad truth of what the masses think and therefor why Harper was allowed back into power. They think he’s the guy that is going to help them keep thier job and feed thier families. It’s hard to argue a tree or a bare’s life in front of someone kids. What needs to be figured out is how to show people that this equation of us or environment, isn’t true! That what Harper is doing isn’t bring money to canadiens or thier families but to forin goverments and or large corporate stockholders. That the health of canadiens children ARE being threatened by what Harper is doing. That the environment IS a sorce not only for “hippie dippy” circle of life helth but also dollars and cents. Not as resorces to be depleatted but at a source of pride in preservation that was once something we had to impress the world. Wilde Wonders that brings people from all over the world to visit Canada and see and yes spend thier money or take back ideas to thier countries in hope to impliment. That is the idea of Canada I always thought we were, leaders in knowing what is really important. With harper in control we are only moving farther and farther away from that! How can we show people the truth of what is happening and make them care enough to do something….I’m not sure. I have, my freinds have posted doc and vids. pic’s and writting (like this one) and yet I don’t see people who don’t agree changing thier minds. What else can be done??????

  43. This is a problem everywhere. Just look at http://www.zerohedge.com for financial lawlessness and http://www.salon.com/writer/glenn_greenwald/ for a look at the political lawlessness. Until wikileaks I didn’t realize that countries like Australia and Canada were just as bad. Everyone should search the cables — you will be shocked. The problem isn’t the USA, but this: http://nlcpr.com/blog/?p=2357 .

    Additionally, Universities have been taken over by bureaucracies and if you search a scientific journal index for engineering articles with the key word Newfoundland, you’ll get about 95% on oil and gas or mining research papers. Sustainability? Forget about it. I asked one tenured engineering professor at MUN — have you ever been funded for anything you thought ought to be researched. His reply, Never. Many profs have nothing but contempt for the system and have given up trying to change it from within. They are convinced that chance will only happen if forced by the public — and that requires some social media work, embarrassing YouTube videos and grass roots work.

    The book disciplined minds is worth a read — you’ll understand while “professionals” aren’t going to help — instead most will preserve the status quo and cater to those in power. Dissents, or “oppositional professionals” are a small minority, perhaps 2%. The writer of this blog is obviously one of them. I’ve made a few enemies too.

    This crap needs to be fought on many levels. For my part, I am publishing original articles like this: http://nlcpr.com/AvalonPowerDemand.php and I am more than willing to host and create an online database look-up for any data sets that come my way anonymously. I think it is outrageous that public research is hidden and that most research papers are behind pay-walls. Free speech on the internet is also disappearing as well as government protection. http://nlcpr.com/ScamOverview.php mentions some of the crap that has come my way recently.

    If any of you are interested in topics like the carrying capacity of your province, alternative energy issues, anything that impacts sustainability, or IT privacy issues, visit nlcpr.com and leave a message, especially if you think I should explore something specific. Use Twitter to find out what is going on in the world. Use Torbrowser if you need to be anonymous. My scientific fields are Biology and Electrical Engineering and I have 25 years of information technology too.

    Thanks Namoi.

  44. I am outraged, appalled but not shocked by your letter because this is something many people have suspected and questioned for a long time. I will take a stronger stand now, I will share this. You are right, we must all fight to protect this land now, before it’s too late. Thank you

  45. Pingback: Harper’s Canadian Government Takes Aim to Ruin Environment and many other things via Bill C-38 « DC Lessoway

  46. Pingback: John van Gurp » An Open Letter to the World on the Governmental Destruction of the Environment in Canada « Deciphering Science

  47. Love the bravery of your essay. They must be stopped – it is a pocket dictatorship and a rat’s nest of anti-life thugs. I am supporting any initiatives to defeat them.

  48. Sounds like a letter from a former, disgruntled employee and maybe a little self serving. I doubt the gov’t is saying “screw it” on environmental issues. Fact is that all bills go before parliament and all parties who have been voted in by constituents can have their say and influence. My expectation is that sanity will prevail after all is said and done. Naomi needs to look at the fact that the voters elected our government and we trust them to make the right decisions.

    • Again, I am not being disgruntled with being let go. I was let go several years ago, and while I wish I could still have continued in my projected capacity, I have moved on. I am still, however, disgruntled with the continued de-regulation of environmental protection, and the decimation of federal science research. Stable long term, cohesive ecosystem research can generally only be carried out by a consistent funding source, which is globally and usually – governmental. Universities cannot carry the weight of national research projects. To be the second largest land mass in the world, and in a state of decimation of environmental regulation, is ridiculous and fights progression.

      As for voters voting for politicians, and trusting them? Hardly. I didn’t vote for any of this, and neither did the majority of Canadians. And what does that mean, once someones in office, they can do whatever they want with no citizen-based pushback?

      • Uncloaked – you keep saying how big Canada is – how about touching on what our population is compared to the mess that is say, China – a much smaller mass with far greater population who puts itself forth as being environmentally A1-friendly but is among the worst abusers in the entire world! Check out their air quality and population! Stop the hand wringing long enough to get down and kiss the ground because you live in Canada!! Again, throwing unlimited dollars at problems does not necessarily solve them! There are cutbacks right through government, as there should be! Fat must be trimmed! And, really, if you really wanted to be employed in the environment field, you would be.

      • I don’t “keep saying” it, I said it once. And yes, I think it’s important. As I replied to someone else who was mad that I cared about environmentalism in Canada when there are children in developing countries dying – the fact that there are other problems in the world doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care or act on problems happening here. What is happening to Environment Canada and DFO is not ‘fat trimming’. They are getting rid of entire divisions of research, closing internationally renowned research facilities, selling off parts of national parks, gutting protection acts (how does that save money?), etc.

        As for ‘if I really wanted to be employed’ bit – don’t attack me personally. I’ve taken on a full-time unpaid environmental internship in addition to two minimum wage jobs just to be able to stay in my field. Cutting federal funding to environmentalism has trickle down effects at every level. Meaning I searched for 6 months daily, and refused to join the flood of science workers out to Alberta, before I finally accepted that I’d rather work every day for free in the name of environmentalism, if that was my only option available.

    • Bob, the Conservatives did not say anything while campaigning for election about destroying all of the environmental safeguards that the Government of Canada has had in place for decades. They did not say anything about firing almost all of our scientists and letting polluters run rampant, with no government controls on them.

      The behaviour of the Harper Conservatives is unprecedented in Canada and they have shown complete contempt for the opinions of Canadians.

      And Bob, Canadians are not sheep.

      • Bob – people in powerful positions, like a government, should never be blindly trusted to make the right decisions – just open a history book. Everything should be questioned and they should have to explain their actions and be accountable for them. They work for us – I know I wouldn’t trust an employee to make decisions that affect me and my family on a daily basis without any input from me.

        Thanks for this Naomi. Whether people believe it or not – they are talking about it, researching it and sharing it. Like you mention, that’s the first step.

  49. It is truly disheartening to learn that if we can’t access any public data that is suppose to be available for us, then where can we turn to do? The science community that we rely on for any impact on environment, needs our support today. Tell your elected members, what you think before it’s too late for decisions are made without you.

  50. I am shocked, yet equally not surprised. Here in Australia we are also seeing an assault on science and the environment from Government and the media, maybe not to the same extent, but things are changing for the worse. I hope the world is watching and stands up to situations such as thing one. It is scary and disgusting to see happen.

  51. Very disheartening. The problem is political, but so is the solution. Scientists need to take the fight to the politicians. Band together. Get involved. Run for office! You have contacts and a bunch of colleagues who suddenly have a lot more time on their hands to help.

  52. a very compassionate letter. Thank you so much for writing. I think it’s so very important for all of us Canadians who don’t stand for what is going on to connect and empower ourselves through that connection. It sometimes can be very lonely to live in a strong PC riding among those who don’t seem to care pr think twice about what our country is facing. My MP doesn’t even respond back to me anymore – despite the fact that I live in a riding that would be greatly affected by the changes to the FEA. But you’ve inspired me to write one more time. I hope they don’t fall on deaf ears.

  53. We need to free ourselves from governments which are owned by the multi-national corporations. We need to reform our electoral system to that of proportional representation. The professional politiciansare not going to change the system unless they are compelled to. We need a petiton demanding a refendum on the subject, signed by several million people and delivered with an ultimatum hat unless they comply we will run a cndidate in every constituency with that as the sole plank in the platform.

  54. I am from the USA, but I am glad to be made aware of this. It isn’t about a Kardashian, so I may have never heard about this otherwise! Keep up the good work!

  55. Hello,

    Great article and it is being circulated fairly well, keep up the good work.

    I cried also, we all do, who all? We need to be together. We need to all make our way to parliament hill until there are a million, two million, three. You think there aren’t 3 million Canadians who wouldn’t be willing to go right now if it meant some real change? If it mean enough people you wouldn’t be singled out and beat, arrested, defamed?

