For a second time, a coalition of Canadian science organizations has launched a national #VoteScience campaign to send the message to political candidates and their parties that Canadians care about science. Originally launched in the 2019 federal election, #VoteScience is non-partisan and bilingual, and helps Canadians engage with their local candidates to support science and evidence-informed decision-making in Ottawa.
#VoteScience is back: science coalition (re)-launches national campaign this federal election
“Science doesn’t usually register on the political agenda, but the pandemic has put science in a unique spotlight. Canadians know more than they did 18 months ago about critical aspects of science, like epidemiology and vaccines,” said Rachael Maxwell, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy. “Science has brought us solutions at a remarkable pace throughout the public health crisis, which is the kind of problem-solving we should be demanding more of from our government in tackling everything from economic recovery to climate action.”
Co-founder of Elect STEM, Monika Stolar (PhD) remarked that “while science and scientific data are inherently non-partisan, we need science discussions to be cross-partisan by encouraging more scientists to get involved in politics. Having scientific experts at the decision-making table can help steer discussions towards effective actions and policies that can better the lives of Canadians.”
The #VoteScience campaign provides a single portal for Canadian voters to use in the lead up to the federal election and offers a variety of options for engaging candidates. The portal includes a toolkit on how to engage with candidates through meetings or events, science-relevant questions to pose to candidates, social media tools, and forms for tracking interactions with candidates and identifying science champions.
As part of the 2019 campaign, Canadians sent more than 600 emails to candidates to ask where they stood on science. Importantly, support for #VoteScience didn’t only come from scientists. A Reverend in British Columbia shared the campaign with members of his congregation, encouraging them to engage their local candidates on matters of science. (More examples of #VoteScience in action can be found here.)
“Historically, science has provided many solutions to our collective problems, which reaches well beyond the current pandemic predicament,” said Saishree Badrinarayanan and Anh-Khoi Trinh, co-Presidents of the Science and Policy Exchange and PhD candidates at McGill University. “So while the role of science has never been more evident, we have to make sure this carries forward to all our challenges. This means ensuring that the government is using science in its decisions and making the right investments in the scientific community.”
Canadians who value science are encouraged to use this portal to connect with candidates and to implore them to build trust in democratic institutions through sound science and evidence in government decisions.
The Vote Science campaign is co-organized by Evidence for Democracy, Toronto Science Policy Network, Science & Policy Exchange, Elect STEM, Science Policy in Health Environment Research and Ethics, and the Ottawa Science Policy Network. Learn more at https://www.votescience.ca/
Main Media Contact:
Executive Director, Evidence for Democracy
Monika Stolar, PhD
Co-Founder, Elect STEM
Saishree Badrinarayanan and Anh-Khoi Trinh
President, Science & Policy Exchange
Rachael Maxwell joins Evidence for Democracy with a deep knowledge of the science landscape in Canada and a strong track record of success working at national not-for-profit research organizations. From 2018-21 she held progressively responsible roles at Genome Canada, working across the organization on key priorities in communications, public affairs and strategic planning. Previously, Rachael worked at Mitacs on the Canadian Science Policy Fellowship where she managed the design and delivery of the program from its inception through its first three cohorts. Rachael is also a member of the Board of the Directors at the Science and Policy Exchange. Rachael is passionate about working at the intersection of science, society and policy. She speaks to diverse audiences at home and abroad about the need to improve the mechanisms that connect science and policy. Rachael also brings years of experience working in arts management and an academic background in cultural studies.