posted Feb 7, 2014, 4:38 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience
updated Feb 7, 2014, 4:38 PM
Half of those polled believe Conservative cuts to science budgets have already damaged ability to serve public; 91 per cent think upcoming cuts will further cause further damage.
COLIN PRICE / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Federal scientists have managed to raise super-size fish through genetic modification. A recent survery has found that government scientists, especially those working in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, were among the most likely to report that cuts to their departments had a detrimental effect on their ability to serve the public.
By: Kate Allen Science and Technology reporter, Published on Thu Feb 06 2014
Half of federal government scientists who responded to a poll believe the Conservatives’ cuts to science budgets have already damaged their ability to serve the public.
The vast majority — 91 per cent — of respondents believe upcoming cuts will erode that ability further.
Scientists working at Environment Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Natural Resources Canada, and in Agriculture were among the most likely to report that cuts to their departments had a detrimental effect on their ability to serve the public. Environmental research and regulation is the area scientists were most likely to be concerned about.
According to PIPSC, $758.1 million has already been cut from federal science budgets and by 2016 a total of $2.6 billion will be cut.
The office of Greg Rickford, the minister of state responsible for science and technology, disputed that in a statement Thursday.
“Our government’s priority, jobs and economic growth, is shared by Canadians. We have therefore made record investments in science, technology and innovation. Canada is ranked first in the G7 for our support for research and development in our colleges, universities and other institutes.” |
A related survey released in October found that 90 per cent of scientists who responded to a poll believed that they cannot speak freely about their work to the media, 71 per cent felt policies have been compromised by political meddling, and a quarter said they had been asked to skew or exclude information for reasons that had nothing to do with science.
In a more recent survey conducted in November, Environics found that 69 per cent of Canadians think cuts to science will have a somewhat or very negative impact on the government’s ability to serve citizens. Among Conservative supporters, 59 per cent had a negative view.
More than 4,000 union members responded out of a total 15,400 who received the questionnaire. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 1.6 percentage points 19 times out of 20.