    The problem is, once again and as I always like to say, we are still thinking symptoms. I don’t know why we humans love to look at symptoms instead of root causes, probably because they are easy, and we are lazy.

    To understand what is happening in our world we only need to understand one thing, and it can unite everybody: What democracy??? Humans have been oppressed by their wealthy rulers since time immemorial. Today, it is the multinational corporations and banking cartels. It was transferred to that system when the monarchs and bankers of Europe saw that America was too far away to control, that it was creating a truly democratic republic, and that couldn’t be allowed. Before the monarchs there were emporers, pharoes, you name it. Humans barely have had a chance at democracy before it was warped and taken away.

    Until people realize that it is the same old story, good vs evil, lords vs the peasants, etc, nothing is going to really change. It isn’t just about some vague multinational corporation, it is about the tragic human condition that we are ruled by overlords.

    • code:freedom, many would dismiss what you are saying as being part of a conspiracy theory, but unfortunately you are correct. We are in general behaving like sheep, easily manipulated by media propaganda to continue to hand over power and wealth to the oligarchs that control our economies and societies. We only have “democracy” if the policies that we elect politicians to enact stay within reason. If we ever tried to oust our oligarch leaders then I think we would get a taste of how much “democracy” we truly have.

    • Yoju are a little off base here I’m afraid. The Scandinavian countries are monarchies but they have socialist governments which are far in advance of the so-called American democracy.They are elected through proportional representation which is what we should adopt.

      • Bill Rolls, you seem to lean towards socialism as a model of the direction we should be moving our economies and societies, as I would too, within reason of course. You might find the website “Bullion Bulls Canada” interesting if you want to delve more deeply into the economics of what is happening in North America and Europe. He is a somewhat left leaning commentator on the destruction of our democracies by corporate oligarchy. Although, I have to say that he and myself are not really “left leaning”, it’s actually quite centrist, it’s just that mainstream media and economics and has veered so far to the right now that in comparison anything seems left wing.

  56. Harper is a disgrace to Canada and the world. He should be removed from office and charged with crimes against humanity. He is in part responsible for the deaths of 100’s of millions of people over the next few decades through his pathological avoidance of developing renewable energy systems. As holder of the largest reserves of relatively easy to develop fossil fuels, Canada would play a key role in the development of alternative energy, because it takes fossil fuels to build renewable energy systems. If we burn all our fossil fuels then we won’t be able to develop a renewable alternative!

    Since the world is now at Peak Oil, we need to not only be conserving our remaining fossil fuels but developing alternative strategies, But not only is Harper not interested in developing alternatives, he is actively pushing fossil fuel extraction to even greater extraction rates.

    HARPER IS MURDERING YOUR CHILDREN. You think that sounds extreme? Answer me this then: how will humanity survive when there’s no oil left? The answer? If we don’t develop alternatives, IT WON’T!

    If you are interested in an indepth analysis of energy and ecology and economics, and how they are all interacting in this period of Peak Oil to threaten the very continuation of humanity, I have written a long article which I am still updating. It is on my Thermodynamics page.

    • We need to l.earn from the socialist governments of Scandinavia. Denmark is totally energy sufficient through windmills in the sea and burning methane from manure on farms etc. Norway has the second highest per capita income in the world because the government owned the oil company. They have now bought up a portion of the Tar Sands. They don’t use the oil. 99% of their energy comes from hydro. They have more miles of railroad than highways etc.

  57. What can be done to regain democracy in Canada from Mr. Harper’s purloined Parliament: Bill C-38, a.k.a. The Environmental Devastation Act, passed second reading on 14 May, and is now in a time-limited review by a stacked Finance sub-committee. Three opposition parties are calling for our help – Liberal ( http://www.liberal.ca/ ), Green ( http://www.greenparty.ca/c-38 ), NDP ( http://budget2012.ndp.ca/ ). It has to be stopped, urgently, by civic voices outside Parliament. Please do what you can.

    See also http://www.voices-voix.ca

    Encouragement from the internet:

    Bill C-38, Second Reading – Canada, 14 May 2012

    The clanking treads have stopped, are now in place.
    The turret turns.
    What twisting mangled rot is held upright in this impeccable armour?

    See there! Rust. It leaks.

  58. To regain democracy in Canada from Mr. Harper’s purloined Parliament:

    Bill C-38, a.k.a. The Environmental Devastation Act, passed second reading on 14 May, and is now in a time-limited review by a stacked Finance sub-committee. Three opposition parties are calling for our help – Liberal http://www.liberal.ca/ , Green http://www.greenparty.ca/c-38 , NDP http://budget2012.ndp.ca/ . It has to be stopped, urgently, by civic voices outside Parliament. Please do what you can – and forward. It will make the difference.

    See also http://www.voices-voix

    Encouragement from online:

    Bill C-38, Second Reading – Canada, 14 May 2012

    The clanking treads have stopped, are now in place.
    The turret turns.
    What twisting mangled rot inside is held upright by this impeccable armour?

    See there! Rust. It leaks.

    c. Creative Commons

  59. I just posted this blog entry on FB. It’s embarrassing what the conservative government is doing to science/research, but most importantly it’s damaging to our long-term health and survival. Thank you for speaking out.

  60. I applaud your willingness to speak out although by doing so you are branded a eco-terrorist in this governments eyes. This information should scare and alert every thinking person in Canada to the crisis that this government has thrust upon us all. I just finished working with a fellow that came from the oil industry directly involved with fracking and what he told me left little doubt in my mind that the damage we are doing to this planet will be next to impossible to undo. This government is making sure that negative information on the oil industry will be hidden from the public’s and ears and I say it loud and clear shame on them and shame on the rest of us for allowing them to do it.

  61. Sadly, it’s all part of their master plan. They don’t want the truth out there at all, so scientists must be silenced. Just look into geo engineering. There are so many pieces to this puzzle, I don’t even know where to begin…

  62. Naomi, thank you for writing this impassioned plea for environmental and social justice. I share your sentiments, as do many others. I also recognize the need for direct action and to that end I’m going to run across BC this summer, the length of the proposed Northern Gateway pipelines, connecting with people in the northern communities in an effort to spark discourse on tar sands alternatives. I think it is imperative that we collectively envision a clean energy future and consider ways of transitioning towards it. Learn more at: http://www.bandtogetherbc.com

  63. Some comments on this blog: 1. I’m sad for Canada, but the people are ignorant sheep, so they will bend over and take it. 2. I’m always in a flux between cynicism, apathy, and indignation when it comes to what’s happening. 3. Dissents, or “oppositional professionals” are a small minority, perhaps 2%. 4. My MP doesn’t even respond back to me anymore. 5. How can we show people the truth of what is happening and make them care enough to do something….I’m not sure.
    NOW is the time to take to the streets! This means giving up a few weekends this summer to join other Canadians in their outrage. I am particularly upset by all the whining scientists who refuse to take any action besides writing useless letters to Conservative MP’s. The union that represents government scientisst has a web site that says it will mail a copy of their “take action” letter to Jack Layton. Now that is real action, Canadian-style!

  64. We can only hope that the Canadian people wake up and turf this gaggle of Neanderthals before they can do irreversible damage to Canada and the world as a whole.

  65. You could replace “environment” with “aviation safety” into most statements of this article. It’s so sad.

  66. If a scienctist is a true scientest he will not work form any preset opinion and if they believe the global warming agenda their opinion and results will reflect their theory. So then you will find the results you want. Example how many birds get killed by the oil sands? Or consider how many birds get killed by high rise buidings in toronto? So who is the real problem. Or is anyone a problem? And stop blaming Canada and maybe look at China or but maybe you can’t do anything about China? Just some alternative thoughts.

  67. Pingback: An Open Letter to the World « samadhisoft.com

  68. Our newspaper, a community weekly, has reported on the issues of northeastern Alberta for the last 35 years. We are downstream of the oilsands industry and serve the small Aboriginal communities in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. I have a few observations regarding your post:
    – The Harper Conservatives have never hidden the fact that they want to re-orient the Canadian political landscape, shifting it dramatically to the right. Given that, everything they are doing is driven by the current ideology of the right, so the consequences are predictable. There should be no surprise over what they are doing.
    – Past Conservative governments in Canada (federal and provincial), with similar objectives using like methodology have not lasted long – once the voting public woke up to the consequences. It is possible to be a Conservative, follow principles like fiscal responsibility and keeping government small and efficient and still foster a sustainable economy, protect the environment and maintain targeted and effective social programs that improve general quality of life and result in fewer inmates in jails. The Harper Conservatives seem not to understand that, and they too will very likely pay the price.
    – A lack of care in methodology is a routine mistake by industry and government – typically the result that our economy is based on the profit motive and that is fueled by the fact material well-being is what drives our society. In that context, in cases like the oilsands industry, achieving success (profit) is paramount and consequences are dealt with afterwards. That is the nature of the beast and we are all a part of it, but that does not mean it can’t be improved.
    – The environmental protection system in place prior to the Harper Conservatives coming to power – that you were a part of – was not very effective. The environment was already under siege from bad industrial practices, ineffective regulation and a lack of commitment on the part of governments. Perhaps you should take heart in the fact that it is often the case that things have to get worse in order to get better.

