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Canadians Shocked To Learn Our Former Astronaut Governor General Believes In Science

Payette told a science conference that science matters. Uh oh.

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This is Julie Payette, former astronaut and Canada's new Governor General.

Lars Hagberg / AFP / Getty Images

Payette recently gave the keynote speech at what sounds like the world's most boring event, the Canadian Science Policy Conference. Seems like it would be pretty uncontroversial, right?

Wrong.

In her speech, Payette (who is a scientist herself) poked fun at climate change deniers, quack medical treatments, creationism, and even horoscopes.

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"Can you believe that still today in learned society, in houses of government, unfortunately, we're still debating and still questioning whether humans have a role in the Earth warming up or whether even the Earth is warming up, period?" she asked.

"That we are still debating and still questioning whether life was a divine intervention, or whether it was coming out of a natural process — let alone, lo and behold, random process."

She also lamented that many people are still willing to believe that sugar pills and willpower can cure cancer, or that people's fates are decided by the movement of planets.

Much outrage has followed Payette's comments.

After her totally arrogant and condescending speech, Julie Payette must resign.

She is "politicizing" her office, some people suggested.

Politicizing the office is bad. Her role is not to take part in debates. https://t.co/7WJovWcpF3

As the Queen's representative in Canada, the Governor General is meant to be above politics. Is acknowledging climate change inherently political? Well, uhh, apparently.

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For what it's worth, Prince Charles (who could be Payette's boss someday) has also mocked climate change deniers.

Compared to Prince Charles, Julie Payette was pretty gentle on climate change skeptics. https://t.co/Z5GF8Em2Mp

In 2014, Charles called climate change deniers "the headless chicken brigade" for doubting the "overwhelming scientific evidence."

Others said Payette's comment about evolution was the real problem.

First Julie Payette omitted God from her oath of office. Now, she’s mocking people of faith who think God played a… https://t.co/9XNX1bOjzQ

The whole thing has gotten people into a real tizzy.

I'm astonished at Julie Payette's defenders. This is self-evidently not the sort of thing a GG should be doing.

This is what passes for a controversy in Canada.

I'm fine with Julie Payette, a scientist, mocking belief in fairies. Get the fuck over it. #Rationality #GG

We are all snowflakes now.

Payette's speech. Anyone flipping out over this has forfeited their right to complain about snowflake students who… https://t.co/CRaE6zgMgq

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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