Conservative ideology is rife with attacks on Science and Data

It’s important to understand why Conservatives have succumbed to Tribalism, Fake News, and are often anti-science, anti-data, anti-elites (i.e. experts), and anti-evidence-based-decision-making. Their ideology in Canada today is steeped in the history of Stephen Harper’s influence on the Party and his belief in American Republicanism. The effects of Harper’s Social Conservatism (more on his religious background as an Evangelical to come) had an enormous effect on how he governed Canada.

To understand where Conservatives are heading today, it’s important to understand their past and it started with Harper’s War on Science, his War on our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and his War on Democracy and our democratic institutions.

These are past examples of what Stephen Harper did to Canada’s institutions and our politics. They are a stark reminder that following today’s Conservatives would be putting Democracy, Innovation, Economic Development, and public Institutions at risk once again.

Harper’s War on Science

“So Harper’s War on Science has some obvious goals, including getting rid of all federally-funded science that would impede water export, as well as any science standing in the way of aquaculture, tar sands and offshore oil development, and natural gas export. As Maude Barlow and renowned freshwater scientist David Schindler wrote in the Star Phoenix (March 15, 2013), “The Harper government is systematically dismantling almost every law, regulation, program or research facility aimed at protecting freshwater in Canada and around the world.” Harper even killed the Global Environmental Monitoring System, an inexpensive project that monitored 3,000 freshwater sites around the world for a UN database.


Vanishing Canada: Why we’re all losers in Ottawa’s war on data.

Records deleted, burned, tossed in Dumpsters. A Maclean’s investigation on the crisis in government data

When science goes silent. With the muzzling of scientists, Harper’s obsession with controlling the message verges on the Orwellian

“Ottawa’s obsession with controlling the message has become so all-encompassing that it now threatens both the health of Canada’s democracy and the country’s reputation abroad.”

That time they tried to do a study but gave up for lack of data

“As long as the country lacks good data on poverty, and its associated inequities in health, education and well-being, we’re prevented from saying with certainty whose lives are difficult, and where, and most in need of aid.

Public service union helped save library’s documents from the dumpster

““The Harper government continues to target government science at every turn,” Debi Daviau, president of the PIPSC said in a release. “It is time Canadians understood the cumulative loss to federal science, in particular – of a government whose priorities are clearly out of step with both public scientists and the public interest.””

MPs vow end to Conservatives’ war on science

“Federal MPs from three opposition parties signed a pledge in support of science-driven policies after recent protests by federal scientists against the Harper government’s cuts to departments and its muzzling of research.


FIFTH ESTATE: “Scientists across the country are expressing growing alarm that federal cutbacks to research programs monitoring areas that range from climate change and ocean habitats to public health will deprive Canadians of crucial information.”

““What’s important is the scale of the assault on knowledge, and on our ability to know about ourselves and to advance our understanding of our world,” said James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

In the past five years the federal government has dismissed more than 2,000 scientists, and hundreds of programs and world-renowned research facilities have lost their funding. Programs that monitored things such as smoke stack emissions, food inspections, oil spills, water quality and climate change have been drastically cut or shut down.”

Legacy of a tyrant: Harper’s ‘war on science’ and the strategic dismemberment of Canada’s environmental legislation

“From the start, the Harper Government began taking steps to gradually break down this relationship – “like a hundred vicious scalpels” (Turner, 2013) – not only as it related to science, but also to research in general.”

Harper’s attack on science: No science, no evidence, no truth, no democracy

Science—and the culture of evidence and inquiry it supports—has a long relationship with democracy. Widely available facts have long served as a check on political power. Attacks on science, and on the ability of scientists to communicate freely, are ultimately attacks on democratic governance.

“A leaked internal Environment Canada document revealed the new policy had reduced the department’s engagement with media on climate change by 80 per cent. That same document also revealed Environment Canada employees felt the intended design of the new procedure was to silence climate scientists.”

Canada shows a “disturbing” decline in innovation and R&D

“The poor results read as a condemnation of Canada’s lack of policy and leadership in science and technology matters over the past decade.”


