Rick Mercer Calls Attention to Harper Government’s Anti-Science Stance

by | November 21, 2014

Rick Mercer RantEarlier this week, Rick Mercer ranted about treatment of science by the current Canadian government. His words echo the statistics I’ve written about previously, that talk about how Canadians are overwhelmingly pro-science (an attitude that does not match our current government’s anti-science stance). Mercer points out that the government didn’t just eliminate the position of Office of the National Science advisor, they bragged about it. The only time Canadians hear from scientists, Mercer remarked,

….is when they’re being told to shut up or they’re being shut down by a government who can’t even begin to understand what the scientists are talking about.

As you may know, the Harper government fired or silenced scientists. This silencing is well documented in the CBC Fifth Estate program, Silence of the Labs.

Thankfully, Evidence for Democracy, a grass roots group comprised of scientists, science communicators and concerned citizens, “advocates for the transparent use of science and evidence in public policy and government decision-making” (from the organization’s Web site). Their vision is:

  • Strong public policies built on the best available evidence for the health and prosperity of all Canadians.

  • A thriving democracy where citizens are informed and engaged, and all levels of government are both transparent and accountable.

  • A national culture that values science and evidence and the important role they play in our society.

They have organized campaigns and provide helpful resources. Take a look at what Evidence for Democracy is doing & do watch Rick Mercer’s Rant video.

4 thoughts on “Rick Mercer Calls Attention to Harper Government’s Anti-Science Stance

  1. Indi

    Mercer has always been an enthusiastic proponent of science, and an outspoken critic of the Harper government’s treatment of it. He has had at least a half-dozen rants that I can think of where he *skewers* various things they’ve done – I recall one where he mentions a case where a team of climate scientists were told to keep quiet about their results… and the Americans on the team went ballistic about their speech being muzzled, while the Canadians quietly acquiesced “because they wanted to keep eating” (or something like that).

    He’s also had a couple of amusing skits related to the topic, like one that is supposed to be an advertisement for a board game where the players keep discovering horrifying facts only to be distracted by “but look, pandas!” that was inspired when Harper ditched a global summit on climate change to be photographed introducing a couple of pandas China sent over.

    I’ve often mused about why he isn’t more popular, and my theory is just that he’s just not as vicious as comparable American comedians, like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and John Oliver. His rants are dead-on clever, and snarky, but he just doesn’t seem to muster the same nasty sarcastic bite as they do. As good as his rants are, I think Jon Stewart is a thousand times more effective when he leads in with an assertion that no-one can possibly be so stupid/corrupt/whatever and immediately follows up with a clip of a politician being *exactly* that, then just sits there face-palming.

    Incidentally, muzzling scientists, suppressing findings, and shutting down and defunding research is just the tip of the iceberg. The list of things the Harper government has done to bury science and keep the citizenry ignorant is damn near criminally long, and horrifyingly depressing. For example, they changed the laws for non-profit organizations, and have been pursuing SLAPP-like audits against them. There are several organizations – mostly relating to the environment, and especially groups that have looked into the effects of expanding oil production, including big names like the David Suzuki Foundation – that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last few years defending themselves in specious government audits requested by government-supported lobbying groups run by people who actually work in Harper’s office. It’s a damn tragedy the state Canada is in now, with regards to science.

    1. Diana MacPherson Post author

      Thanks for the added info, Indi. I think the Silence of the Labs documentary I link to covers some of that stuff and they’ve even gone so far as to destroy research (of course affecting the careers of scientists). Oh, they don’t admit to destroying it, it was just somehow lost during the archival process.

      1. Indi

        Ah, yes, I’d totally forgotten about the times (plural – i assume by the reference to archiving that you’re referring to the fisheries data case) where they actually *destroyed* research data. How depressing it is when your government has done so much *other* crap that you forget about something like that.

  2. Tim Underwood

    “Obey your rulers. It was God who chose them to rule over you.”

    This is a central directive to followers of Jesus Christ.

    There are activist groupies who address leaders, of any stripe, with this foolish homage.

    We all grin and wink knowingly to one another. Sure it’s in the New Testament. It just shouldn’t be taken literally; even by them.

    Remember that at one time all the western world’s proper leaders were chosen by the same cabal. Now there are loads of these groups. Servitude wouldn’t still be applicable, would it?

    Hopefully not.

    But what about the elect? What about these special few? What do they believe?

    God doesn’t go around choosing who will be a scientist. That would be more of a personal affair. When God selects a ruler, that man may have been nothing more that parliamentary assistant, or perhaps a venerable luxury car salesman. God doesn’t need any second party credentials to help Him make these Divine selections.

    After selection you wear the mantle; it is your god-given responsibility to rule over pesky scientists. You have to rule over everyone!

    When we elect a Member of Parliament, believers unerringly support Divine pre-selections; consequently the inevitable unfolding of this grossly overpopulated planet will continue to be a spiral into a timely oblivion.

    Or so we have been warned.

    PS. Apparently the current President of the United States wasn’t Divinely pre-selected while, within the same time frame, the Prime Minister of Canada was. I wonder what the Mormon take on this dilemma will be.


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