One of the big changes is supposed to be increased transparency of government, more openness with the press, and a promise to base decisions on evidence and science. In other words, truth is supposed to be the new buzzword on Parliament Hill. Trudeau's new cabinet even has a Minister of Science, unlike previous cabinets.
I watched the swearing in ceremony on Wednesday to see who would be in charge of science. It's Kirsty Duncan the MP from Etobicoke North. I didn't recognize the name even though I had criticized her interference with CIHR back in 20131 [Kirsty Duncan MP Objects to "Bias" in the Working Group on CIHR Funding of a Clinical Trial on "Liberation Therapy"].
I was a bit surprised to learn that she was a Nobel Prize winner (see screenshot). She is not a Nobel Prize winner and she is not a Nobel Laureate as claimed on her Facebook page a few years ago [Kirsty Duncan Withdraws False Nobel Claim]. She contributed to some work by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007. Here's a summary of her contribution according to the Fake Nobel Laureates Hall of Shame website [Kirsty Duncan: Canada’s Fake Nobel Laureate Member of Parliament].
Given all of the above, one is left wondering what Duncan’s contribution to the IPCC actually is. It turns out she was one of hundreds of people who worked on a 517-page report titled The Regional Impacts of Climate Change: An Assessment of Vulnerability. Published in 1997, this wasn’t one of the IPCC’s opus climate assessments, but a smaller publication.Given that Kirsty Duncan retracted her previous claims of being a Nobel Prize winner back in 2013, why was she identified as a Nobel Prize winner on the CBC broadcast last Wednesday?
The Canadian contingent for that report included 22 individuals. Another 22 contributors came from New Zealand and 63 more came from Australia. The US sent 102 people, Cuba seven, Kenya six, Zimbabwe five and so on. You can see the full list here.
Duncan was one of 39 who helped write Chapter 8, which discusses how climate change might affect North America. The report had 11 chapters overall.
That is the basis on which people all over the world have claimed that Duncan is a Nobel Prize winner. A 1/39th contribution. To one chapter out of 11. Of a not-very-important IPCC report.
The press was given advance (embargoed) notice of the new cabinet ministers along with their biographies so they would be prepared for the announcement at the swearing in ceremony. Presumably, the biography for Kirsty Duncan said something about her having won a Nobel Prize and that's why it appeared on the CBC banner during her swearing in.
There are two problems here. The first one is whether the Liberal government was being truthful when it supplied information to the press about Kirsty Duncan. The second is whether we should appoint someone to be Minister of Science if she lies about winning a Nobel Prize.
This is very disappointing. I was really hoping that Justin Trudeau would "get" what it means to be a scientist and what it means to be scientific.
Note: Kirsty Duncan is identified as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto on several websites. I couldn't find her on the University of Toronto website or the University of Toronto, Scarborough (UTSC) website. Does anyone know where she teaches? Currently, on the official government website (The Honourable Kirsty Duncan), she's listed as a former Associate Professor of Health Studies at the University of Toronto. There's nothing about being an Adjunct Professor and there's no mention of Nobel Prizes on that website.
1. As my old thesis supervisor says, when you get older you learn lots and lots of new things every day so you occasionally have to delete some irrelevant bits of information from your brain's storage facility in order to make space for more important stuff. This is why aging baby boomers invented the computer hard drive and the internet.