How the Harper Government Committed a Knowledge Massacre

Scientists are calling it “libricide.” Seven of the nine world-famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans [DFO] libraries were closed by autumn 2013, ostensibly to digitize the materials and reduce costs. But sources told the independent Tyee in December that a fraction of the 600,000-volume collection had been digitized. Irreplaceable documents like the 50 volumes produced by the H.M.S. Challenger expedition of the late 1800s that discovered thousands of new sea creatures, are now moldering in landfills.

Senate expense scandal left no paper trail, really?

Greg Weston says access to information law isn’t accessing very much these days

101 scandalous, unethical or just plain sad Harper government moments

“It’s been a long decade of scandal, ethical lapses and just plain sad behaviour from the Harper government. How many of these moments do you remember?”

1. The cover-up of Mike Duffy’s Senate expenses.
2. Mike Duffy’s Senate expenses
3. Robocalls.
4. In and out scandal.
5. Proroguing Parliament. And then Proroguing Parliament again.
6. Harper’s ethics point man Dean Del Mastro convicted of election fraud:
7. Man Harper tapped to head of Canada’s spy watchdog wanted in connection to billion dollar corruption scandal.
8. Bruce Carson, accused peddler of influence. 
9. Picking and choosing refugees based on their religion.
10. Stripping health care from refugees. 
11. The Harper government’s treatment of Canada’s veterans:
12. Attacking public servants, watchdogs and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
13. Tony Clement’s gazebo.
14. Peter MacKay’s taxpayer-funded helicopter ride.
15. Bev Oda’s $16 glass of orange juice.
16. Pamela Wallin’s Senate expenses.
17. Patrick Brazeau’s Senate expenses.
18. Companies making illegal donations to Conservative candidates.
19. John Baird, Tony Clement and Laurie Hawn’s gold-embossed business cards.
20. Literally everything about Paul Calandra, in general. And we mean everything:
21. Being ruled in contempt of Parliament.
22. Refusing to share information about budget cuts with Parliament’s independent budget watchdog.
23. Refusing to share information about missing tax revenues with Parliament’s independent budget watchdog.
24. Pressuring the RCMP to destroy long-gun registry data.
25. Passing a bill giving itself the power to cover-up its own crimes because it pressured the RCMP to destroy long-gun registry data.
26. Leona Aglukkaq reads a newspaper and ignores questions about people in her riding looking for food in a garbage dump:
27. Labelling environmentalists “radicals.”
28. CRA hunting down charities while millionaires were dodging taxes in the Cayman Islands.
29. Harper government partners with firm under investigation by CRA for offshore tax scheme.
30. Staging fake citizenship ceremonies.
31. Obstructing Access to Information
32. Muzzling public servants
33. Muzzling scientists.
34. Muzzling Conservative staffers from testifying in front of committees.
35. Ramming omnibus bills through Parliament.
35. Remind us how many Conservative laws were ruled unconstitutional again?
36. Making up fake instances of voter fraud to justify a bad bill.
37. Denying ex-pats the right to vote.
38. Forcing public servants to swear a “loyalty oath.”
39. Falsely stating that Statistics Canada was in favour of eliminating the long form census.
40. Bernard Valcourt refuses to stand up for missing and murdered indigenous women – literally:
41. Record use of public funds for partisan advertisements
42. Conservative Senators moonlighting as Conservative fundraisers.
43. Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford billed taxpayers to ring the Toronto Stock Exchange bell then go to a fundraiser with high rollers in Rosedale.
44. John Williamson bills taxpayers for trip to anti-tax conference.
45. Conservative website promoted Harper using taxpayer-funded “24/7” videos.
46. Pierre Poilievre wears partisan golf shirt to taxpayer-funded announcement:
47. Pierre Poilievre makes taxpayer-funded announcement with several Conservative candidates.
48. Pierre Poilievre uses bureaucrats and taxpayer-funded resources to make partisan promotional videos. 
49. Taxpayers may have funded Western Diversification Minister Michelle Rempel’s trip to a Conservative wine tasting event.
50. Deputy speaker bills taxpayers for hyper-partisan mail-outs.