    In the early 1980s our newspaper brought to light the processes of the 14 pulp mills and plywood plants that were dumping effluent directly into the Peace River system (the Peace joins the Athabasca in northern Alberta downstream of the oilsands, forming the Slave River, then flows north to the Mackenzie and the Arctic Ocean). Once the public became of aware of the serious negative impact of those awful chemicals on the health of the aquatic environment and the fishery (and eventually the people), an awareness chain reaction took place that grew into a movement of such numbers and force it compelled government and industry to take notice. Suddenly the pulp mills changed from using bleach to hydrogen peroxide, virtually eliminating the problem. The point – sometimes it takes a few people to act as catalysts and create public awareness, which fosters change for the better. Perhaps it is the role of you and others like you to be such a catalyst.

    Please visit the Northern Journal website and check out our stories. (www.srj.ca). We are an award-winning, independent weekly newspaper and we routinely write on these matters (As well as the good practices of the oilsands industry).
    And please note, we are routinely frustrated in attempts to write stories on anything to do with the federal government – shut out by protective communications staff. If you or any of your followers have information on federal government cuts or practices the public should be aware of, please forward it to me (or go to “Contact us” on our website). We can assure anonymity to anyone, if required.
    Don Jaque (don@norj.ca)
    Managing editor

    • I like your optimism Don that the Canadian public will wake up to the consequences of what the Conservative government is doing. I’m trying to share it. I appreciate what you’re doing at the Journal to let people know what’s going on. But it is disheartening when people like Naomi are frustrated in serving the country by protecting the environment. We struggle on…

  69. Thank you Naomi. This is an enlightening letter. And I hear you. I am presently working on an art project that, along with social/women issues/aging/patriarchy, addresses also environmental degradation… degradation that seems invisible with so many frightening, risky gambles under iuncreasingly clandestine corporate/public policies. Your letter reinforces my confidence with the works I have been engaged in for the past two years… in preparation for a public exhibition in Halifax within the next two months.

    After my public exhibit in Halifax, I will be taking the exhibit on the road, across Canada and the USA, under the banner of GALLERY UNPLUGGED… basically, outside of the traditional art gallery venues and institutions. I will be announcing the first public showing as soon as I find a suitable location in Halifax.

  70. The draconian agenda of proper, utter commoditization of the Earth we share with all Life: its fresh water, clean air and unspoilt environments; cannot be pursued until a critical volume of it has been decimated, to make it economically “scarce”. Does anybody doubt that is the plan…?

  71. Thank you Naomi……every Canadian needs to read this and act in whatever way they can, to preserve and protect our environment. Science rules, Harper drools, wake up and act lest you be called fools.

  72. Naomi, I enjoyed your incite very much. I am an avid dirtbike rider/ hiker/ mountain biker, although i know a lot of environmentalists would not agree with some of my hobbies, i have always tried to minimize impact and join in trail days which help fix any damage that is produced by the sports i love so much.

    As i was out riding today in maple ridge, following the same trails which i ride every weekend, i was abruptly stopped by pink “danger” flagging and a sign that read, “Active Logging Area”, as far as i could see all the trees lay flat. Although i knew the area i ride in is a woodlot, I never realized how much the sight of hundreds of fallen trees made me feel. As i mentioned earlier i am an avid hiker and grew up on the north shore mountains, the sight of all these beautiful trees laying on the ground made me feel disgusted.

    It has become clear to me that our resources in this country are being pillaged and sold to other parts of the world at an alarming rate. Soft wood lumber, Oil from the oil sands, water even; are all being shipped internationally to create money for government operated companies, or foreign owned but locally operated companies. I encourage, if anyone is willing to write to their MP, that you touch on the topic of a portion of money going back to the areas which have had their resources removed.

    Thank you for attempting to get people to speak out about this. I wish you the best.

  73. I was going to share this but the last piece about stone age evilness put me off, because the stone age people, like all indigenous people were deeply in harmony with their environment

    • Touche. I think it’d be hard to identify what they were, but it wasn’t fair of me to use a group like that – it was just a thoughtless grump. I shall correct that.

  74. I personally haven’t spent enough time studying current events because there is so much manipulated hear-say out there. Well, that and being surrounded by constant peer-pressure to just have “fun”. Although I know the world isn’t perfect, and it would be awfully difficult to interject our current direction, I like to fantasize that this step by step guide could eventually enrich our lives. Pretty much just food for thought.

    1. All Canadians refinance their houses. Take the equity along with all the paper in their bank accounts and invest in their communities, or hard assets, (pretty much a bank-run).
    2. Nationalize the banking system.
    3. Vote for a truly democratic, transparent, federal government which merely implements the choices of affected individuals in specific communities.
    4. Legalize all cannabis production and start building pulping mills to aid in low energy paper production. (Plus all of the other plant’s perks)
    5. Build a new horticultural system dependent on no impact bio-domes and aquaponics. Building these in every community would not only create thousands of jobs, it would also aid in a world trying to embrace a lower energy lifestyle. Why import goods when we could grow produce year round ourselves close to home… Creating a model for urban food independence would certainly fund the need for more environmental science interaction.
    6. Slowly, Canadian society would develop a sense of culture (aside from beer, hockey, and american T.V) due to our direct involvement in each others lives on a daily basis.

    Of course those are the bare bones of my visions but it’s definitely a starting point. The only thing I’m truly sure of, is what I can do as an individual. Be the change that you want to see in the world.. Even if it means having to follow suit, incorporate these ideas, and go into further debt and uncertainty. If we try to manifest all of our collective ideas into a flourishing sociological system, It will require the utmost structure, communication, and discipline. That’s why it’s usually easier for most to just say fuck it and let someone who barely represents them on all fundamental political levels decide for us.

    Strung out on the future, burned out on the past.

  75. Naomi I have been working with helping immigrants to come and live in america but my focus is on the environmental sciences. I will be returning to the University of Toronto and studying environmental science with a focus on the world economic crisis as my up coming thesis. Plese let me know how I can help the cause.


    Sally Sterling

  76. What is happening in Canada is against the worldwide trend. Climate science is respected in most countries. The countries where it is demonised are those countries like Canada, US and Australia that have large fossil fuel deposits.

    Other countries, like Scotland and Denmark, have ambitious plans to generate 100% of their electricity from renewables within the decade. This has bipartisan support.

    Worldwide, investment in renewables for power production rose from $50bn in 2004 to $260b in 2011. Over the same time investment in fossil fuel power production fell from $250b to $40b. Source: IEA and Bloomberg New Energy Fund.

    Blogged here…


    Canadian miners are afraid their assets will be stranded so they are digging them up as fast as they can.

    • @mildaykerr While I sort of agree with the assessment here I have to point out that the oil sands are not used for power generation. I do get the feeling that production of all fossil fuels is being accelerated though…Probably due in part to the backstop technologies getting closer and closer and the urgency to get top dollar for the old fuels before they become worthless and while the prices remain high.

  77. Thank you for telling people what you know. It’s a small, but crucial step in accomplishing a goal we need to attain. It’s people like you that will change the world.

  78. Great piece, and I am very sympathetic. Unfortunately, I am also pessimistic. The Conservatives have a majority. They are going to do what they want for four years. And because the economy is doing relatively well, the majority of Canadians are not motivated to make waves. I’m not sure most Canadian even believe that we’re in the midst of an environmental crisis.

    Regardless, I have lost my faith in elected government to effect change anyway. Sadly, elected officials are becoming tools of big (oil) business (maybe they always have been?).

    Rather than beating a dead horse, maybe scientists like yourself would be better off devoting your energies to innovative non-governmental efforts that are seeking solutions to some of our worst problems.

    I recently read a book called Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. As an environmentally-conscious Canadian, I found this to be an inspiring book that highlighted ongoing technological developments that will have an enormously positive impact on the environment.

    It also gave me hope that things can get better in our lifetimes, and that we can all find ways to participate. And most of the developments discussed in the book have nothing to do with government.

  79. Great piece, and I am very sympathetic. Unfortunately, I am also pessimistic. The Conservatives have a majority. They are going to do what they want for four years. And because the economy is doing relatively well, the majority of Canadians are not motivated to make waves. I’m not sure most Canadian even believe that we’re in the midst of an environmental crisis.

    Regardless, I have lost my faith in elected government to effect change anyway. Sadly, elected officials are becoming tools of big (oil) business (maybe they always have been?).

    Rather than beating a dead horse, maybe scientists like yourself would be better off devoting your energies to innovative non-governmental efforts that are seeking solutions to some of our worst problems.

    I recently read a book called Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. As an environmentally-conscious Canadian, I found this to be an inspiring book that highlighted ongoing technological developments that will have an enormously positive impact on the environment.

    It also gave me hope that things can get better in our lifetimes, and that we can all find ways to participate. Most of the developments discussed in the book have nothing to do with government.

