Scientists don't want to be muzzled by federal government
National event hopes to bring science issues to the forefront of federal election campaign
A national campaign called "Get Science Right" is speaking out against what it calls the Canadian government's muzzling of scientists.
The University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association (USFA) held two discussions in Saskatoon on Sept. 29 and Oct. 2.
"If the public is paying, then it is in the public interest to know what the results of that work is, what the data tells us and to induce a debate. If you curtail the flow of data, then where do you get a debate?" said USFA Chair Larry Stewart, who said many scientists working for the federal government aren't allowed to speak publicly about what their research reveals.
"Are we going to continue this way, which in my view is entirely anti-democratic, or are we going to insist that the public has a right to the information that they paid for?"
Even though Stewart said muzzling of scientists has increased in recent years, the campaign is not endorsing any party or politician. It wants a discussion to occur regarding the party's positions on research and funding, so voters can be informed before making a choice.
The campaign also states that funding and facilities for science have been cut by the federal government, which has a negative impact on research and potentially jeopardizes the health and safety of Canadians.
"Over the last decade, the public has lost access to key data and research findings, Canadian investment in research and development has lagged behind other countries, and ideology instead of evidence is driving policy," said Robin Vose, president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, which is spearheading the national campaign.