Coming Crisis In Scientific Research

OPEN LETTER ON THE COMING CRISIS IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Right Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister

Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Hon. Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Conservative Party

Hon. Thomas J. Mulcair, Leader of the NDP

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party

 

22 February 2017

 

As the new administration takes office in Washington, one of the most striking and ominous aspects of the transition is the fact that key science-based departments such as NASA and the EPA are being put in the charge of committed adversaries. The nominees for key positions in these areas and other departments, such as Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon-Mobil, for State, and Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney-General, for EPA, are on the record as climate-change deniers and/or favoring oil and gas interests over public safety.

It is already clear that the incoming administration is mounting a major offensive against climate science and environmental regulation, and that major cutbacks in science-based government departments will soon be underway.  Directives have been issued in several agencies that scientific conclusions are not to be released to the public.  We also fear that bad science, tailored to industry and corporate agendas, could be another consequence of the Trump administration’s embrace and promotion of “alternative facts.”

The US government threatens, by closing scientific programs, by muzzling its scientists, and possibly by distorting scientific facts, to inflict an intolerable loss to humankind’s collective understanding of crucial elements of planetary survival.  Scientists in the US have shown their alarm at the threat by beginning a plan for a massive protest march in Washington this spring.

In order to limit the damage, it is incumbent on the other nations of the world to expand their investment in science to maintain scientific integrity in the service of human and planetary well-being. In some cases this will mean finding new homes outside the USA for individuals and laboratories discontinued in their present homes; in other cases it will mean new initiatives. Either way, it will mean that some countries must support science on a scale much greater than what is seen now as required by their purely national needs.

Canada is uniquely well equipped to step into the breach, given our government’s recent admirable success in reversing its predecessor’s restrictions, and given the closeness of Canadian science and scientists to their US counterparts. Cross-border cooperation has already begun in transferring crucial databases to jurisdictions beyond the reach of the anti-science forces in the United States.

It is our firm belief that the well-being of humanity and all life on earth now depends on maintaining efforts in environmental and related sciences to limit the human-caused damage to the planet in order to ensure a livable terrestrial home for future generations. We call on the government of Canada to make clear its readiness to meet this challenge, to begin without delay to allocate the needed resources to it, and to launch a global dialogue among stakeholders –governments at all levels, non-governmental organizations, universities and research institutes, foundations, and citizens– on how best to achieve this goal.

 

Signed by:

 