  80. This is an important letter. I am disturbed by the writer’s experiences and encourage the government to provide better support for the environmental sciences.

  81. I had dinner with an old friend the other night. An engineer, this old friend is someone I have always held in high esteem as an intelligent person. Without even being asked, he volunteered his opinion on climate change saying; “I don’t think that human activity has any effect on climate. Just my opinion” This sounded like a rehearsed line from an otherwise intelligent and critical thinker. It reminded me of people in the 50’s during the ‘red scare’ who would profess their views against communism often in public so that everyone could see that they had their politics straight.

    • Mike, the same scientists who alarmed us with stats about global warming are now saying that their calculations were greatly skewed. The earth has had warming trends since time began. History is the surest predictor of the future. Why have an overwhelming majority of them come froward to say their calculations were wrong? There’s no doubt pollution and such exists…but it is plain arrogant to think we can change a cycle that has existed since the beginning of time…the sky is not falling…

      • This is a very unfounded statement, and precisely what scientists aim to dispel with research.

        The same scientists? Who? Please direct your evidence to reports, press conferences, etc., to justify what is otherwise, an unjustified opinion. Where are these reports saying global warming induced by humans is not happening? Part of what scientists always stipulate at the end of any scientific paper is that “more research must be done to fully understand X”. Thus, to correct calculations is not a denial of climate change. It’s a correction based on new knowledge. Which is how knowledge accumulation works. We adjust when we learn something new. We do not denigrate our lack of knowledge previously, or use that to justify our current opines.

        Hearing a denial of anthropogenically-induced climate change is akin to speaking to a Bible creationist. Yes, the planet has warmed and cooled many times, for many varying geographic and geologic reasons, in a very intricate dance of global cycles. But never has it been magnified and amplified so vastly and intensely by a single species, through the tool of global technology (not to ignore the contributions of early bacteria, algae, and photosynthesis of course). Being sentient means we have responsibility. Being sentient means we are also capable of realizing what the current effects of our actions are. Cognizance of the issue seems askew, and you appear to seek sound-byte opinion and misinterpretations to bolster pre-formed opinions, rather than researching the facts without bias. That is not how science works, and is why one shouldn’t expect people with such a mindset to change their minds. Climate change is happening, and its anthropogenically induced. One cannot grasp on the uncertainty of the details within that certain fact as proof that it does not exist.

      • ” Why have an overwhelming majority of them come froward to say their calculations were wrong?”

        That is a false statement. Shame on you. What is your source of information for your claims?

      • I agree Holly. . . . making unfounded statements sadly feeds the prejudices of the uniformed which translates into votes. This is a very dangerous game with the stakes as they are.

        Please provide sources.

  82. Thank you for being willing to speak out about this important topic. The kind of environmental stand that Harper and his government is taking is something that many people are hopefully cognizant about. The other matter tied to this is Harper’s insistence that The Indian Act remain in place. This Act created the reservation system in Canada which relocated Indigenous Peoples across the land, off of the land mass that IS Canada. It also denied Indigenous Peoples their voice, access to lawyers to represent their concerns, and too many numerous other situations to mention. It’s all in our common though unknown history. The original peoples of this land have been protesting about the poisoning of animals, the earth and waters since the 1700s. The Indian Affairs officials and the Queen’s representatives and now the federal government have chosen to disregard ‘the complaining Indians’ repeatedly since then and while the Indian Act is still in place, this conveniently keeps our voice and right to basic human rights safely tucked under the rug of their legislation. Our people knew how to care for the land but were forbidden to do so. Yes, keeping The Indian Act in place is very convenient to Stephen Harper and his government. Doing so gives free access to those lands to implement his economic policies and position in government. We live in challenging times!!

  83. what is happening with the canadian government goes against alot of indian treatys so i would like to see some lawyers do there thang and figure out how to fight the government into respecting and abiding by our treatys and recognize treatys that are not currently recognized

  84. I recently listened to a CBC radio interview regarding Gov’t scientists that were muzzled and not allowed to speak to other scientists at an international conference on science, they had to go through the media consultant.
    These conferences provide a great forum for an exchange of ideas etc. How sad.

  85. I’ve always dreamed of visiting Canada and after reading this I cannot feel anything but sadness. It’s a shame such a beautiful place goes to ruins because of assholes like that. I wish you guys good luck from the other side of the globe. I’ll see what I can do from here.

  86. I am a professional scientist too, and this letter disappoints me.

    I work in an industry that has a large environmental footprint, and I work closely with government scientists and the regulations they create and enforce. They are doing a good job, and are probably underfunded and overworked, like me. My corporate overlords are actually human beings, and they are more avid environmentalists than any level headed people I know (words chosen carefully). They use the environment they impact every weekend to fish, hunt, hike, camp and otherwise enjoy, as do i.
    Our lives are often made miserable by activists, most who show up in clothes from Wal-Mart, with fast food wrappers in their cars. Yet, amongst my colleagues, every one of us is thankful for them. They provide a check and a balance, even though they have no interest in balance. We generally support their work, but we get frustrated when they use dirty tricks to advance their own cause.

    This letter attempts to draw attention to what I believe is probably a serious issue… So I read it. I didn’t follow every link referenced in the letter, but I did follow one, and that upset me enough to comment, which I usually never do. (Typing on my phone, no less)

    You’re a scientist Naomi, you should know better than to distort the truth. You mentioned that the government is laying off thousands upon thousands of full-fledged scientists (paraphrased)… Then you graciously provided a link to support that fact, which I found so alarming that I had to read for myself. I’ll overlook the fact that the link was to a biased source (a political parties website) and focus on what angered me. The reference stated that 800 or so employees are being laid off -with only 200 or so being scientists.

    I don’t care if the rest of your facts are gospel – your letter has no credibility for me because one of your claims is exaggerated to suit your needs. This is the type of thing you rail against your opponents for, yet you’re doing it yourself. I expect emotional opinions that disregard the facts from people who don’t know better, but from you, a self-described professional scientist?

    I want to listen. I want the truth, if it is different from what is being reported. Don’t make it so hard to believe you, and people will start.

    • I’m not a self-described scientist. In fact, I’ve said many times that I’m not a scientist, just that I worked for Environment Canada in a scientific capacity.
      Also, paraphrasing me and then distorting the truth of what I say, while claiming to have a problem with me supposedly doing this same thing is somewhat ironic. I said ‘science employees’. This also means the technicians, the admin, the IT people, the field ops, etc. – it’s not like a scientist or a research project is a one man team. Firing 200 scientists means you also get rid of the entire team that works with them – because how are you going to be a technician on a research project that doesn’t exist?

      Let me explain how federal jobs work here; in Canada, it’s not always that easy to hire a full-time federal employee, as these positions (used to be) largely permanent. So what people would do, is scrounge around in their funding and use money to hire what is known as ‘casuals’ – workers that are allowed to work for 90 days in a calendar year. They would also ‘outsource’ to temp agencies that would file the paperwork – so that employees would have to take a pay cut that went to the temp agency, but would accept it just to take the job, because that’s the way the system was set up. Both these types positions lacked any benefits, guarantees or long-term security (and people would work in them for years). However, it was a foot in the door, so people would work on these temporary contracts and hope if they stuck around long enough, they could find their way into a full-time position. The work they did was valuable and met many gaps that federal scientists used to perform valuable research, but simply didn’t always have the capacity to do on their own.

      Next on the chain is “term” employees. With contracts of several years, these people were usually higher up on the ‘academic’ chain and would accept long-term contracts. Finally – ‘full-time’ employees. The coveted position – one that in, the private industry is what most people usually start off with.

      When I refer to ‘thousands’ being let off, I refer to the fact that first – many divisions got the notice that there was to be no more hiring of ‘casuals’ (people like myself) or temporary workers. Next, terms were getting the cut. Then, anyone close to retirement age got the suggestion they take early retirement. Other people were asked to take “shortened work years”. Then they just started letting the full-timers go. The 800+ article I posted was simply one round of lay-offs in Environment Canada in 2011, and doesn’t include all the other ones that happened before, since, or include the lay offs from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The cuts have been happening for several years (casuals started being cut in 2010), so I’d be hard pressed to come up with a letter from the Conservatives telling me how many people no longer had the opportunity for temporary contracts, even after years and years of working for the government.

      Since you don’t like a political party source (though I’m not sure why, because it’s not like the Conservatives wouldn’t have corrected their numbers if they were wrong), I’ll post a bunch more links detailing various cuts to Environment Canada over the past couple years – maybe these will strike your fancy. And if you don’t like news sources reporting on press conferences or international scientific journals, well then we’re all out of luck, because I’m not exactly going to get a stamped letter from Harper’s office telling me how many workers have been let go from EC and DFO in the past 3 years.


      Also, your sweeping stereotypes of ‘activists’ as people who shop at Wal-mart, have fast food wrappers in the car, and have no interest in balance totally negates your otherwise somewhat reasonable argument.