51. Conservative candidate Tim Laidler repeatedly photobombs taxpayer-funded events.
52. Stephen Harper’s make-up costs allegedly paid for out of Mike Duffy’s Senate slush fund.
53. Peter MacKay appointing his friends, wedding guests and donors as judges.
54. Public works Minister Diane Finley violated conflict-of-interest rules in a million dollar funding to a community centre.
55. Former Conservative MP Helena Guergis broke conflict-of-interest rules by using her position to boost the business interests of her husband, ex-Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer.
56. Industry Minister Christian Paradis breaking conflict-of-interest rules boosting Jaffer’s business interests too.
57. Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu breaking conflict-of-interest rules.
58. Parm Gill maybe breaking conflict-of-interest rules.
59. Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty breaking conflict-of-interest rules.
60. Former Conservative turned Liberal Eve Adams breaking conflict-of-interest rules appealing to the CRTC.
61. And Colin Carrie also breaking conflict-of-interest rules by pestering the CRTC too.
62. $1 billion in pork barrel projects on the eve of the 2015 election.
63. Rebranding the Government of Canada “The Harper Government.”
64. Putting Conservative Party logos on government cheques.
65. Exploiting a loophole to borrow billions without Parliament’s permission. 
66. Dismantling research libraries.
67. Misusing official residences abroad.
68. Stonewalling a probe into the alleged abuse of Afghan detainees.
69. Barring Opposition MPs from attending international conferences.
70. Sharing terrorist propaganda over Facebook, maybe violating C-51 in the process.
71. The weird way the RCMP was spying on environmental groups.
72. CRA auditing government critics while right-wing groups appear to dodge rules for reporting political activities.
73. CRA targeting “end-of-life” groups  but doing nothing about the political activities of “pro-life” groups.
74. Denying ex-pats the right to vote.
75. Claiming opponents of an internet surveillance bill were “standing with child pornographers.”
76. Attacking the head of Elections Canada. 
77. Silencing the respected organization Rights and Democracy.
78. Violating their own fixed election dates law.
79. Former cabinet minister Jay Hill broke conflict-of-interest rules helping “facilitate access” for his wife and her employer.
80. Rewriting the official citizenship guide in the Conservative image.
81. Eliminating the Canadian Wheat Board.
82. Proposing to create a “barbaric cultural practices” hotline.
83. Conservative MP Rick Dykstra allegedly buying alcohol for underaged girls and bribing them with VIP service to claim it never happened (despite screen grabs that suggest otherwise, Dyksta says the allegations are false).
84. Saying Aboriginal women go missing or are murdered because they don’t have a job.
85. Cutting foreign aid funding for abortion, even in cases of rape.
86. Running nearly a hundred candidates endorsed for their opposition to women’s reproductive rights.
87. Spending $2.5 million promoting program that does not exist.
88. Naming an Enbridge lobbyist to oversee CSIS.
89. Launching audits on environmental groups based on a complaint by an astroturf group run by Ezra Levant.
90. Joe Oliver blowing half a billion dollars to create only 800 jobs at $687,500 per job.
91. James Moore saying it’s not his responsibility to feed his neighbour’s child right before Christmas.
92. Corporate Canada’s money in tax havens exploding to nearly $200 billion under Harper.
93. Peter MacKay saying the homeless should pawn their belongings to pay for court fines.
94. Peter MacKay sending female Justice Department staff patronizing Mother’s Day e-mails.
95. Making 98 patronage appointments in June 2015 alone.
96. Negotiating a massive trade deal in secret and not releasing the details until after the election.
97. Conservative campaign teams caught on video tearing down election signs.
98. Conservative MP using “air quotes” to dismiss “rule of law” during C-51 committee hearings.
99. Appointing losing Conservative candidates to the Senate.
100. Insulting the intelligence of Canadians over what’s really in Bill C-51.
101. Conservative candidate urinating in a cup.accountabilityethicsHarper governmentStephen HarperWhat the fact?

Harper, Serial Abuser of Power: The Evidence Compiled.

