Cutbacks to National Scientific Research


Question Period – Your Question Period Senator Jane Cordy April 30th, 2014

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, the question I will ask today comes from Georgina Johnson of Toronto, who is concerned with the amount of cutbacks to national scientific research carried out by the current Government of Canada. Her question is as follows, and it's quite lengthy but I felt it was important to read the whole thing to you:

As a 61 year old mother of two young adults, aged 29 and 25, I am deeply concerned about the shuttering of publicly funded science in Canada. I am alarmed about the highly negative impact this will have on my children, the country's children and our collective grandchildren. The repercussions will have a long standing effect on Canada's ability to innovate, thus negatively impact a prosperous future for all Canadians.

To quote world renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson from a recent interview with Bill Moyers (January 25, 2014):

"We're just voting into office people who don't understand how money gets generated. Since the Industrial Revolution and before, we have known the value innovation in science and technology and its impact on an economy."

- and -

"Science literacy is an inoculation against the charlatans who would exploit your ignorance of scientific law to take your money from you or your opportunity from you."

- and -

"You have not fully expressed your power as a voter until you have a scientific literacy in topics that matter for future political issues."

Neil deGrasse Tyson was speaking to an American audience but his words are too easily transferable to Canada. Given that innovation in science and technology are the generators of future growth and sustainability of a healthy economy, what was the current Government of Canada's logic behind closing down publicly funded science?

Did the Government of Canada not fully understand the negative implications this action would have on Canada's youth and their future?

Please click here to read the full text of this exchange