The Harper government is behind us at last. What role did the War on Science play in its ouster? It is hard to say, but note this: besides Stephen Harper, only two prominent executors of the War survived the purge. Peter Kent, the man regarded as Canada’s worst-ever Environment Minister, was re-elected, as was the MP who most often defended the muzzling of federal scientists, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification (and former Environment Secretary) Michelle Rempel.
Others were not so lucky. Gone are:
Joe Oliver, the Minister of Natural Resources (and Finance) who cast doubt on climate change;
Leona Aglukkaq, the Minister of the Environment who cast doubt on climate change;
Greg Rickford, the Minister of State for Science and Natural Resources who defended the closure of the Experimental Lakes Area;
Keith Ashfield, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans who championed the gutting of the Fisheries Act;
Gail Shea, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans who oversaw the destruction of federal science libraries;
Ryan Leef, the MP from Yukon who sent materials from climate change deniers to a schoolteacher; and
Pat Perkins, the MP from Whitby who claimed scientists are divided on climate change.
Many of these characters, most notably Joe Oliver, had wide-ranging transgressions that likely factored in the government’s downfall.
Regrettably, former minister Maxime Bernier was re-elected despite having cast doubt on climate change in 2010. He was not a significant player in the majority Harper government.