This Week in Canadian Science 2018-07-01

by | July 1, 2018


By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

OTTAWA — Any changes to Canada’s laws on pollution and toxic chemicals will likely not be made until after the next federal election.Environment Minister Catherine McKenna responded Friday to 87 recommendations made by the House of Commons environment committee a year ago on how to overhaul the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which governs the protection of human and environmental health through things such as chemical management and air pollution strategies.

In a letter to the committee, McKenna says the government agrees with the intent of most of the recommendations, but that the legislative agenda just can’t accommodate another new bill right now.

She says the government is “committed to introducing a bill to reform (the act) as soon as possible in a future Parliament” and will in the meantime consult widely on exactly how to update the legislation.

That likely means there won’t be any changes to how Canada manages toxic chemicals and air pollution until after the next election, which is scheduled for October 2019.”


“There are parallels between the twin crises of immigration and tariffs currently being pushed by the American president. In both cases, Donald Trump’s modus operandi is to project toughness and strength without really having thought through the potential policy implications. The impact of the child separation tactic to punish refugee claimants has seemed to backfire in the eyes of most, but there is little evidence that the president has been chastened by this experience apart from complaining about the unfairness of the media coverage.

Likewise his application of tariffs, initially on steel and aluminum but with threats of possibly more to come, is the act of someone who has given more thought to theatrical optics, than how the action might play out in practice. Despite the president’s proclamation that “trade wars are good” and “easy to win”, the vast majority of economists would suggest that everyone becomes a loser in this exercise.

Those sympathetic to the president have rationalized that the tariffs are merely a bargaining tactic to win concessions from trading partners, just like the separation of children from their refugee parents was a tactic to deter them from coming to America. Unfortunately for Mr. Trump things haven’t really worked out that way.

If those migrating from violent dysfunctional Central American countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are sufficiently desperate and fearful for their survival, they will go to whatever ends are necessary. Likewise America’s important trading partners cannot allow themselves to be seen cowering in the face of Trump’s bullying tactics. Indeed if Justin Trudeau and other western leaders did choose to appease the American president, he might very well double down and make further demands. This has already been suggested by the additional threat of an automobile tariff.”


“The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, is set to receive a significant helping hand from Canada as it undergoes major performance-boosting upgrades.

Federal science minister Kirsty Duncanannounced Monday that the Canadian government will invest $10 million towards building new particle accelerator components for the machine, with Canada’s own particle accelerator centre, TRIUMF, chipping in with a $2 million in-kind contribution.

Built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) as part of a massive international collaboration, the Large Hadron Collider is designed to answer fundamental questions of physics.

It does this by smashing together sub-atomic particles at close to the speed of light, enabling scientists to explore the existence of particles predicted by physics theories, discover new particles and even create micro black holes to uncover parallel universes and unexplored dimensions.”


EDINBURGH, ScotlandJune 28, 2018 /CNW/ – Strong scientific collaboration leads to discoveries and innovations that help solve global challenges and create well-paying jobs for the middle class. The governments of Canada and the United Kingdom have a long history of collaboration, and nowhere is this stronger or more important than in science and research.

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, is in London and Edinburgh this week to build on and strengthen Canada’s research and innovation relationship with the United Kingdom.

Minister Duncan met her U.K. counterpart Sam Gyimah, the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, to promote Canada as a top choice for international science and research collaboration opportunities.

She discussed best practices to strengthen coordination in research in her meetings with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and with Sir Paul Nurse, Director and CEO of the Francis Crick Institute, who formerly led a major review of government-funded science in his country.

She also met with Dr. Patrick Vallance, the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, to learn more about Britain’snetwork of departmental scientific advisers.”


“Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak might not be so fantastical after all.

A team of researchers in Montreal claims to have successfully rendered an object invisible to broadband light, using a new technique dubbed, “spectral cloaking.”

Jose Azana, who co-authored a study on the findings, says the technique could have a wide range of security applications, including masking fibre-optic transmissions and making objects invisible to the naked eye.

The experiment was conducted using fibre optic cable, laser light and a target object at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) in Montreal.”


Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

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