'Science is not political,' says Ontario's 1st chief scientist after being fired by Doug Ford

Premier Doug Ford has fired Ontario’s chief scientist — an award-winning researcher appointed to the post by the former Liberal government.

Ford's spokesperson says government will look for 'suitable' replacement

As Ontario's first chief scientist, Molly Shoichet was asked to provide science-based advice on everything from climate change to agriculture to the potential effects of technologies like artificial intelligence. (Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, U of T)

Premier Doug Ford has fired Ontario's chief scientist — an award-winning researcher appointed by the former Liberal government.

Molly Shoichet was named the province's first-ever chief scientist last November, with the goal of advancing science and innovation in Ontario.

Shoichet, a biomedical engineer, told CBC Radio's Metro Morning that her work was going well, but on Tuesday she was informed that she was being let go. You can listen to the full interview in the audio clip below.

A few months ago we spoke with Molly Shoichet, an award-winning scientist and researcher at the U of T. She'd just been appointed as the Province's first Chief Scientist by then Premier Kathleen Wynne. Now a new government with a new mandate and a new broom has sent her packing. We have her reaction and hear what she was able to do in the six months she was on the job. 8:12

She said she was "surprised and not surprised," by the news, and believes she was let go so Ford's new PC government could put its own stamp on the role, even though she says she's not a member of any political party.

"Science is not political," she said.

"It's really about trying to make the best decisions for government."

Premier silent on firing, but office looking for replacement

Ford has not commented publicly nor tweeted about the abrupt dismissal. Since being sworn-in last Friday at Queen's Park, the premier has made a number of major announcements, including formally ending the cap-and-trade program, without taking questions from reporters.

Simon Jefferies, his spokesperson, issued an email statement confirming Shoichet's firing, adding: "we will undergo a process of finding a suitable and qualified replacement."

Jefferies did not elaborate on why Shoichet wasn't suitable for the job in the government's eyes.

Shoichet's role was paid for by the former government's business growth initiative.

She was tasked with providing science-based advice on everything from climate change to agriculture to the potential effects of technologies like artificial intelligence. 

With files from Metro Morning