'Science is not political,' says Ontario's 1st chief scientist after being fired by Doug Ford
Ford's spokesperson says government will look for 'suitable' replacement
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.
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