A coalition of Canadian science groups led by Evidence for Democracy (E4D), the student-run Toronto Science Policy Network, and Montreal’s Science & Policy Exchange will be pressing federal election candidates to support policy decisions that reflect scientific evidence, better explanations for those decisions, and new funding for scientific research.
The Vote Science campaign “includes a toolkit to help Canadians engage with candidates directly, and questionnaires will be sent to political parties to identify their positions on the importance of science,” National Observer reported last week. “Supporters can also sign on to voice their support for science and make use of social media engagement tools. Also included are support for writing op-eds and forms for tracking interactions with candidates and identifying champions for science.”
“We want science to be talked about,” said E4D Executive Director Katie Gibbs. “It’s such an important issue, it’s not something that usually gets talked about a lot during election campaigns, and yet it underpins most of the issues we do talk about,” from environment to health care to the economy.
“One of the things we’re looking for is that parties commit to continuing to implement the new scientific integrity policies that the current government put in to make sure that government scientists can openly speak to the public,” Gibbs added. She cited the climate crisis as “a perfect example of the kind of policy issue where science must be at the forefront.” University of Toronto molecular biology student Farah Qaiser told Observer the campaign won’t be issuing endorsements. “We won’t be calling out a particular party or candidate, but we’re hoping that by giving Canadians the tools to engage with their candidates, we can help advocate for science,” she said.