The federal government's decision to close a freshwater research facility in Norther Ontario known as the Experimental Lakes Area is one more example of the Tory administration's distaste for science.
The project in question has spent 45 years researching the effects of pollution on fresh water - you know, the stuff we drink for, well, life. The closed system of the ELA allowed scientists to accurately assess the long-term effects of changing just one element in the surrounding ecosystem such as a fertilizer or pesticide chemical. Moving the research elsewhere into uncontrolled water means research will no longer be conclusive.
Don't expect to hear complaints from the scientists themselves. The Tories have increasingly cut off all government-employed researchers from speaking freely with the media, last year going so far as to have government handlers trail Canadian scientists attending international conferences.
A clear signpost was the 2011 decision to end the mandatory long-form census, a move that caused the head of Statistics Canada to resign, saying the move would compromise its accuracy.
And last year, the Tories infamously snuck science-slashing legislation into the back pages of its budget.
Other countries have noticed, even if many Canadians remain unconvinced. U.S. scientists working co-operatively with Canadian scientists on Arctic research last year were aghast when asked not to release data without Canadian government permission.
Against this backdrop, it's difficult to take seriously this week's promise to research how diluted bitumen behaves in salt water.
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