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Hundreds gather for Stand Up for Science Rally in Vancouver

Hundreds of science supporters listened to scientists' recount how the federal government has curtailed the ability of government scientists to conduct, communicate and act on research. For example, Sarah Otto explained how the Environment Minister has kept cabinet from receiving 69 out 71 reports from COSEWIC regarding species at risk.  


Dr. Thomas Kerr BC Centre for Excellence in HIV and AIDS,   co-director of the Addiction and Urban Health Research Initiative 

Our story isn’t about funding or being muzzled. It’s about very high level interference in what should be the natural development of policy. A story about immense human suffering, an effective public policy response and government interference at the highest levels.

Tzeporah Berman, Activist and author

Our government’s plan for 9 million barrels a day is consistent with a world that has 6 degree warming scenarios. The International Energy Agency said that for $1 spent on clean energy technology we will save $4 in dealing with the impacts of climate change.

Oil corrodes. It corrodes pipelines and it is corroding our democracy. Democracy thrives with the widespread dissemination of knowledge, with transparency, and with education. It helps us to make good decisions. Democracy thrives with shared knowledge that creates informed debate.

It is said that knowledge is power and the suppression of knowledge is the oppressor’s most powerful tool. In the last several years, we have experienced a dramatic suppression of knowledge in Canada, a disturbing silencing of some of the country’s most important scientists. Some of our most important scientific bodies have been shut down because this is a government that does not want to talk about climate change and not address climate change and expand the tar sands at the rate they want.

Let’s be clear. This is not an issue of right or left. This is an issue of right and wrong.

Sarah Otto, UBC Evolutionary Biologist and MacArthur Fellowship Recipient


I was talking with a government scientist and they told me about their work and then they told me that they were asked not to publish this work. That disturbed me. But even worse was the reason they were told to not publish their work and that was “we want the public to forget about this species.” I don’t want to forget and I don’t think Canadians want to forget. We want to our children and grandchildren to see the diversity of life that we enjoy around us today.


I’m a big fan of industry specific research it must and should be done. This kind of research aims to solve already identified problems with solutions that we already have a sense of. It is basic research that reveals the unknown problems. It is basic research that identifies solutions that lie beyond our current imagination. Only through basic research do we find new technologies and new paradigms. Reducing Canada’s funding for basic research means that we are less likely to be making the fundamental discoveries, discoveries that help us understand the world around and will help us lead the new technology of the future.

Scientists serve as an early warning system to Canada. We are the ones who are closely watching how the environment is changing, monitoring species, following invading species and following and tracking diseases. Canada can ignore this early warning system but personally I don’t want that and I don’t think anyone else wants that either. We want to know the risks and potential solutions to the problems we are facing. We want scientists to speak their findings and their concerns openly.

Ignoring science risks walking blind into the future, unaware of environmental and health risks. It takes away our ability to avoid problems early before they get so bad that remediation is a challenge if we can remediate at all.

Alexandra Morton, Marine Biologist and wild salmon advocate


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