This list is now also available as a tablet-friendly PDF


  • PMO Tied to Senate Hush Money Scandal
  • Harper Found in Contempt of Parliament
  • Against Court Order, Refusal to Share Budget Info
  • Conservative Cabinet Staffers Granted Immunity from Testimony
  • Conservatives Falsify Reports and Documents
  • Repeated Duplicity in Afghan Detainees Controversy
  • Repeated Duplicity on Costing of F-35 Fighter Jets
  • Harper Minister Lies, Blames Statistics Canada for Killing Long Form Census
  • Conservative MP Admits He Lied to Parliament
  • Conservative House Leader Admits to Mockery of Question Period
  • Harper Maligns the Supreme Court Chief Justice
  • Conservatives Engage in Abuse of Process with Omnibus Bills
  • Harperites Deliberately Sabotage, Stymie Committee System
  • Harper’s Own MPs Protest Muzzling
  • Conservative Bill Rewrites History to Protect Mounties from Potential Criminal Charges
  • Harper Minister Caught in Advertising Scam with Public Funds
  • Corrupt Conservative Cronies
  • Access to Information System Impeded
  • The Silencing of the Public Service
  • Loyalty Oaths Imposed on Public Servants
  • Harper Government Sued by Justice Department Whistleblower
  • Conservatives Block Accreditation for Opposition MPs
  • Tactic Borrowed from North Korea’s Dear Leader
  • Clampdown on Freedom of Speech of Diplomatic Corps
  • Aquatic Science Libraries Decimated
  • UN Blasts Canada’s Treatment of Immigrants
  • Harper Government Denies Khadr Basic Rights
  • Illegitimate Prorogation of Parliament, Twice
  • Undue Interference with Independent Agencies
  • Billions Borrowed without Parliament’s Permission
  • Lapdogs Appointed as Watchdogs


Since his first day as PM, Stephen Harper has reinforced his party’s ‘brand’ by rewarding cronies, slapping the Conservative logo on government cheques, perfecting the no questions photo-op, instructing bureaucrats to start calling Canada’s government “the Harper Government.” The flip side has been relentless monitoring, muzzling and attacks on anyone who might tarnish the image.

  • PMO Attempts to Cover up Video Leak Putting Troops at Risk
  • The ‘Harper Government’ Labelling Deception
  • Conservatives Place Party Logos on Government of Canada Cheques
  • Record Amounts of Partisan Political Advertising, on the Public Purse
  • Conservatives Stack Their Own Ridings with Infrastructure Funds
  • $50 Million Spending Deception as Documented by the Auditor General
  • Patronage Run Amok
  • Undermining Statistics Canada, Killing Data
  • Government Muzzles Science Community
  • Like Never Before, Limits Placed on Media Access
  • Harper’s Team Tries to Ban Journalist for Asking Question
  • Harper Minister Sucker Punches CBC Budget
  • Suppression of Research
  • The Vic Toews Porno Smear
  • Harper’s Fallen Soldiers Blackout
  • Protesters Put under Blanket Surveillance
  • Rights and Democracy, Other Groups, Dismantled
  • Harper Government Spied on Aboriginal Critic, ‘Retaliated’
  • Revenue Canada Loosed to Attack Charities
  • Conservatives Use Unheard of Tactic to Force through Anti-Union Bill
  • Harper Smears Liberal Sikh MP, Insinuating Tie to Terrorism
  • Veterans’ Advocates Smeared


Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have made federal elections a gladiators’ arena where anything goes — unless and until you are caught, that is. Here are 17 times his team violated election laws or ethics.

  • Conservatives Run Undercover Sting Operations
  • Conservative Convicted on Robocalls Scam
  • Harper’s Ex-Parliamentary Secretary Jailed for Breaking Election Law
  • ‘Reprehensible’ Dirty Tricks Campaign against Irwin Cotler
  • Conservatives Bar Crosbie Candidacy
  • Election Violations Prompt Resignation of Cabinet Member
  • Conservatives Attempt Election Campaign Frame-up
  • Harper’s Office Deploys Interns for Dirty Tricks
  • Citizens Ejected from Conservative Rallies
  • Conservatives Make Campaign Event Attendees Sign Gag Order
  • Conservatives Unfix Their Own Fixed Date Election Law
  • Guilty Plea on In and Out Affair
  • Cons’ Elections Bill Strips Power from Elections Canada
  • Harper Minister Smears Head of Elections Canada
  • Copyright Grab for Attack Ad
  • Conservatives Use Terrorists’ Propaganda in Attack Ad
  • Record Use of Personal Attack Ads