    • Thanks for adding your POV, scientist. You sound a lot like the many government scientist my husband has the pleasure of working with.

      I tried to fact check Naomi’s claim of “laying off thousands and thousands of full-fledged scientific employees that have been performing research for decades” The first problem is, just what is a “full-fledged scientific employee”? Obviously she counted herself, even though she was a contract DBA, is not a “full-fledged” scientist. By that definition, my husband is one, too, but then so would the janitors working on the same floor. :-/

      I did find some numbers, though. In total, I found that 1144 scientists will be released from contract, including 200 that will be let go in July, 2012 (if there is more then that, I could not find it). Another 130 public union employees were added to one list, too. What the numbers didn’t mention was how many of these people are/were contracters who were simply not going to be renewed. Throwing in all the support staff is an interesting way of padding the numbers, since there would be a lot more of them then actual scientists.

      • uncloaked, I doubt that “scientist” is a real scientist: the Walmart crack sounds more like a nasty little Conservative political shill who does not understand what the word “environment” means.

        I also doubt Kunoichi’s back story; she is too eager to cosy up to “scientist” who does not sound like a scientist. If she is legitimate, perhaps she will post links backing up her claims on the numbers.

  87. Very disturbing letter, and thank you for writing this. What reedjholmes wrote is pretty spot on with Canadians’ attitudes, and THAT is really what is killing this country: complete and total apathy and a defeatist attitude. We need our own Arab Spring, and we need it now. Not only are we going completely against global trends with reducing pollution, we are limiting our own country’s growth by stopping innovation towards developing “green” products and processes. In the last election, Canadians handed over all power to one industry in one province, it’s time to get it back.

  88. Tansi Naomi? It takes a lot of courage to speak out against the bush (harper) clones. God wasn’t very generous to steven, george and the corporate clowns, (environmental, oil, nuclear etc ). The “Creator” wasn’t very kind to our leadership in Indian country, either. When they were passing out the brains, they must have been in the wrong line. What’s really sad, the majority of the leadership are aware of the greed and corruption and chose to look the other way. When the deals are inked to rape, pollute “Mother Earth”, they stand in line with theirs hands held out, and then claim to be protecters of “Mother Earth”.

    I still have hope and believe that the People will “wake” up and take action to Protect “Mother Earth” for our Children, those born and those not yet born.

    Once again my prayers and admiration goes out to you. Viva “Mother Earth”.

    Emil BELL
    1(306) 202-7528

  89. Very well said. I worked for a Conservation Authority in North Bay, Ontario, and one of my supervisor’s favorite sayings was, “Out o sight, out of mind!”.

    One of the largest problems with the public sector is that there are too many family trees in there (despite the fact that they claim they are an equal opportunity employer).

    They didn’t have to get rid of me…I quit, and called Environment Canada in to charge them for negligence with petroleum products/contaminated soil.

    The best place to start if we want to clean our environment, is by making adjustments to who is currently sitting in control. We NEED to speak up.

  90. I feel Harper needs to be stopped before it’s too late. We need to get organized and stand up for this planet, our only home, and for future generations. It is not our right to destroy the earth.

  91. The pendulum is swinging hard toward another Dark Age, environmentally, intellectually and democratically. But it’s being driven by a minority — a very effective, well-funded, vocal minority. So there’s hope, if the rest of us keep pushing hard. The way things are going, i can’t believe my Conservative friends are going to be happy with the Canada they end up with if Mr. Harper realizes even some of his agenda. Many are hoping to have him formally removed from parliament by next year. That’s the thought i’m holding in my mind.

  92. I have been campaigning against fracking in Europe and have been following the Tar Sands debate. Met with a German MP last month and he mentioned that the CDN oil lobby is out in the EU trying to turn around our legislation – which aims to prevent Canadian dirty oil from being importable in the EU. Why are Harper and his cronies behaving like this? Like the informant said to the Watergate investigators: “Follow the money”. Personal gain is the only reason.

  93. Among my suggestions…

    Science journalists need to keep mentioning when they were refused contact with a scientist on a story. The more they can use the same phrase, the easier it will be to collect the evidence that scientists are being kept away from the media.

    Entrepreneurs need to comment about how this is making Canada a less attractive place to do business. Scientists not being allowed to speak hinders innovation.

    Let’s start talking about the ‘Brain Drain’ – how many scientists will now take positions abroad because of a) the cuts and b) the muzzling?

    What about university professors? What about professors emeriti? Can they speak out?

    We also need to start going after the right wing political charities – the Fraser Institute, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy (sic). If the David Suzuki foundation is under threat of losing its charitable status, so should all these other political charities.

    • At the AAAS symposium about the muzzling of scientists, Andrew Weaver pointed out that the media should talk to university scientists who have tenure and therefore are less vulnerable to being fired for telling the truth than scientists employed by government.

  94. Pingback: Harper Subterfuge – The Real Radical | Aim High Salmon Arm

  95. We should all protest by refusing to pay our taxes to support their insane policies, but it’s a bit late this year. Then they will know how little support they have for their agenda.

  96. It has been quite a while I consider that Harper and his top accomplices should be indicted for criminal breach of trust. Your letter is yet another evidence in the case.

  97. It’s a bit late to protest the oil sands project. It’s a done deal and the biggest economic boom in Canada since the gold rush. A bit of advice is to BECOME the change you want to see in the world, and then the world WILL change. Like Michael Jackson once said, if you want to see a change in the world, start with the man in the mirror.

  98. Hi Naomi,

    I’m a scientist too and I’ve been following this closely, especially since the conservative majority took over Canada. Thanks for posting. It’s time for the “radical” environmental groups to band together in the name of science and facts. Unfortunately, these groups are not all credible, and sometimes need lessons in science themselves.

    Fortunately, I feel like most scientists hold themselves to high standards, and hopefully more will come forward, maybe to the CBC, so we can get another, more detailed article about this stuff.

    Also, anyone reading this who has the power to do so, use wiki leaks to get the information out there next time the media or government decides it wants to “rework” scientific results and conclusions.

  99. Thank you for coming out like this Naomi, I hope that more scientists and others will follow your example. People need to hear the truth.

  100. Pingback: Are the bastards winning? « The Exile

  101. Reblogged this on See What Happens and commented:
    More reasons I do not appreciate the Harper government. I knew their attitude towards the environment was not good but this letter from a former Environment Canada proves that even more!

  102. I totally support the current gov’t in most things that they do but I particularly support their environmental agenda. The idea that we can get our energy from windmills and solar is just silly.

    We need modern aircraft because we are part of NATO and it is our responsibility. If we did not have the USA to protect us we would need a lot more.

    • How is that relevant to what this post is about? Are you ok with letting polluters poison your water because the government is refusing to monitor them anymore?

      • Probably in response to all of the comments here about how the government is “wasting” billions of dollars buying silly old planes, because “What could we possibly use them for?”

  103. Great Blog! Perhaps if all public appeals for action were as carefully thought out the results achieved would be far more successful. The truth of the matter is that in the society we live in, people tend to take everything to dramatic extremes, and a valid arguement gets written off as “just some activist group” or “extremist movement”.

    I will be the first to admit that I am by no means environmentally conscious. The extent of my own personal “save the world efforts” are limited to recyling my house hold trash. Truth be told when I hear people going on about the environment and the global warming and all of these other issues I am one of the ones in background rolling my eyes thinking….here we go again. But this letter is indeed an eye opener.

    Now I’m not saying I’m going to go trade in my V8 for a smart car but you have convinced me, to think twice come election day, and to try to take a little more of a proactive role to the environmental instead of the reactive one I have now.

    I will however say one thing…..

    Regardless of which politican we elect I don’t think we should expect any major differences. Fact of the matter is that politics has always been a dirty business fuled by money, greed, and (for lack of better words) idiots who want to be in power instead of actually having to go out a get a real job. If change is what you seek a complete overhaul to the polictal system and measures for responsible and accountable decision making practises within our government need to be implimented. And that to me seems like a much more difficult task then undoing all of the environmental damage we have created since the begining of time.

    It’s certainly an uphill but until our government is clean, Canada won’t be.

  104. We need people in ridings affected by robocalls to issue complaints. This is the only way to get an outside investigation of the federal Conservatives’ illegal and immoral actions that can lead to charges and a new election.

  105. Could environmental groups have recourse to the Access to Information Act? The information would be several months out of date, but it might be a useful way to do an end run around the Government’s attempt to control what the public does and does not know.

  106. 130 posts in response to our Sister activist, Naomi. There is a lot of information, great dialogue and good responses to her post. However, the underlying issue is a simple one, easily identifiable. Some may refer to it as a problem that affects “Mother Earth”. Others may classify it as an “environmentalism” issue. I believe these are one and the same.

    Please take the time to read the following article and join our peoples’ cause in protecting Mother earth (aka the ‘environment’). We are on the “same page”. Let us unite and make our voices heard!


