Dear Prime Minister,
Welcome to your new office.
My name is Katie Gibbs and I’m the Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy - a non-partisan, non-profit organization promoting public-interest science and evidence-based decision-making in Canada.
Your new government has the opportunity to re-establish Canada as a leader in science, innovation, and evidence-based decision-making.
Canadians are looking to you to rebuild our science and research capacity - especially when it comes to public-interest science, the science that keeps Canadians and our environment safe and healthy. This means hiring back scientists from Environment Canada, Health Canada, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to monitor our air quality, measure contaminants in our waterways, ensure the safety of the medicine our doctors provide, and manage our iconic wildlife species.
You have a lot of work to do in order to restore our reputation as a leader in science and technology both home and abroad. This starts with unmuzzling our government scientists and not only allowing, but encouraging them to communicate their research to the media and the public. For starters, you can create a new government-wide open communication policy for government scientists. Canadians deserve to know more about the important research that we are paying for.
The scientific community and its supporters are hopeful that you will diversify our scientific funding and invest in the kind of fundamental research that just earned Canada's Dr. Arthur McDonald a nobel prize in Physics.
We also hope that you will turn to experts to help make policy decisions that are firmly grounded in the best available evidence even, or especially when, it is politically inconvenient. This starts with restoring the mandatory long-form census and creating a new independent science advisor position to provide background evidence and research to all Parliamentarians on bills before Parliament.
Dr. Katie Gibbs
Evidence for Democracy