Saturday, April 18, 2009


Marc Garneau isn't your typical politician.
Unlike virtually 99% of the CON caucus (and especially those in charge of the science file), Garneau entered politics after reaching the top of his field on a number of fronts. His contributions in science helped put Canada on the map.
So when he openly questions the Stephen Harper CON team's attempt to stymie and stunt scientific innovation in Canada there is weight to his words.
Garneau brought a message of encouragement, of firm belief in the work of Canadian scientists and innovators, and absolute faith in the direction of Liberal fortunes in the nation to a fundraising event in Coquitlam on Friday - that's him signing a fundraising item at the Sneakers Ball.
Canada's first astronaut and a one-time Commander in the Canadian Navy, Garneau talked about the companies he visited on his western swing, where he saw the brightest minds working on a variety of interesting projects. He met with innovators in such fields of energy, animation and food production.
With the announced resignation of MP Dawn Black, New Westminster-Coquitlam will be facing a byelection sooner than later, although Harper could postpone it, as he did the one that Garneau was campaigning in until the government broke its fixed-elections law. Either way, the turnout of nearly 100 people, paying $100 each to dine at the gorgeous Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club, was surely encouraging and a tribute to the man who grew up in Quebec City and took to politics with an eye on keeping Canada a leader on the science and technology stage.
Sitting in opposition, Garneau admitted that the main problem he sees coming from the Harper team is that "they just don't get it."
These facts are backed up by the recent plea from scientists that the government reverse course in its decision to slice funding for research and development. Just as he 'found' climate change as an issue when it became vogue after deriding any action on it as being based on "tentative and contradictory scientific evidence about climate trends", Harper has shown ambivalence or outright disrespect to the role that science and technology plays in our economy. Many members of his caucus prefer to accept governance by 'divine intervention' rather than evolution.
It's not just a noble cause that Mr Garneau is fighting for -- Canada is stronger in economics, health care, the arts, the international stage, etc, when it encourages and engages with the science and technological community.
As we prepare for a great opportunity to meet and discuss on what the Liberal party has to offer, let's remember the big picture. Bringing responsible, caring and courageous governance to Canada. Vancouver is going to be a great time, so pack your most relaxed work clothes and a party hat and come on over!

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