    Marsi Cho.
    Alex Vital
    grandson of Margaret Vital
    Dene Deh Cho nation, NWT, Canada

    • Excellent point Qiviuq. At the end of the day, I think what most people want on here is the same thing – clean water, fresh air, healthy plants, animals, ecosystems, organisms, people, natural systems; the ability to see the stars at night, or drink fresh from all the streams and lakes that used to be unpolluted. We do have to be willing to work towards it together, and that means at an individual and collective level. Trying to take away our ability to understand and protect our environment is something we have to fight against, or else we succumb future generations to frightening lives.

      “Come forth into the light of things – let Nature be your teacher.”

  107. So what do we do?? I still work for the Monster – I’m gagged. The Environmentalist groups have been gagged. I hate what’s happening. I tell everyone I talk to to speak up. Every Canadian needs to write they’re MP’s and INSIST that they vote against Bill C-38. Voting against the budget bill will cause the government to fall, but it’s the only way to save our democracy!

    • There’s a lot of people who are interested in hearing what employees have to say, and respect anonymity. I’m going to keep encouraging everyone to sign the petitions, perhaps start a new one. There’s an upcoming petition to review the ELA closure generated from some of the affected DFO and EC parties that I’ll be posting. I’ve been pondering over what to do since I realized so many people are interested, and I will take any and all input/advice on what suitable courses for action could be.

      In the meantime, feel free to e-mail me at deciphering.science@gmail.com with anything you or any colleagues want to say or information you want to be heard by the general public. Again – I respect all anonymity. I’m fortunate enough to not have to worry about losing my job anymore!

  108. I am a Canadian and I use to be proud of being a Canadian. But under the current administration, I feel embarrassed and disgraceful to be a Canadian. Our image abroad is already starting to be significantly tarnished. Personally, I am leaving this shitty country at least until it has a half decent, half intelligent governance. It could not really get much worse but I am sure it will – at least until 2015.

  109. Great letter! My fellow Canadians, I’m sure you guys are living in an unrealistic dream!

    I just wonder why most Canadians drive their big car, keep buying new iphone or blackberry and live in a big luxury house! And my question here is, in the world, if anyone has a chance to do what most Canadians are doing, who won’t?

    My fellow Canadians, be REALISTIC. The world does not work in the way that most scientist said: Together we can? Screw it! We want to have a better life. We want to have it and we don’t give a shit to the globe! Admit it!

    In the history of Canada, there is not a single protest against on environmental policy as huge and long lasting as occupy the wall street. Most of the Canadians do not care about their job more than environment! Most people in the rest of the world care about their income but not the environment! Well, not to blame you my fellow Canadians, nothing like this has happened in the rest of the world.

    What the government does is a reflection of the will of the people as a whole and lucky you guys are, you have a democratic government. If most Canadians stand up for the environment, lobby the government on the environment issue, what do you think about whatever the parties which wanna to have more seats in the parliament do? Remember, the government and political parties serve the function of not satisfying their people, but to survive and gain more power.

    If you want to have a great leader who put more money in science and environmental protection without the consent of the people. It is more likely to have a Canadian Mao at the end: during the great leap, 5% of “abnormal death” of Chinese were due to his stupid policy.

    Scientifically, all the problem we are facing is the problem of population: fresh water, energy, food, pollution, etc. So, the most efficient way to duel with the environment issue is to kill at least half of the population on the earth and then all of the rest are saved, at least for a while. Alternatively, send the Canadian troops to the rich countries and bombard the energy draining cities. Some of the cities like New York, Las Vegas, Tokyo, London, Paris, etc. Such that we will have the third world war and we can fight with clubs and stone in the forth one! Alright, if you think it is not humanitarian or too radical then we should choose to live in a way which maximize the efficiency of energy and everything. So, Canada, as an extremely inefficient country (consider the living style and population density), we should abandonment the current territory and move to the south part of The States or Mexico coz it just burns too much fuel during the winter! AND remember we are not going to use air-con during summer. Don’t take it personally, if you think about it scientifically.

    As a chemist myself, I always care about the environment news. I was sad about G.W. Bush on the Kyoto protocol but anyway not a single country including Canada, fulfilled anything in the Kyoto protocol. However, it is not only a matter of what the others do: what are you doing? Are you sitting in front of your computer and at the same time thinking about which new toy you wanna to take back home or thinking you wanna a drive to have some fresh air? It is the luxury living style of people lead to the crackdown of the world (and certainly the population as well).

    Save the earth in all aspect as much as we can! Try not to buy too much stuff, try to use public transport, try not to drive……Try to save everything you could and try not to waste anything you have. (btw, I don’t even have a driving license coz I think, if you have a choice it is immoral to drive)

    Ask not what the government can do for the environment, ask what you can do for the world. We as a whole to save the world.

    • I agree that we need individual work. That many of our ‘demands’ push the ‘suppliers’. That when we purchase shoddy inexpensive products made in China, we are the ones who in effect agree that we should ship oil (and other resources) to China so that these factories can produce temporary consumer goods, that will be shipped back to us and consumed.

      However – that doesn’t mean at all that the government has no responsibility and should not be held accountable for actions detrimental to progress and preservation. I do almost everything with environmental consciousness – I’m a vegetarian, I don’t own a TV or have air conditioning, I believe in walking, busing or bicycling, I recycle, I refuse plastic bags, I turn off lights and taps (and install low-flow and low-energy technology) I grow many of my own foods, I cook my own meals, I shop local, I eat organic, I rarely buy anything and if I do, it’s second hand, I work in the environmental field – but I still refuse to accept what the government is doing. I myself cannot perform all the research of the scientists being let go, and I value their work and the conclusions they come to. We need collective management. We need long-term, stable research to produce long-term, stable results, and deeper understandings of the mechanisms that drive every facet of organic and inorganic components of the environmental spectrum. The governments are generally the only institutions that can provide that, and as taxpayers, if that’s what we want, then we should have it. As humans, its our right, and as taxpayers, its our duty to ensure that the government doesn’t do things like take away fisheries habitat protection,or downgrade access to staff and equipment that can clean up oil spills. As a nation at the North Pole, we should be studying the expanding ozone holes, not backing out of funding. We should be focused on generating in-house local economies, not shipping off our resources without developing long-term economic and technological sustainability here at home.

      So, while I agree that people need to work on themselves, we cannot allow the government to make whatever decisions it wants, especially when they are driven from short-term economic sight, and not long-term sustainable foresight. I cannot protect the East Coast fishing stocks simply by being vegetarian, and as awesome as it would be, I know that everyone who eats fish isn’t going to stop. So we need the government to regulate the stocks and ensure that they aren’t being overharvested. Because the entire natural system is linked. Remove a link – who knows what else will collapse.

      And population is not the driver. It is not difficult for a healthy planet of earth’s size to sustain 7 billion humans. What is the driver is the fact that there are some people (meaning us, in the developed nations, and the burgeoning middle classes of developing nations that are becoming developed) that are content with over-consumption, which leaves scant resources elsewhere. And, getting back to my first point, environmental degradation, and inability to further reap long-term harvests from damaged lands, or collect water from depleted ground tables. Check out this report that attempts to place economic value on ecosystems AS IS to try and get attention to the fact that nature has intrinsic value (and we must protect it, from local to international levels). I applaud their efforts to speak to people in the language of money, since I certainly don’t have the patience to. http://www.teebweb.org/.

  110. i care. everyday, i care. depressed? yup. but feisty. people are more numerous than politicians. the nonsense will have to stop. it’s mathematical. for now, let’s clean up the shorelines, reduce waste and energy consumption, help others, support local economy and bartering, talk and debate, try things, old or new, educate, empower. this is the real vote: our everyday actions.

  111. How do the job cuts at DNR/EC/etc. compare to job cuts in other federal departments? Is The Environment actually being targeted in particular? I hear similar stories from people I know in DND and there have been complaints from Canadian Border Services as well. The federal service is enormous, and while it’s understandable that everyone is angry with the Conservative government for cutting the parts of government they care about, cutting federal jobs is part of reducing the 40% of government revenue that goes to **maintaining** the interest in our public debt. The narrative here of HARPER vs. ENVIRONMENT only stands up if EC and DNR are being disproportionately targeted for job cuts.

    Also, where is the blame for decades of Liberal and PC governments who put us in this untenable sinkhole in the first place? Image all the research (and healtcare, and military, and inspectors, etc.) 40% of the current budget would buy us. Sustainability is an important concept in the economy too; economics doesn’t go away because it’s inconvenient for our political beliefs.

    • And we don’t live simply because of our political beliefs. We live because of our environment. The cuts are not just for job losses – they are for environmental protection. We’re drawing back from protecting and researching the ozone, the coasts, the fisheries, the waters… Meaning we won’t understand it, and we aren’t going to protect it. What water will you sip to keep you alive as you form your economic theories if it’s all poisoned and we don’t have the scientific knowledge to understand why and how and therefore not allow the situation to get to that? Water and food are basic facts of life. Economics belong to humans. We’re not the only ones here……

      • I don’t ‘delete’ comments. This is not CBC, they aren’t automatically posted.

