Saturday, 6 December 2014

Canada: Strictest Fish Farm Laws? No. Best Science? No. Weakest Laws in the World? Probably

Go back and look at the index to this site and read the several posts on how the fish farm laws in Canada have been weakened in the past two years:;postID=890992371737194469;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=8;src=postname.

And the new aquaculture regulations that the Harper government wants to bring in are aimed at making the already weakened environmental regulations regarding fish farms in Canada even weaker, by passing responsibility for environmental damage directly to fish farms:

And, of course, 200 scientists were let go in the past year.

Now, a month later, federal scientists, are finally so concerned with budget cuts to science, particularly for the environment, they have taken the unprecedented step of surveying their members:

Their documents may be accessed from the above link. It is titled Vanishing Science, and, the summary headline says it all:

Harper Government Cuts to Science Overwhelmingly Detrimental and Out of Sync with Public’s Priorities, Say Surveys

Here is what federal government scientists say: 9 out of ten scientists and almost 75% of Canadians say the Harper government is not acting in the best interests of science and the environment:

"According to newly released data from a survey conducted by Environics Research, over 9 out of 10 federal government scientists (91%) believe cuts to federal science budgets – most of which take effect over the next few years – will have a detrimental impact on the federal government’s ability to serve the public. (Over half – 51% – already believe the impact to be very detrimental.) Moreover, the cuts are strangely at odds with the science priorities of the overwhelming majority of Canadians. A recent poll of Canadians, also conducted by Environics, reveals that nearly three-quarters (73%) believe public health, safety and protection of the environment should be the government’s top science priorities – some of the very areas that have come in for the severest cuts."

Nine out of 10 - 90% - of scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (aka DFO) believe recent omnibus legislation changes to the Fisheries Act (S.35 and 36) will hamper Canada's ability to protect fish and fish habitat.

So  90% of DFO's own scientists are against what DFO is doing, weakening laws and reducing science budgets. This includes the weakening laws, letting scientists go and the new and even weaker aquaculture regulations.

"Invitations to participate in the online survey of federal scientists, hosted by Environics Research, were sent to 15,398 PIPSC members – scientists, researchers and engineers – engaged in scientific work in over 40 federal departments and agencies. Of these, 4,069 (26%) responded between June 5 and 19, 2013. The survey is considered accurate + or – 1.6%, 19 times out of 20. A shorter public opinion survey was conducted by Environics of 1,003 Canadians between November 14 and 20, 2013. The results are considered accurate + or – 3.1%, 19 times out of 20."

The PDF to the one-pager of stats can be accessed from the survey link. Look for: 
factsheet.en.pdf. On their survey site.

This document lists the specific demands of the union of professional scientists and engineers. It include the right to speak about science and to not be silenced:

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