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Scientists call on members of parliament to pledge support for science and evidence-based decision-making

Ottawa (June 16 2015) - The science group Evidence for Democracy is launching a ‘Science Pledge’ campaign today asking Members of Parliament, candidates, organizations and citizens to pledge their support for science and evidence-based government decision-making.

The campaign launches in the wake of recent demonstrations by government scientists over increasingly restrictive communication policies, growing concerns over cuts to crucial government research and monitoring programs, and reduced funding for basic scientific research.

The Science Pledge launch will occur at a press conference at Parliament Hill today at which three MPs from across partisan lines will sign on, including: Liberal MP, Marc Garneau; NDP MP and Official Opposition Science and Technology Critic, Kennedy Stewart; and Green Party MP and Leader, Elizabeth May.

During the lead-up to the federal election Evidence for Democracy is promoting two policy priorities to improve public-interest science and evidence-based decision-making: implementing a new government-wide communications policy to ensure that government scientists can speak publicly about their research and creating a new federal science office to advise decision makers.

“Scientists are now supporting this issue publicly,” said Dr. Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy. “To my knowledge this is the first time Canadian scientists have mobilized to promote science as a federal election issue. The Pledge invites Parliamentarians and the broader community show their support for public-interest science and evidence-based decision-making.”

“The trends we’ve seen in recent years - funding cuts to science, government scientists not being able to speak about their work, and decisions that appear to play fast and loose with scientific evidence – are deeply troubling to many in the scientific community,” said Dr. Scott Findlay, Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Ottawa and Evidence for Democracy Board member. “Their concerns are, in turn, giving rise to more widespread public concerns, about the science necessary to ensure to healthy bodies, healthy minds, healthy environments and healthy economies.”

Press Conference:

June 16, 1:30pm - 2:00pm EST

Charles-Lynch Press Conference Room, Centre Block, Parliament Hill

MPs Marc Garneau, Kennedy Stewart and Elizabeth May will be signing the Pledge.

 

Media contact:                                             

Marija Curran, Communications Coordinator, Evidence for Democracy

Phone: 613-277-0186 or Email: marija@evidencefordemocracy.ca

Marija Curran

Communications and Development Coordinator

Marija Curran joined Evidence for Democracy as a Communications and Fundraising Coordinator in 2014. She comes to E4D from the Council of Canadian Academies where she worked as a Communications Coordinator to create and promote independent, evidence-based research for public policy development. Passionate about the role of media in cultivating a healthy democracy via informed public debate, her Master of Arts degree in Communications focused on media representations of Afghan children during Canada’s combative engagements in Afghanistan. She also holds a joint honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Political Science.