        Let me make this clearer – this isn’t you standing on the corner with an megaphone. Comments are pre-moderated by me. If you can’t speak politely and rationally, and engage in dialogue without anger drenched in sarcasm, then your comments are not welcome. So – several of your posts were not welcome here. This goes for people on any side of the fence. There are people who agreed with me logically that used angry or insulting language against Conservatives or people who don’t care about the environment, and I didn’t allow those either.

        I’m not going to answer any of your questions because you posted 8 times, and demanded an answer. If what you have to say is so important, I suggest you start your own blog so you have your own platform to say what you want. I haven’t answered because I’ve been at work, and none of my tasks entail responding to online egos.

        Also, I never said a thing about DNR.

        Otherwise – thanks for your previous input.

      • Actually IIRC the CBC moderates comments before they post them.

        I’d be interested in hearing how my two comments about the legitimate use of fighter jets by the Canadian Forces were angry. It’s like you have an agenda here and have no interest in hearing dissenting opinion. The tone you’re imputing to my posts doesn’t exist. Even if it did, you don’t seem to have a problem with ascerbic or angry posts whose content you agree with. I’m not angry with you, I just think that your argument as it stands is weak, and that you’re mistaken in several areas.

        If you want to stick to logic let’s address your comment about economics: The basic tenet of economics — that there are scarce resources and they must be allocated somehow — is not a human construct. The scarcity of resources is universal, it applies to humans, animals, and the prokaryotes alike, all of who have to contend with scarce resources. The study of economics may be a human construct, but this is no more or less so than science, which itself studies the universal laws of the material world.

        So as I said, you don’t get to ignore economics when talking about the environment anymore than you could physics, even if you care about the environment a whole bunch and think it’s the sole thing that ensures the future survival and prosperity of Canadians or the world. Many areas of the federal budget make similar claims (agriculture, healthcare, defence spending). Allocations need to be made, and there’s not one part of the federal budget that a bunch of people don’t care about with all their hearts. Imagine the riots if the feds cut money for palliative cancer care, an area that costs an incredible amount of money but doesn’t do a thing to save (or extend) anyone’s life or ensure the survival of future generations. Yet we must cut somewhere, or the 40% share of the federal budget devoted to paying interest on the debt will increase until we’re in an untenable situation, and then the environment will be in a real trouble. Hungry people with no jobs care even less about the environment than Canadians do now; look to Africa for this lesson.

        The question remains then of whether or not the Harper government is actually targeting environmental science or science in general more than the rest of the budget. What proportion of federal science do the cuts represent? How does that compare to other departments?

      • This isn’t economical or entirely about job loss. I suggest you read Bill C-38 (settle in, its 400+ pages, and over a third are dedicated to the erosion of environmental laws). Cutting protection laws isn’t exactly a money saver – but it does allow greater opportunities for the private sector to use the lands and environment the way they see fit, without ramifications these laws would otherwise provide. Please also review this internationally recognized report on the economic valuation of ecosystems and biodiversity that informs us how nature actually has intrinsic value economically, without development or clearing, and how we should aspire to protect and maintain it. (www.teebweb.org)

        I have yet to see any economic proof that demonstrate that cutting environmental protection is in fact, saving money that is sorely needed to balance out the rest of the budget. Bill C-38 introduces downgraded standards, increased political interference (in science? this is the sure sign of a fatal disease), reduced opportunities for public participation, was written without an ounce of public input, and introduced with limited means for debate.

        This isn’t simply about job loss. Long-term, funded ecosystem, environmental, aquatic, and chemical research that is integral to both an understanding of the world we live in, and that create un-biased results which, (no surprise) usually end up suggesting the creation more protective laws, not downgrading and eliminating them. Universities simply do not have the capacity to perform this kind of research, as the Conservatives suggest is the case. Even if environmental regulations need an overhaul and modifications, this is not how it is accomplished. Also, muzzling scientists doesn’t exactly fit into a scheme of ‘saving money’ or ‘not attacking sciences’.

        And if you really don’t see that without clean air, water, and environment, we actually can’t stay alive (I’m referring also to the generations ahead, who I actually feel responsibility towards), then this discussion is lost on you.

        Finally – you’ve had your say here, many times over. From now on, please opine in your own online space.

    • Harper’s the one who brought in this debt. He started with a surplus, remember? I don’t see how cutting environmental jobs and programs will prove good for the Canadian economy long-term.

    • Chris, you totally ignored the meaning of this letter if you solely focus on the job cuts. this is not about losing jobs. this is about ignoring our environment.

      • JK, that’s the part I’m talking about right now. The claim is that budget cuts to science jobs in the fed relating to the environment demonstrate (or are due to the fact) that the current administration don’t care about the environment. I don’t think that claim is well supported.

  112. This sounds more of a case of spilt milk more than anything else. The UN said in a recent report Canada has both the cleanest air and the cleanest water. I understand your upset at losing your jobs, but l never signed a lifelong contract ever with my employer. This is simply a bloated department that needed the fat trimed.

    • Where’s the report? Which department are you referring to? Where’s the evidence that it was bloated? What’s the fat that needed to be trimmed? And why? What do you know about environmental research? Do things like not studying the ozone, or contaminants in the environment, not protecting fishery habitats, closing internationally renowned research facilities, etc. etc. qualify as fat trimming? Do you think we will have any clean water and air left in the future if we stop doing things to protect it?

      This reminds me of the Churchill quote… “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

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  114. It appears the owner of this blog is deleting comments. As I write this, only 3 of 6 comments I’ve posted in reply to the post or other comments appear on the page. What a pot/kettle situation.

  115. Thank You Naomi. You said it well, we are all frustrated, angry and want to do something. It is time we stick together and show Harper he can’t screw with our lives.

  116. Good on ya, for “coming out”. As an Environment Canada scientist for 24 years prior to leaving for the US, I agree with most of what you say. But in those 24 years, I had controls put on my speech by both Liberal and Conservative governments. We went from “please talk to the media” to “don’t talk to the media” in periods of under a year. Dave Schindler was a victim of an early Mulroney putsch and I found them to be incredibly hamfisted at that time (as the Harper bunch is). But under Chretien, the cuts to Environment Canada were so severe that I had to get out (as did a number of senior scientists).

    The big issue is that when Environment polls out at 1-3% of the public having it place in their “top issues”, Governments are free to slash and burn. Only Environmental disasters seem to bring the Environment into focus for most people. And when you cut 19,000 civil servants across the board, Environment does not appear to be singled out to the public.

  117. Harper scares the heck out of me. What he is doing to our Country is so wrong. We must stop the madness & save our beautiful Country!!

  118. I’m with Chris. Governments need to balance their budgets lest we end up like some of the economically-unsustainable countries out there. I’m all for environmental research (I work in the environmental field, too, and have published research articles), but only where it represents value for money. That is, value relative to the many, many choices available to the government in what services it chooses to supply on behalf of Canadians whom pay their taxes and/or vote.

    I was surprised about the decision to close Experimental Lakes. Hopefully it was made taking into account the value of knowledge from the recent experiments there versus the cost of running the facility. The facility is in a remote location which presumably added to its cost. Apart from Schindlers’ work decades ago I’m not aware of the current importance of the research there. Unless someone can provide specific details on this importance, and why it represents better value for money than other specific public expense items then I have no opinion on whether it was a good or bad decision. Lake eutrophication was the important issue when Experimental Lakes was started up, and Schindler helped solve that one; what other pressing environmental problems are afflicting lakes that demand such expensive research activity?

    I agree with you that governments ought to collect important environmental data. Government needs to monitor what data its collecting and why. However, as long as there’s a decent knowledge base still available within the departments then it needn’t be the government scientists that analyse the data. I can see a case for adopting the government’s approach of encouraging analysis to occur within a university setting, where rigorous review and sharing of information is encouraged – especially when reviewed by peers as part of the publishing process. The other possibility is a greater use of consultants with decent expertise, which may be more cost effective in the long run given the numbers on average government salaries that I’ve seen (including defined-benefit pensions etc.). I’ve worked in government too; at the time it was hard to imagine anything less motivating than meticulously preparing a report that I knew would never be released and would be barely acknowledged by my manager-once-removed, let alone have any links with policy and informed decision-making. Much better to get the analysis out there within a more public setting, such as a university, or perhaps an arms-length quasi-government organisation, where the work can be openly considered and it’s worth debated. So, the decision may lead to a better democracy in the long run…

    Good luck with your jobs Naomi, it’s still an exciting field to be in.

    Good to see the discussion on voting and fair democratic systems, too.

  119. Thank you for your article. I say stop Harper’s agenda at all costs.

    Yet, It’s sad to say but on may 2nd Canada was once again polarized politically. Harper has said he had crushed the separatist movement in Quebec after the Bloc Québecois had fallen.
    Such a declaration is glorious Bullshit.

