Monday, January 20, 2014

Dear Leader Is In Israel

So, Harper is running around Israel blathering on about how Canada will blindly support Israel no matter what happens.  Frankly, Harper is acting like a little boy in short pants on the foreign affairs file ... but I have already discussed that in detail before.  Today's speech does nothing to change my opinion on that.

More important, and damaging, is the fallout from the Harper Government's ongoing war on science and knowledge in Canada.  The latest chapter in this saga is here, in the form of how this government's ongoing attack on Canada's ability to perform meaningful research and have policy that is informed by facts.

Health Canada scientists are so concerned about losing access to their research library that they're finding work-arounds, with one squirrelling away journals and books in his basement for colleagues to consult, says a report obtained by CBC News. 
The draft report from a consultant hired by the department warned it not to close its library, but the report was rejected as flawed and the advice went unheeded.
In short, our government shut down the research library for our health care system, and the users of that library are finding it necessary to create their own informal libraries.

"Staff requests have dropped 90 per cent over in-house service levels prior to the outsource. This statistic has been heralded as a cost savings by senior HC [Health Canada] management," the report said. 
"However, HC scientists have repeatedly said during the interview process that the decrease is because the information has become inaccessible — either it cannot arrive in due time, or it is unaffordable due to the fee structure in place." 
A recently retired Health Canada pathologist agreed with this assessment."I look at it as an insidious plan to discourage people from using libraries," said Dr. Rudi Mueller, who left the department in 2012. 
"If you want to justify closing a library, you make access difficult and then you say it is hardly used." 
At its root, this is no different than the liquidation of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada libraries, closing the Experimental Lakes Area, the axing of the long form census, or any of a number of other actions taken by the Harper Government which have ultimately removed the ability of the government to make informed policy decisions ... not that the Harper Conservatives have exactly been paragons of informed policy making - it's easier to make it up as you go along.

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