Subseries 1 - Science Council of Canada: Conserver Society

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UTA 1287-11-1


Science Council of Canada: Conserver Society


  • 1967-1991 [predominant 1976-1978] (Creation)

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0.82 m of textual records
1 oversized folder

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Subseries consists of records relating to Dr. Franklin’s activities as a member of the Science Council of Canada (SCC), especially her service as chair of the committee eventually responsible for SCC’s Report Number 27: Canada as a Conserver Society.

According to Dr. Franklin, what makes these records particularly significant is their documentation of an attempt by the committee to develop an energy future for Canada by two people of very different philosophical approaches. The committee asked Amery Lovins to develop one such scenario and asked Dr. E. Stoian and others of the Science Council Staff to critique the paper by Dr. Lovins and produce an alternative scenario. Unfortunately the exercise was not as helpful as had been hoped for, largely because of the inability of those critical of Dr. Lovins to clearly state their assumptions. The discussion is documented in the material in the folder B1996-0004/027(11) (“Lovins and Stoian discussions”). It is probably the only still existing documentation of this research attempt.

Underlying the discussions is a fundamental power struggle related to the different approaches to energy policy expressed by the two committees and their respective communities. Bruneau’s committee dealt essential with the problem of possible energy shortages from the supply side: trying to develop a spectrum of energy supplies regardless of environmental or physical costs, or the energy costs of producing energy. The approach of the Conserver Society essentially dealt with modifying the demand side of the problem, noting how much waste and inappropriate usage is created by the availability of cheap energy. However, the power of the energy industry, including the nuclear establishment, weighed heavily on the self-interest of the supply solution.

Subseries also includes records of discussion around the council’s population report. These led to a minority statement by Dr. Fernand Seguin and Dr. Franklin. Dr. Seguin subsequently resigned on matters of principal from the council. The subseries also includes a file on a 1982 symposium on The Conserver Society Revisited.

Also included is the report on the Conserver Society by the Montreal based Gamma Group. Although the Council and the Group were in touch with each other, the studies proceeded somewhat side-by-side since the work of the Council was primarily policy-oriented. Yet, the public as well as the professional discussions took both documents seriously into account.

Records in this series provide significant documentation of the group and include background material, reports, correspondence, newsletters, media coverage, workshop material, discussion papers, and presentations. The series also includes general subject files on the environment.

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See also: Series 12 (Energy and nuclear issues) also documents Dr. Franklin’s work pertaining to the environment and energy policy. There is also a file of correspondence regarding the Conserver Society Report in Series 3 (Correspondence): B2015-0005/009(08)

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