Colby Cosh drops the hammer:
McIlroy asked Goodyear whether he believes in evolution and he spluttered, “I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.” Well and good, Minister, but you weren’t asked about your religion. His panicked answer left listeners with the strong impression that Goodyear must, in fact, hew to some metaphysical belief system that is inherently inconsistent with Darwinian evolution. Late today he tried to clarify matters, giving a garbled explanation that he does indeed believe in some form of “evolution” (though his reference to “running shoes or high heels” leaves confusion over whether he is talking about the biological kind at all). In trying to justify himself, he essentially confirmed that McIlroy’s original inquiry was a fair one.
Since his position involves promoting Canadian science to the world, promoting science as a career to Canada’s young, and making political decisions about funding for biological and medical research, it cannot be an outrage for anyone to inquire into his scientific beliefs. As a Minister, he exists to serve and nurture a clientele of scientists. …
Goodyear need not be challenged on his religious beliefs, but there is nothing wrong with interrogating him about his scientific ones. And insofar as his religious beliefs may impinge on his scientific opinions, they obviously become fair game for discussion. (His past career as a chiropractor — i.e., a practitioner and vendor of pseudoscience — seems even more relevant; it is almost certainly a tacit reason for the wariness with which the Minister is regarded by scientific professionals.) Why wouldn’t we prefer to have a Science Minister who accepts a major part of the accepted life-science framework? Aren’t we entitled to at least know whether he does?
On Tuesday, Liberal science critic Marc Garneau said that believing in evolution is not a job requirement for the science minister.
“It is a personal matter. It is a matter of faith.… I don’t think it prevents someone from being a good minister,” said the former astronaut, who has been a vocal critic of the government for its cuts to the three granting councils that fund university-based research in Canada.
If nothing else, now we know how much influence this guy still has within the Natural Governing Party(TM).