Sunday, August 19, 2007

On recognition

It's already been noted (if perhaps not widely enough) that the SPP discussions this week will take place in almost total secrecy. But the CP reports on part of the agenda which the Three Amigos are willing to make public - and even that gives rise to reason for serious concern, as Deceivin' Stephen is apparently eager to have Canadian regulatory decisions made based on politicized data from Bushco's FDA:
The border announcement is one of several expected at the summit. The leaders also plan to announce that they will recognize the research of each country's food and drug regime in an effort to reduce costs and avoid duplication.
Now, the plan might not be such a dangerous one if there was any reason to think that the research itself would be equally accurate from country to country. But the recent history of the country whose research figures to be "recognized" the most often says otherwise.

Remember that Bushco's track record is one of constant political interference in the operations of the Food and Drug Administration, including:
- muzzling the Surgeon General to prevent him from even speaking about "stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education or prison, mental or global health issues";
- consistently demanding that scientists alter or suppress their work for political reasons, particularly in the area of drug research; and
- ordering that an application to make "Plan B" contraceptives available over the counter be rejected before a required manufacturer's study was even complete.

And of course the FDA examples are only part of a wider pattern of political interference with scientific research in areas ranging from global warming to abortion.

Until now, the U.S.' politicized research at least wouldn't have had a direct impact in Canada (though of course the shape of public knowledge on both sides of the border has surely been altered by the U.S.' anti-scientific sense of priorities). But if Canada signs on to an agreement to recognize fudged U.S. data without question, then every bit of flawed evidence coming from the U.S. will affect Canadian citizens no less than American ones.

Needless to say, Bush himself would surely be happy to spread the influence of his political appointees as far as he can. But for Canadians who want to see regulatory decisions made based on accurate data rather than Bush's political agenda, there's no benefit at all to be had from signing on to the planned deal. And if Harper is going to the bargaining table on Canada's behalf lacking either knowledge or interest about the serious problems with the FDA under Bush, then Canadians have yet another reason to think that the Cons can't be trusted with power.

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