Politics, Science… Coincidence?

There are many coincidences in life. Every day - in a world with billions of things happening - there are bound to be events that just seem to be related. There are also deliberate acts that seem to be coincidence.

As consumers of news it’s our job to read between the lines and decide for ourselves what’s coincidence and what’s deliberate.

Two things happened yesterday:

1) Hundreds of lab-coated scientists marched on Parliament Hill proclaiming the death of evidence (a nice play on the Death of Innocence because there really has been a change in Ottawa where facts and figures no longer play a role in policy formulation); and

2) The Harper government announced Health Canada would study the (already well-studied) health effects of living near wind turbines.

Was it a coincidence or was it deliberate? I suspect the latter and here’s why: The reality is this federal government doesn't base policy on evidence so why do a study?

The date gives us a hint as to possible intentions. This ‘study’ will apparently be out in 2014, just in time to potentially play a role in the next provincial election.

You might remember that in the lead-up to the last election in Ontario, along with a conveniently-formed anti-wind lobby group, the Hudak Conservatives tirelessly campaigned against wind energy.

Some political observers suspect the wind disinformation and fear-mongering campaign may have even cost the Liberals a majority in the last election.

Chief among the demands of the Ontario wind conspiracy theorists was the call for a health study (they didn’t like the existing scientific evidence). They just got it.

Is it just me or does this look like a case of the Conservative government using science as a political tool?

Perhaps I’m too cynical.

John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada
Executive.Director@sierraclub.ca
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