In a few of my ecology classes last year, the professors had mentioned (quite frustrated I might add) the current government’s restrictions on scientific, especially ecological, research. Since I was considering a career in this field, I decided to take a closer look and see what exactly was meant by “restrictions”. The result: an almost appallingly obvious destruction of research facilities, jobs and resources by the Harper government. Now if unlike me you don’t have oodles of spare time on your hands, the book The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada by Chris Turner (2013) puts almost all of this into a nice, slim paperback perfect for any commuting biology student.
The book begins with the “Death of Evidence” march on Parliament Hill, including testaments from scientists directly affected by government closures. Turner then digs deeper, exploring the legislation changes and circumstances surrounding these closures and creates links and probable reasons for these closures. The history of Canada’s relationship with science is compared with today and highlights the important changes that have taken place as well as changes still needed to be made. Despite Canada’s image as an environmental pioneer, this is absolutely not the case. Overall, this book is a prominent example of the intimate connection between politics and science, something which has been lacking in my undergraduate degree, and is recommended for anyone who cares about their government.