Graham Thomson

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Graham Thomson

Postby jon » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:17 pm

Broadcasters make some of the best newspaper columnists, in my opinion. Graham Thomson, for example, is a columnist for the Edmonton Journal. Here is his entry:
Graham Thomson - BA English University of Waterloo Waterloo, Ontario 1981; Reporter CBC Radio 1981-84; Reporter CBX Edmonton 1984-88; Political Reporter CBXT-TV Edmonton 1988-95; Reporter Edmonton Journal 1995-current.

Whether I agree with him on a given topic or not, I have to agree that he really can write. Maybe, because I can just hear his words coming out of a speaker at me. Take a look at today's offering.

Thomson: Harper Tories hear what they want from researchers
By Graham Thomson, Edmonton Journal
August 9, 2012

I'd like to offer an apology to everyone who was innocently munching on their breakfast Wednesday morning when they happened to scan the front page of the Journal.

I'm sorry for the mess created when you spat your cornflakes across the table as you read with incredulity the headline, "Science will decide pipeline: PM."

It's not often you see a reference to the prime minister and science in the same sentence. The two seem mutually exclusive if not oxymoronic.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper putting science ahead of politics? Harper even acknowledging science?

It truly was a cereal-spitting moment.

Harper and the federal Conservative government have not shown themselves to be science friendly. In fact, they've routinely ignored science when it suits their purposes and have been accused of muzzling government scientists on controversial issues such as climate change and the oilsands.

The list of an anti-scientific bias is depressingly long. Journalists wanting to talk with government scientists have had to run a gauntlet of communications managers, policy advisers, political staff and senior advisers. The government is fast-tracking environmental assessments and amending the Fisheries Act, all with an eye to building more pipelines more quickly from Alberta's oilsands.

Documents obtained by Postmedia News this week indicate the federal Environment Department actively discouraged media coverage of a major international report last year linking human activity to extreme weather events.

Researchers across the country have become so alarmed by the government's anti-science ideology that several hundred lab-coated scientists staged a mock funeral in Ottawa last month to mourn the "death of evidence." Coincidentally, the day after the protest, the federal government announced a scientific investigation to study the possible connection between the noise generated by wind turbines and adverse health effects reported by nearby residents. The study would be rigorous, transparent and peer-reviewed, said the government.

Had the protest shamed the government into action?


The study ordered by a pro-fossil fuel government seems to be motivated less by scientific curiosity and more by a bias against alternative sources of energy.

Good science should indeed be the basis for good public policy but the principle must apply across the board. If the government wants to use science to undermine the expansion of wind power, it has to also act on the science linking the emissions of greenhouse gases to climate change. That means taking action to significantly reduce our emissions.

At the very least, it means being honest about efforts to reduce those emissions. On Wednesday, the federal government bragged about how Canada is halfway to meeting its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. But any progress being made by the country is thanks mainly to reductions at the provincial level, not the federal government.

Canadians are buying more fuel-efficient vehicles and the provinces are encouraging people to use less energy. And the progress is something of an accounting trick, at that, with Canada's "carbon-sink" forests being included in the calculations this year. Canada won't be able to meet its targets unless the federal government follows through on promises to crack down on emissions from the energy industry. The jury is still out on whether it will follow through.

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