Politics, Science, Society

The Conservative Party of Canada is now officially the Party of Willful Ignorance.

Last week, the Government of Canada voted against “Science.” Quite literally, it turns out. Here is the text of the motion the Conservatives voted down:

That, in the opinion of the House,

  • a) public science, basic research, and the free and open exchange of scientific information are essential to evidence-based policy-making;
  • b) federal government scientists must be enabled to discuss openly their findings with their colleagues and the public;
  • c) the government should maintain support for its basic scientific capacity across Canada, including immediately extending funding, until a new operator is found, to the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area Research Facility to pursue its unique research program.

Now, many of us have known this about the Conservative Party at the federal level ever since the Progressive Conservative and Alliance parties merged. We have tried to persuade other Canadians about their reactionary positions but clearly, we have failed. The Conservatives moved from a minority government to a majority in the last election.

When the Omnibus crime bill was passed last year, it was clear to even some Conservative supporters that there was something deeply wrong with the way the Conservative party thinks. Putting aside what you think about their actual policies, the methods they used to create that bill were staggeringly out of touch with contemporary society.

Now, those of us who believe that the Conservatives are completely unwilling to debate the validity of their own emotion-based beliefs have proof. This vote against the role of science in Canadian government is the clearest indication we will likely ever get about how this party – or at least how the party’s leaders – think.

Now, it should not matter what your opinions are regarding the role of government in the economy, or in social life, or whether you think the debt needs to be reduced over and above all other things, or whether you think we need to nationalize more industries, or what have you. Folks, this should be an entirely non-partisan issue. And I would actually like to hear from those of you who think it is partisan, or who think that the party you voted for because they might lower your taxes is still worth defending.

Last week the Conservatives told us that the only thing that matters is their own opinion. We knew that of course, but now they have stated it publicly. There is no hope for future Conservative policy unless this party drastically changes its leadership and core beliefs. Yes, the Conservatives might stumble upon the right policies here and there because their beliefs accidentally coincide with a sound strategy, but for the most part, this kind of faith-over-reason approach will only lead to more destructive legislation such as the Omnibus Crime Bill. There is no other alternative and they have shown that with this ridiculous vote  against methodology in policy making.

It should be no longer possible for any “fiscal conservatives” to defend this party.

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