Gary Goodyear’s Gotta Go!
Before I even begin, I want to stress my belief in the separation of Church and State. Only in a system where we do not preemptively prohibit people based on whatever deity they happen to believe in (or if they even believe in one at all) can the free expression of ones spirituality be guaranteed. That being said, I am a firm believer in judging public figures based on their actions and responses to public pressure.
Now, I don’t know if you’re intimately familiar with King Harper’s cabinet, but our current minister of science and technology is one Mr. Gary Goodyear. As a conservative, it is to be expected when he made cuts to certain programs, even without a clear reason or justification. Fine, we elected the bum, this is what we get. But when our minister of science and technology, when questioned by the globe and mail about whether he believes in evolution, responds like this, I get tremendously unhappy.
“I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate”
This nonsequiter is the kind of answer for one of those folks (mostly Christian, unfortunately) that have a hard time accepting the fact of evolution. Look, it doesn’t bother me that Goodyear is a nice, faithful christian, but it is when he brings his blatantly anti-scientific viewpoints in the public area where he represents all Canadians, in the ministry of Science no less… Well, it irks me something fierce.
How do we, as Canadians, expect to go about interacting on the global scene, keeping up with the latest advances in science and technology, when we have our chief representative in this vital area a practicing quack doctor with virtually no on-the-job evidence of rational, critical thinking? It would be like our finance minister to come out one day and say “Yeah, I don’t really buy into this whole ‘economy’ thing, but you can’t ask why because that is protected under my religious freedoms”. Irrespective of his religious viewpoint, if our finance minister demonstrated that he is not practically qualified for the job, I would want a new finance minister. The Ottawa citizen did a fantastic parody of this absurd situation.
So, here is my latest political petition: http://www.goodbyegoodyear.com/
Please read if if you have time, and if you care about the state of Science in our country, please sign!
Mr. Goodyear has released a statement to Natureindirectly addressing this issue, in particular, regarding the state of scientific funding:
You report researchers’ concerns about the Canadian government’s support for science in two recent News stories (Nature 457, 646; 2009 and Nature 458, 393; 2009). As Minister of State for Science and Technology, I can say that, despite the global economic situation, the government of Canada remains committed to innovation and discovery. We have increased funding to researchers, both in universities and in the private sector.
In the past three years, for example, we have significantly increased the budgets of federal granting councils, increased scholarships through the Canada Graduate Scholarships Program, and increased the Industrial Research Assistance Program for small and medium-sized businesses. The Budget 2009 announcements include Can$750 million (US$590 million) for the Canada Foundation for Innovation to attract and retain world-leading researchers, and a Can$2-billion infrastructure programme. The government has also put in place two five-year funding agreements with Genome Canada that are worth Can$240 million, to support large-scale, world-class research.
Your readers should therefore rest assured that the government of Canada will continue to fund research for the benefit of all scientists and Canadians.
If this were all true, I don’t think this sort of petition would be online. I could be wrong though.
Thanks to Sandwalk for the letter.