    The truth is well over 80% of quebecers put all their money on voting for the NPD as a last resort approach to try to keep Harper out of a majority. I would claim that the vast majority of quebecers feared (with reason) the outcome of a majority Harper government and it’s repercussions as we now witness (axing environmental science, social progress, gun control, everything mentionned herein). Every hard-core separatist I know voted NPD! Yet with Harper’s majority on may 2nd I felt the Canada I had come to love (progressive, environmental, peaceful and diplomatic) had died . More than ever before, the core values of Quebecers lay well outside the boundaries represented by Harper’s federal government. With every bone-headed, anti-progessive and anti-collectivity bill his government passes, Quebec sovereingty becomes stronger.

    Marois simply has to mention Harper’s name for her ratings to go up.

    Have a look at what’s going on in the streets of Montreal nowadays (+300 000 people in the streets for Earth Day, over 100 continuous days of protests over tuition fee hikes) There isn’t a day that passes that thousands are out in the street claiming CHANGE for the masses. As I’m writing this hundreds are passing right below my window chanting and knocking on frying pans. The buzz word here is “indigné”. Indigné des politiques régressistes de Harper, indigné de la classe dirigeante, indigné du manque de respect envers la collectivité et envers l’environnement.

    If the NDP doesn’t live up to it’s money in stopping Harper’s agenda in it’s tracks I feel we will be talking constitution before long for all the reasons this article states. That’s unless the ROC stands up against all this nonsense politics.


  120. I can’t sleep at night because of this. It is my nightmare, both day and night.

    I am currently an environmental scientist with the federal government (full-time) and I am witnessing this first hand as well. About a month ago the entire federal public service had to sign a new “Code of Ethics” which forbids us from (1) speaking to the public about research, (2) discussing anything with anyone outside of work (i.e. in a circle of friends over beer, on social media, on the subway, etc), and (3) expressing dissent from the current government operations. The result is that we will be terminated.

    I have petitioned with the unions to challenge this policy as it is clearly unconstitutional because, as a Canadian citizen, we have the right to speak out against the government’s actions. I most certainly did not sign away my rights just for a pay cheque. Sadly, this is not the first illegal thing this government has done. Does no one care?

    The second shady thing is that Harper’s MPs are introducing “Private Member Bills” for consideration. They clearly have a much larger hand at crafting than a single MP (if you know what I mean), but these bills undergo less stringent review and approval processes than those introduced by any official party. This is a clever way to be non-transparent.

    Speaking of non-transparent. Not that there will be no more environmental assessments (as we know them), there will be no reason to inform the public. No posting. No public notices. Build a nuclear power plant here, bury nuclear waste in your backyard, develop a mine using your summer cottage lake as a tailing pond. No notice. No opportunity for public input.

    It is sad to say, but I am ecstatic that you are taking the courage and leadership to organize this because it means that I am not alone and that there is strength in numbers.

  121. After reading about this matter in the media for so long, it’s good to hear a scientist’s persepctive on the matter. We are tracking Harper’s every move here, http://www.trackingharper.com so that come election time these issues are not jumbled discontent scattered across the backs of our minds.

  122. Hey Chris, if the cuts to the public service are so important for reducing our national debt then why is Harper giving 13 billion in corporate tax cuts this year? Do the math! That’s nearly enough money to pay the salaries of all 280,000 public servants for the full year. Harper isn’t cutting because he has to, he’s cutting because he wants to, as a means of hamstringing the departments with regulatory and research mandates, while cutting himself free of all the pesky legislation so he can do as he pleases with our land and resources. What he’s doing is unconstitutional and every Canadian should sue him under Constitutional Law. Repealing 70 Canadian statutes in one fell swoop, without review?! Never before have our laws –our democracy– been threatened this way. This is history in the making and it’s not pretty.

    What’s your definition of a law? In my country, Canada, it’s a rule we put in place because we believe in it, morally and objectively, and it applies to all citizens and governments. Until now, our laws have applied to our Government as well, but with Bill C-38 those laws will become optional. The Government will have discretion to push through developments that are outright opposed by the National Energy Board; exempt themselves from Environmental Assessments; and even opt out of protecting endangered species under SARA (legislation that we all fought long and hard for).

  123. Few days ago, I was watching a documentry about the decline of Muslim Empire and the rise of Western Civilization. The author argued that the reversal of the fortune of two civilizations started when in the East, religious leaders became more powerful, and subsequently scientists and scholars lost their influence; while in the West the exact opposite was happening.

    Rise of religion and discontent for science? Sound familiar? While both US and Canadian governments are cutting the education and research budget, and while the right wing fundamentalists in both countries are gaining more and more power everyday, the secular China and India are producing more scientists and engineers than ever before. While our govenrment is all about making as much money as fast as it could by selling our natural resources and destroying our enviromant, in other parts of the world, even in very poor countries, people are becaming more aware of the importance of protecting the environment and its long term role in their prosperity and wealth. And the saddest part is that only 2 out of 10 Canadians voted for this government, and by the time we get to the next election, many of the damages done to our country might be

    It so depressing to see our “leader” wagging his tail whenever he sees his corporate masters, while his tongue is sticking out begging for heavenly blessing for serving the rich!

  124. This government is so destructive and deceptive, the more I hear and the more I know of what this government is doing, I am becoming increasingly frightened of what will be remnants of this wonderful country will be left when he is finally voted out.

  125. This government is so destructive and deceptive. The more I hear and the more I know, the more I am frightened of what will be left of this wonderful country when he is finally voted out.

  126. As a layperson interested in environmental health issues, I have seen these changes sneaking in under Harper’s leadership. He must be stopped. But How? Some of his PC MPs would have to defy his orders and vote against his wishes and they may not have the balls to do it. I dare all PC MPs to vote as per your constituents, Harper be dammed!

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  128. An fascinating dialogue is price comment. I feel that it is best to write extra on this subject, it won’t be a taboo subject but typically individuals are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

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  133. If you worked for environment Canada or Stats Can, then you should be able to upload hard data like wikileaks does that we can refer to. Otherwise, people think it is disgruntled employee and dismiss it. Give out some dirt that we can circulate. Letters telling you not to speak. Things of that nature.

  134. Hi Naomi,

    Thank you again for your letter and follow up. One of the comments I received when I re posted your letter was, how do we get this out to the public. Somehow your voice slipped through and articulated what so many of us know. The importance of public education and action. That is something to celebrate and be thankful for.

    Your voice has lifted all of us one step above the noise

    The Universe is ‘so cool’

  135. I am such a proud mom as both my daughters have taken a great interest in our country, the green movement, and conservation of our environment. My oldest daughter is enrolled in environmental science at McMaster and is doing field work again this summer. Last year she told me about all the politics in science, funding and our government. I told her that Canadians care about the environment and the green movement is the next wave. But I am not nieve. Our government does not represent it’s people when it comes to the environment. Harper has to go.

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  137. Well written and said. However, as a fellow Canadian, and NOT a political fan, that there is another side here. I’m not a politician, but I understand the Gov’t is under a considerable amount of pressure for blue collar jobs, hence the oil sands. Also, I MUST point out, that the world itself, and the population would not be in the predicament it (and we) are in, if it wasn’t for science in the first place! Think about it…oil sands? Atomic weapons and nuclear energy? Disease? Germ warfair….feel free to add to the list, P.S….Why do we NEED to go to the moon? We cannot possibly live there, or benefit from it.

  138. “We can’t afford to lose even $1 of profit”.., World According to Monsanto on production of PCBs.

    Campaigning AGAINST an evil dictator responsible for destruction…by “contacting” them isn’t likely to sway them from their criminal path in the slighest! You can beat your head bloody against the stone wall of 22 Sussex Drive and get better results; news coverage, donations or YouTube views.

    Consider that you might feel better if you can focus your anger and rage to campaign FOR something, work TOWARD something, find a new job or start a competing business HELPING something growth.

    There will always be morally bankrupt people who sell drugs, manufacture poison, or outright lie, steal and cheat to make a buck regardless of the consequences. Use them as ammunition for your laser gun sight, pinpoint your target goals, squeeze the trigger, ignore the noise.

    Close your Natural Gas, fuel Oil, and propane account for good

  139. I heard that the Prairie Shelterbelt Program providing free trees for farmers is in its last year. I’m ordering 600 trees before it runs out. Does anyone know if that is a result of federal cuts? ~Liz

  140. this sounds to much like a political campaign, yes the environment is important and being damaged, but come on! Blaiming one government for decades of neglect. The tar sands are 40+ years old , the Kyoto accord from long before harper. Lay offs of scientists have been going on for 10 to 15 yrs. The bug lab was almost closed in Sault st Marie when I lived there in the 90’s. If you stop blaiming harper then maybe we can actually get to the root of the problem. The attitude of all governments and the canadian peolpe as a whole. We are use to having our country raped for natural resources by foriegn countries. the US has been doing it for over a century, we have to value our resourses, not just the lumber, oil and minerals and furs, but the live resources. Old growth forests, animal species, water and all life.

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  143. I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your site?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content
    so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for
    only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

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