Paul Antze
          Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Social Science
          York University, Toronto
John Balatinecz
          Professor Emeritus, Forestry, University of Toronto
Edward Barbeau
          Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, University of Toronto
Pauline Gardiner Barber
          Professor, Sociology & Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University
Gillian Barker
          Assistant Professor, Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western University
Jonathan Barker
          Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Toronto
Nicole Bennett
          Associate Professor and Director, Midwifery Education, Ryerson University
Ann Clark
          Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph
Phyllis Creighton, O.Ont.
          Adjunct Faculty of Divinity, Trinity College, Toronto
Hilary Cunningham
          Associate Professor of Anthropology, School of the Environment
          University of  Toronto
Edwin E. Daniel, FRSC
          Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology, University of Alberta
Regna Darnell, FRSC
          Distinguished University Professor, Anthropology, University of Western Ontario
Chandler Davis
          Professor of Mathematics, University of Toronto
Natalie Zemon Davis, C.C., FRSC
          Professor of History, University of Toronto
Eric Desjardins
          Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario
Steve Easterbrook
          Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto
Peter Eglin
          Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University
Margrit Eichler, FRSC
          President, Our Right to Know,
          Professor Emerita, OISE, University of Toronto
Miriam Garfinkle, MD
          Toronto
Janice E. Graham
          Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Sociology, Dalhousie University
Vassos Hadzilacos
          Professor of Computer Science, University of Toronto
Paul Hamel
          Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Danny Harvey
          IPCC Lead Author,
          Professor, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
Monica Heller, FRSC
          CREFO, OISE, University of Toronto
Julie Horrocks
          Professor and Chair, Mathematics and Statistics, University of Guelph
Lisa Jeffrey, FRSC
          Professor of Mathematics, University of Toronto
Giuliana Katz
          Professor Emerita of Italian, University of Toronto
Robert D. Katz, RSW
          Past President, Urban Alliance on Race Relations, Toronto
Martin Klein
          Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of Toronto
Peggy Lathwell, MD
          Toronto
Michael Lambek, FRSC
          Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto
Richard B. Lee, O.C., FRSC
          Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto
Hugh Lehman
          Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph
Joel Lexchin, MD
          Professor Emeritus, School of Health Policy and Management, York University, Toronto
Andrew Lyons
          Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Wilfrid Laurier University
Harriet Lyons
          Professor Emerita of Anthropology, University of Waterloo
Bonnie McElhinny
          Associate Professor, Anthropology and Women & Gender Studies
          University of Toronto
Desmond Moser
          Centre for Environment & Sustainability, University of Western Ontario
Katrina A. Moser
          Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario
Michelle Murphy
          Director, Technoscience Research Unit
          Professor of History and Women & Gender Studies, University of Toronto
Wayne C. Myrvold
          Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario
Alejandro I. Paz
          Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto
Richard Peltier, FRSC
          University Professor and Professor of Physics, University of Toronto
Christopher Powell
          Assistant Professor of Sociology, Ryerson University
Leda Raptis
          Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen’s University
Harriet Rosenberg
          Professor of Social Science, York University, Toronto
Peter Rosenthal
          Professor of Mathematics, University of Toronto
Av Singh
          Centre for Small Farms, Wolfville, NS
Gavin Smith
          Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto
Metta Spencer
          President, Science for Peace
          Professor Emerita of Sociology, University of Toronto
Renee Sylvain
          Associate Professor of Sociology & Social Anthropology, University of Guelph
Michael Tobis
          Climate Scientist, Ottawa
Sandra Tychsen
          Toronto
Jeji Varghese
          Associate Professor of Environmental/Resource Sociology, University of Guelph
Michael Wayne
          Professor Emeritus of History, University of Toronto
Emma Whelan
          Associate Professor, Sociology & Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University
Donald L. Nicol
Charles  Maurer
          Pensioner
Deborah  Harrison
          Adjunct Professor of Sociology, UNB
Ronald Shirtliff
Brydon Gombay
          Community psychologist
Douglas Alton
          MD Honorary Staff Hospital for Sick Children Toronto
Rhona Wolpert
          Member of Our Right to Know, Toronto
Roswita Busskamp
Ruth Hayhoe
          Professor, OISE, University of Toronto
Henry Evans-Tenbrinke
          Executive-at-Large Hamilton Mountain NDP
James Deutsch
          Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Elmer Tory
          Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Computer Science, Mount Allison University
Michael Stuart
          Researcher, London School of Economics, PhD
Genevieve Rail
          Professor of Cultural Studies of Health, Concordia University
Bruce Campbell
          Former Executive Director Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2016 Fellow, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Martin Klein
          Professor emeritus, University of Toronto
David Goodings
          Professor Emeritus of Physics, McMaster University
Susan Lindley
          Clinical Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University
Dr. Grace Karram Stephenson
Jessica McQuiggan, PhD
Stephen Chapman
          Independent researcher, Isomer Design
Harry Smaller
          Faculty of Education, York University
Kari Dehli
          Professor Emerita, OISE, University of Toronto
Corey Grajkowski
          Controls Programmer
Nina Beveridge
          Producer/Director, Beevision Productions
Adele Buckley
          Scientist/engineer; Board of Directors Canadian Pugwash
Boyd Richards
          Retired, Psychology, University of New Brunswick
Christopher Brown
Michael Zryd
          Associate Dean Academic, Faculty of Graduate Studies, York University
Geraldine Lindley
          Professor, School of International Business and Management, Seneca College
James Robert Brown
          Professor
Stephen Brown-Okruhlik
Gilles Fecteau
          Retired software development executive IBM Canada
Andrew Pakula
          Retired social research consultant
Elia Abi-Jaoude
          Staff Physician, The Hospital for Sick Children
Mark Pancer
          Professor Emeritus, Wilfrid Laurier University
Colleen Kaiser
          PhD Candidate York University
Lyja Glanville
Stephen Hwang
          Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto
 Jim Sugiyama
          MD
 Victoria Schei
          Scientists in School
Ahmed Baoumi
          Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto
Ping-Chun Hsiung
          Associate professor, University of Toronto
Cindy Sinclair
          PhD Student and Teaching Assistant
John Sinclair
          Retired Engineer and Health & Safety Consultant
Patrick Keilty
          Assistant Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
Jim Woodgett
          Director of Research, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute
Vladimir Tasic
          Professor and Chair, Mathematics and Statistics, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton
Elizabeth Gilarowski
          Independent writer/researcher
Jennie  Frow
Kathleen Scheaffer
          Librarian, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
Jon Thompson
          Professor Emeritus on Mathematics, UNB
Natasha Myers
          Associate Professor, Anthropology, York University