Re: “Academic named religious-freedom officer,” Feb. 20.
Nothing demonstrates the warped priorities of the Harper Conservatives more clearly than this week’s establishment of an Office of Religious Freedom at an initial cost of $5 million.
This announcement follows the closure of two major research centres: the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area in northern Ontario, which studied the effects of pollution on freshwater lakes; and the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory in the high Arctic, which monitored ozone depletion, air quality and climate change. These two facilities together cost less to operate per year than the amount now allocated to the Office of Religious Freedom.
And incredibly, Ottawa is going to spend $50 million to decommission the Experimental Lakes project, enough to keep it operating for many years to come.
When government gives religion funding priority over vital scientific research, we are indeed returning to the dark ages.