(Ottawa – September 21)
Scientists from St. John’s to Vancouver are organizing ‘Vote Science 101’ events, bringing local candidates on campus to talk about their views on science issues and promoting Evidence for Democracy’s Science Pledge – that has already been signed by over 2400 Canadians.
These events bring together government and academic researchers alike, equipping them with the necessary tools to make science an election issue in their communities.
“This is the first time in Canadian federal election history that we’re seeing the science community mobilized in this way”, said Dr. Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy. “This election presents an unprecedented opportunity to turn the page on years of abuse and neglect of science and evidence. Hopefully it will be a turning point for Canada to once again be a international leader for science and research.”
These events follow many years of widespread alarm from the scientific community over increasingly restrictive communication policies for government scientists, cuts to crucial government research and monitoring programs, and reduced funding for basic scientific research. Concerns about these issues have been raised in almost every major Canadian news outlet in recent weeks, with high-profile Canadians such as Margaret Atwood pledging support.
“Science underpins all the issues that are discussed during election campaigns, like security and the economy, yet we rarely deal with science and research directly”, said Arne Mooers, professor of Biodiversity at Simon Fraser University. “Science and evidence-based decision-making affects all of us – it’s something that we should all be considering when we go to vote on October 19.”