Media Release

Scientists Hold Funeral Marking the Death of Evidence – The Latest Casualty in the War on Science

OTTAWA, July 10th, 2012 - Canadian scientists and concerned citizens gathered today to mourn the death of Evidence. Until recently, Evidence served a prominent role guiding the decisions of Canadian leaders. Recently its voice was tragically silenced after a series of severe injuries including cuts to many scientific programs and muzzling of government scientists.

The funeral procession started at the Ottawa Convention Centre at noon where mourners, dressed in lab coats or all in black, silently marched through the streets of downtown Ottawa. The grim reaper and pallbearers carrying the coffin led the procession. Signs in the crowd highlighted some of the recent government decisions that led to Evidence’s demise. “Save ELA” said one sign referring to the world renowned experimental lakes area that recently had its funding cut. Another mentioned the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Lab (PEARL) that also had its funding cut with signs saying “Ozone Matters, Save PEARL”.

The funeral procession ended at Parliament Hill where Katie Gibbs, rally organizer and PhD student in the Biology department at the University of Ottawa, started the funeral service. “We are here today to commemorate the untimely death of Evidence in Canada. After a long battle with the Harper government, Evidence has suffered its final blow,” said Gibbs. “But today, we have chosen to celebrate Evidence.”

A number of prominent scientists, NGO leaders and politicians gave eulogies in praise of Evidence. “Canadian government scientists are now muzzled. An iron curtain is being drawn between science and society. Closed curtains, especially those made of iron, make for very dark rooms,” said Jeff Hutchings, President of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution.

Dr. Arne Moores, Professor of Biodiversity at Simon Fraser University, added: “To deny evidence is to live in a child's fantasy world. Recent actions by the federal government suggest our state is frightened by evidence, and is retreating into a fantasy world. For the good of society, this must be reversed."

“The Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) is a world class, living outdoor laboratory where distinguished scientists have studied how to protect freshwater for decades. Their discoveries are used to protect water systems around the world,” said Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and former Senior Advisor on Water to the UN General Assembly. “The Harper government is shaming Canadians in the eyes of the world and killing a major gift to water science at the very moment we are really beginning to understand the depth of the global water crisis. It is an outrage.”

Dr. Scott Findlay, Associate Professor and former Director of the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Environment, closed the funeral service by inviting some scientists up to pay their respects. A dozen scientists placed books into the open coffin, including Darwin’s The Origin of Species and Silent Spring. “Perhaps, after all, Evidence is not quite dead. But it is at the very least at Death’s door,” said Findlay. “We can restore Evidence but this will require an effort not only by scientists but by the general public. We all must demand that Evidence be brought forward and included in the public debate and in decision making.”

More information can be found at www.deathofevidence.ca including high resolution photos from the event. A background document highlighting many of the current governments attacks on science can be found at http://www.deathofevidence.ca/media.

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For further information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Beverley Wood
White Dog Creative
250-245-9191
info@whitedogcreative.com

Katie Gibbs
613-866-6921 (c)
katiemgibbs@gmail.com

Dr. Scott Findlay
613.562-5800 x4574 (w); 613.612.0666 (c)
findlay@uottawa.ca

High Res Logos

More Photos

http://wildshots.photoshelter.com/gallery/Media-Death-of-Evidence-rally/G0000IkcV1lVLJGk

Download the Advisory

Background Information

Media Advisory

Marking The Death of Evidence – A Casualty in the War on Science

OTTAWA, July 5, 2012 - Concerned Canadian scientists and citizens will gather in Ottawa on July 10, 2012 to mourn the death of Evidence. Until recently, Evidence
served a prominent role guiding the decisions of Canadian leaders. Its voice was tragically silenced recently after a series of severe injuries.

In recent months, the role of Evidence in important public decisions affecting Canadians was greatly diminished by:

  • Unstaunched bloodletting at critical research programs in Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the National Research Council of Canada, Statistics Canada and elsewhere.
  • The shutdown of irreplaceable systems vital to the health of Evidence, including the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area, the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory and the First Nations Statistical Institute.
  • Inadequate diet resulting from the loss of such important sources of information as the National Science Advisor, Law Commission of Canada, and National Round Table on Environment and Economy.

Funeral services commemorating Evidence and its historic role in Canadian progress and national leadership will be held July 10, at the Ottawa Convention Centre,
beginning at noon. Directing the service will be Katie Gibbs, a PhD student in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa, and Dr. Scott Findlay, Associate
Professor and former Director the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Environment.

The death of Evidence, they say, is a cause for national mourning. “There is systematic campaign to reduce the flow of scientific evidence to Canadians,” Findlay
said. “As a result, the public hears and sees only information that supports federal government policy or ideology. That’s not evidence, that’s propaganda.”

WHAT: Funeral Procession for the Death of Evidence
WHEN: 12:00 pm (noon) July 10, 2012
WHERE: Ottawa Convention Centre. Funeral procession to Parliament Hill.
WHO: Scientists and concerned citizens from across Canada.

More information can be found at www.deathofevidence.ca.

A number of speakers representing scientists and civil society will deliver eulogies for Evidence, including: Dr. Jeff Hutchings, Professor of Biology at Dalhousie University and President of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution; Dr. Alex MacKenzie, a Pediatric scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario; Diane Orihel, founder of the Coalition to Save ELA; Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and former president of the Law Commission of Canada; Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of The Council of Canadians; and Dr. Ted Hsu, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands and Liberal Party critic for Science and Technology.

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For further information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Beverley Wood
White Dog Creative
250-245-9191
info@whitedogcreative.com

Katie Gibbs
613-866-6921 (c)
katiemgibbs@gmail.com

Dr. Scott Findlay
613.562-5800 x4574 (w); 613.612.0666 (c)
findlay@uottawa.ca