Franke James, James Turk, and Dr. Janet Friskney came together within Brock University's David S. Howes Theatre yesterday to speak out against issues that they think should have the Harper Government shaking in their government-endorsed boots. “Eroding democracy: Canada's public science policy in a new regime of governance” addressed the many issues currently found within Canada’s deteriorating democracy.
“There are three warning signs that democracy is at risk in Canada” commented Franke James, author and artist of environmental book Banned on the Hill, “One- The Government targets dissenting voices, Two- The Government muzzles employees, and Three- Citizens begin to self-censor.”
According to the panel, the Canadian government has encouraged the public to ignore the government-funded scientists who do not hold ‘Conservative interests at heart’ by silencing their research through budget cuts and thinly veiled legal threats. James Turk, Editor of Academic Freedom in Conflict- The struggle over Free Speech Rights in the University, examined some of those cuts many scientists and government-funded contractors have faced in recent years, especially towards many relatively inexpensive Environmental Science research labs found through-out Canada.
“Many of the few research grants that have been approved by the Harper Government have been male-exclusive as well” Turk explained, motioning to the graph behind him before remarking, “That must mean that female researchers are either hard to find, or something else is going on.”
Turk said that Harper’s reign has witnessed the forced passing the Bill C23 (the Fair elections act), and the end of the Mandatory Censes within Canada; both of these actions were strongly opposed by the public.
“It has taken almost 30 years to correct the issues that incurred by the Thatcher Government; it will take longer than that to fix what Harper has done.” commented Dr. Friskney.
With the 2015 Federal election coming up, the panel hopes that the government's approach to science will be a ballot-box question.