The Harper government's war on science and knowledge - 2013-09-25
For years now, the federal government has been censuring, muzzling, de-funding, and laying off scientists, librarians, archivists, statisticians, and researchers in its efforts vacate government involvement in core research, and to shift its focus to industry-specific needs.
There are three granting councils that allocate federal funding for research in Canada: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC), and the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR). In constant dollars, from 2007-2013, base funding for SSHR has decreased by 10.1 per cent; funding for NSERC has decreased by 6.4 per cent; and funding for CIHR has decreased by 7.5 per cent. Meanwhile, NSERC funding aimed at "company-specific" problems has increased (between 2001-2012) by 1178 per cent, while success rates for CIHR grants has dropped by 61 per cent.
The government rationale for the de-funding and transfer of funding is that tax payer funded research should serve the needs of industry. However, the shift in focus corrupts core research by creating research parameters that compromise thorough examinations of any given hypothesis or premise. While these restrictions serve the government's agenda to create an unimpeded/streamlined environment for both industry and government ideology, they endanger the public. Core research that interferes with the government/corporate agenda (but sometimes negatively impacts public health and safety) is discarded or suppressed, while narrowly focused research that doesn't contradict corporate government messaging is rewarded.