Apparently God was missing for six days and was found by Michael, the archangel, resting on the seventh day.
He inquired, "Where have you been?"
God smiled deeply and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look, Michael. Look what I've made."
Archangel Michael looked puzzled, and said, "What is it?"
"It's a planet," replied God, “and I've put life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a place to test balance."
"Balance?" inquired Michael. "I'm still confused."
God explained, pointing to different parts of Earth. "For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, while southern Europe is going to be poor. Over here I've placed a continent of one type of people, and over there is a continent of another type of people. Balance in all things."
God continued pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice.”
The Archangel, impressed by God's work, then pointed to a small green land area jutting into the sea between the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, and said, "What's that one?"
"That's Nova Scotia, the most beautiful place on earth. There is rolling countryside changing colour with every season, rivers and streams, lakes for fishing, forests, hills, and all around the ocean and beautiful beaches. The people from Nova Scotia are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent, and humorous, and they are going to travel the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, high achieving, carriers of peace, and producers of many good things."
Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then asked, "But what about balance, God? You said there would be balance."
God smiled, "Not very far from Nova Scotia is a place called Ottawa. Wait till you see who I put there."
So now we have more news about what Ottawa has been up to. Science and those involved in scientific research have taken another blow, with cutbacks at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. When she heard of the reductions, Halifax MP Megan Leslie said the federal government was using belt-tightening as an excuse for an ideological attack on scientific oversight.
Scientists have been muzzled, laid off, ridiculed and reassigned by this government of ours. The National Research Council has been refocused to concentrate on business. Scientists who could raise the alarm when the oceans, the environment or even public health are threatened are being removed.
We have known for some time that Republicans in the US do not like science, as it interferes with their certainty that evolution does not best describe how the world came about. Scientific research could also interfere with oil production, which can pollute the environment and therefore requires monitoring. But a Canadian political party thinking the same thing? The mind boggles. I wrote a thesis once on Robert Stanfield, and I have to wonder what he would say.
The Bedford Institute had been labelled by the government of Canada as Canada’s largest centre for ocean research. The Institute was set up to study our oceans from the viewpoints of environmental protection, maintaining our sovereignty, looking after our fisheries and protecting us from other countries. It has done an admirable job of studying and explaining how the oceans work. Now that capacity has been curtailed.
The latest little bit of news is that Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in small Nova Scotia towns are being closed, in order – now listen carefully – to provide better fisheries conservation and protection. Further, the only centre supporting the endangered Atlantic Whitefish, the Mersey Biodiversity Centre in Milton, is to be closed by 2014.
Forgive us for thinking that it is payback time for the Maritimes, which have not been overly enthusiastic about the Conservatives, though Progressive Conservatives, historically, found a lot of support here.
- Tom Sheppard can be reached at email@example.com