Canadian scientists are cry babies?

Here is an excerpt from an editorial in the Toronto Star today:

There is a fundamental disconnection between the nation’s scientists and political leaders over what Ottawa is doing for research.

The scientists complain that the federal government has slashed funding for research and, as a result, Canada runs the risk of a “brain drain” to the United States, where the new Obama administration is pouring money into the field. The government, on the other hand, says it has increased research funding by billions of dollars and the complaining scientists are cry babies. They are both right.

So, even though the editorial then goes on to (correctly) explain the scientists’ position that injecting money for infrastructure (mostly at the request of universities, which is not the same as what scientists may have asked for) while simultaneously cutting basic grants, providing no new support for major agencies such as Genome Canada, and directing money increasingly toward government-preferred applied projects will likely harm Canada’s research abilities, the editor thinks we’re cry babies.

This must be just a poor choice of wording, given the actual conclusion:

There are reports that Goodyear is quietly assuring people in the field that this cut will be restored in future budgets. If so, there seems no reason why that couldn’t be done now. The amount in question is minuscule when compared to the $76.5 billion cumulative deficit projected over next three fiscal years (less than two-tenths of 1 per cent). And the danger of losing scientists and projects to the U.S. is real if the government waits until later.

One thought on “Canadian scientists are cry babies?

  1. Oh the joys of politics and science. Strange bedfellows but basic science research needs government and society needs basic research so they wrapped around each other whether the like it or not.
    And more often than not they are indeed both right.
    To find some common ground and patch up some differences in opinion we’re organizing a Canadian Science Policy Conference aimed at finding solutions, not dewelling of difference.
    Check it out a

    Mike Spear
    Genome Alberta

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