Loss of CFIA research centre part of unfortunate anti-science trend?

MP Elizabeth May is protesting the loss of a Canadian Food Inspection Agency research centre in Saanich-Gulf Islands, the riding she represents, a casualty of the federal government’s budget cuts.  “We are losing twelve jobs, affecting twelve families directly, but we are also losing all of the industry that supports the centre and that will have an even larger impact,” said May.

The research centre maintains a collection which includes rare plants that require protection such as fruit trees and English hollies. Staff also studies plant health, specifically viruses and pests of  grapevines, tree fruits and other crops. “Tree fruit and grapevine health are an important component of our wine industry in particular.  The concern  is that the testing of viruses and imported plants at this facility had the  benefit of the Salish Sea preventing any accidentally released virus  from reaching the mainland.”

“Taking a scientific project and simply transplanting it elsewhere often doesn’t work well.  The research scientists should have been consulted to ensure that their projects can continue successfully,” said May.

“Is this another example of the Harper Conservatives’ disdain for science?,” asked May. “This decision was reached without any consultation with the industry or scientific communities. It is arbitrary and wrong. The top-down orders from Ottawa to close the centre come without any plan for the protection of the knowledge base, the research or for protection of the large area of land on which the centre is based.”