Kenny vs China:  The first casualty is academic research

In a move which reveals the clownish willingness of the Kenney government to subordinate policy to ideology, the provincial government has sent letters to the four major universities in Alberta demanding a witch hunt against research that involves cooperation with China.

Typically, this move is both a ridiculous maneuver to contribute to the fact-free and dangerous Cold War propaganda against China and a display of the government’s hostility to science and research. It is entirely in line with their previous deep cuts to funding for secondary education which undermines all science and research in Alberta as well as reducing the prospects of Alberta’s students.

Truly cutting-edge research is more and more a global endeavour. Students come from and study in institutions all over the world, many researchers pursue careers outside their native countries and innumerable research projects large and small are international collaborations.    Scientists who are limited in collaborating internationally are likely to be prevented from making their best contributions to knowledge and technology.

Researchers who have to look over their shoulders at Big Brother and arrange their collaborations according to ideological edicts from government will produce stunted and biased results. This is presumably just what the Alberta government wants to happen to researchers at Chinese institutions, but in the overall global trend of increased development in China and more austerity in capitalist countries, it is more likely to hamper Alberta researchers instead.

“I am deeply concerned about the potential theft of Canadian intellectual property and further concerned that research partnerships with the People’s Republic of China may be used by Chinese military and intelligence agencies,” said Alberta’s Advanced Education Minister Demtrios Nicolaides.

This is a ludicrous and trumped-up concern. Canada has been involved directly and indirectly in unjustified invasions of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya – raining death and destruction on civilian populations and destroying civil society – and is currently embroiled in NATO’s aggressive expansion towards Russia and China, selling arms to Saudi Arabia, cheering on a Nazi resurgence in Ukraine and attempting to overthrow democracy in Venezuela. China’s military excursions on the other hand have been limited to participating in a truly global campaign alongside the US, Russia, Japan, European and African countries in campaigns against Somali pirates, collaborating with 23 African countries and France against ISIL and other Islamic terrorist in northern Mali as well as assisting the government of Syria against terrorists and sailing – but not shooting – in disputed areas of the South China Seas.

If the Alberta government is genuinely concerned about the misuse of research and technology for military purposes, it would be scrutinizing Canadian complicity in US military and intelligence agencies and would be raising a voice in criticism of the increased militarization of Canadian foreign policy.

Instead, it is willing to throw Alberta scientists and engineering researchers under the bus to promote fear mongering and war mongering against a country that has never remotely threatened Canada.

Communist Party – Alberta

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