On the campaign trail, the Liberals made strong promises to restore science and evidence-based decision-making in Canada. In particular, they pledged to create a Chief Science Officer – similar to the Chief Science Advisor position that was eliminated in 2008 – to provide science advice to Parliament; improve open science communication by creating a central portal where government research would be made publicly available; and reinstate the mandatory long-form census to ensure reliable data-collection and monitoring of social, health, economic, and environmental conditions.
“This win is a huge step in the right direction for science in Canada,” said Dr. Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy. “During the campaign, the Liberals showed a strong support for science and evidence-based decision-making which have both taken significant blows over the past ten years. However, substantial work is needed to ensure they deliver on the promises made to restore science and smart decision-making in Canada.”
This is the first time in Canadian history that science has made an appearance as an election issue. In addition to Liberals’ promises, both the NDP and the Green party made major policy commitments to improve science in Canada including the NDP’s promise to revisit Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy and the Green Party’s commitment to reinstate federal funding for the Experimental Lakes Area and the Marine Mammal Contaminants Program.
“We’ve reached a turning point for science in Canada,” said Dr. Scott Findlay, Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Ottawa and Evidence for Democracy board member. “Restoring science in Canada to its former state will require a collaborative effort. I hope Prime Minister Trudeau cooperates with his fellow members on both sides of the House as well as the science community to develop a strategic, bold vision for science in Canada.”