Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Kingston and the Islands for raising the importance of what we find at division 10 of Bill C-4.

When we are dealing with omnibus budget bills, there is scant attention paid to the multiple ways in which the legislation would impact on dozens of pieces of legislation.

I would ask about these changes to the National Research Council. They are obviously not intended to save money. They would reduce the scope of the work of the National Research Council in terms of the expertise upon which it can draw. However, the member failed to mention one of the other changes that has been brought about by this administration, which was the elimination of the position of the science adviser to the Prime Minister. It was recently outlined in a book by Chris Turner, The War on Science.

What does my hon. colleague make of this effort to undermine access to good advice from those who are qualified to offer it in areas of scientific competence?


Ted Hsu: Mr. Speaker, it is very important for a government to have access to, respect, listen to, and act on the very best advice to formulate policy. That includes science advisers. That includes, in terms of the management of NRC, advice that can come from the members of the council.

The thing that can happen, if people are willing to accept this advice, is that sometimes they realize that they are wrong and have to change what they are doing. That is what I mean by saying that sometimes we are humbled by respect for the truth. I think we should govern that way. It is a good thing for the country to govern in that way. It can be embarrassing sometimes for the government, but perhaps not as embarrassing as what the government is experiencing now. It is a good thing to be humbled by the truth sometimes. If we let ourselves be humbled by the truth, we will avoid the kind of situation the current government is in with the problems the Prime Minister’s Office is having with some of the Senate appointments.