The quiet cuts

Chris Cobb finds a 20% cut to the budget of the National Research Council.

Although the cuts at NRC are “significant,” added Corbett, the issue is less about numbers and more about expertise. “If you have a rocket scientist going out the door, you can’t replace that person with an insect scientist,” he said. “It’s a pretty specialized field and that’s the part the government doesn’t appear to understand.

“The government is putting its fiscal policy ahead of everything and ordering all the science-based departments and agencies to cut,” he said. “And they are having a hell of a time doing it. On one hand they are trying to deliver the programs they are mandated and legislated to do, but on the other hand they are having to make some serious choices. It looks like one essential program will live at the expense of another.”




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The quiet cuts

  1. This govt doesn’t understand science because they don’t like science.  The minister of science is a creationist after all.

  2. The defunding, erosion and destruction of sources of factual information within government that might challenge the Harper ideology-driven and faith-based agenda is clearly on the chopping block. Through misdirection, however, media are mostly pretending these cuts won’t happen until next spring, when the results of the alleged “strategic review” will be finally unveiled.

    Based on what is actually happening right now in government, it appears that the plan is for the bodies to have been removed and the damage done long before the next budget speech. What with most Ottawa media oblivious to the cuts that are happening (due to lack of issued press releases) it appears the plan is working quite well.

    Presumably, this is how Harper intends to implement his “hidden” agenda over the next few years. You know, the agenda that the cons deny exists, the agenda that media are trained to scoff at, the agenda that Harper’s base understands is now and will be aggressively implemented, the one they know must be quietly celebrated, lest it become so obvious that even the press gallery catches on. 

  3. The NRC, which promotes leading-edge technological research and is headquartered on Montreal Road, will cut 25 science jobs across the country, the Citizen has learned.

    “The loss of institutional knowledge will be huge,” said Gary Corbett, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPPS), the scientists’ union. “You can’t just drain knowledge from the public sector. It will be devastating to Canada in future years, but the government doesn’t seem to care.”

    The NRC’s total budget stood at $881,137,581 in the last fiscal year; in 2011-12, it will be reduced to $690,836,000.

    Plenty of money is still being spent on science that won’t lead to anything in particular. 

    This is perfect example of positive rights and why they are evil. Does Alf Apps know what he is talking about or is he clueless? Apps is either really left wing or witless or both, more like.

    This discussion is all about what society can do for rocket scientists. Does Corbett ask himself why Canada needs rocket scientists when we don’t have a rocket program and we are running tens of $$$ billion deficits? Does Corbett ask himself why he thinks it is ideological to put Canadian fiscal policy in order? Does union want country to go bankrupt while continuing to pay rocket scientists?

    It is all about what society can do for union or rocket scientists.

    Unions don’t actually care about anyone but themselves and are happy to see Canada go bankrupt as long as they are paid. Government does not produce wealth, it just spends it. And more money that goes to salaries, the fewer programs we will have. 

    Also, where does Corbett think knowledge goes when people leave government. Has Corbett heard of Google, it is useful website that illustrates that knowledge doesn’t actually disappear when someone quits working for government. 

    Canada’s federal deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year is a record $55.6 billion, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Tuesday.

    Detailed analysis of 2006 Census findings on full-time earnings by sector and occupation show that government and public sector employees are paid roughly 8 to 17 per cent more than similarly employed individuals in the private sector.

    • ‘why Canada needs rocket scientists when we don’t have a rocket program ‘

      What the hell are you talking about now??? 

      Canada was the third country in space, in 1962…. we have astronauts, we are part of the ISS, we’re making robots for Mars and we have the Canadian Space Agency.

    • I’ve worked in government (NRC in fact) and I can definitely concur that there is a lot of wasted taxpayer funds, aimless projects that exist to merely “sound useful and cutting edge” but whose only goal is in fact self-preservation, and usually those who stand up to point out inefficiencies or suggest a new approach that is actually innovative or cutting edge are silenced, fired or don’t have their contracts renewed. As the socialist dictum states: “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down” by the collective who is only interested in maintaining the status quo. It makes sense, most of those in public research sector are those who couldn’t make it in private or who came from the revolving door of academia.

      At the same time, there are some incredibly intelligent people hiding amongst the rest who merely tow the line and rarely get a chance to have their projects or ideas funded. What we need is not more cuts but more transparency and perhaps a way for the public to vote on which projects get funded and what research is considered important. The biggest problem with the public sector is that the vote of a corporation (now legally a person) from the private sector is worth more than the vote of an actual human (now legally a corporation) who provides the taxpayer funds that allow there to be a public sector to begin with. It’s completely ass backwards!

  4. Same thing happened under Mulroney/Wilson who impaired freshwater research, for instance, with arbitrary quotas for personnel cuts. As much as cutting personnel by attrition and voluntary retirement seems humane (and expedient) the department loses control of what positions it needs to keep strategically. So for instance, someone performing a cross-cuttting specialized lab testing role leaves, that either brings the remaining research relying on those tests to a standstill or that function is replaced by outsourcing at increased costs to a private service (maybe even at a new lab owned by the now retired scientist).

  5. People in the scientific community knew this was coming.  It’s a consequence of voting for people who consider the Flintstones a documentary.

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