Written by Denise Deby.
Evidence for Democracy is a non-profit organization that advocates for the use of evidence in government decision-making. It was created by Canadian scientists and science communicators concerned about federal cuts to science and limits on communication of publicly-funded research.
Evidence for Democracy is holding Stand Up for Science rallies across Canada on Monday, September 16, 2013, including one in Ottawa on Parliament Hill from noon to 1:00 p.m.
The rally is a response to the government’s cuts to public institutions, its restrictions on communication of publicly-funded scientific research and the priority it’s given to applied research and technology over basic research. Here are just a few examples of what the federal government has done in recent years:
- Closed environmental and health programs (like pollution monitoring) and laid off scientists and staff at Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture Canada, Health Canada, Parks Canada, the Canadian Space Agency and other departments;
- De-funded the Experimental Lakes Area aquatic research centre, closed the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and eliminated other research institutes and programs, as well as several science libraries;
- Weakened the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and other legislation;
- Many more examples are at http://scienceblogs.com/confessions/2013/05/20/the-canadian-war-on-science-a-long-unexaggerated-devastating-chronological-indictment/.
Here’s why that’s a problem, according to Evidence for Democracy:
Science matters to Canadians. Good science, when coupled with good decision-making, keeps our water and air clean, keeps us healthy, keeps our food safe and prepares Canada for the future. Science in the public interest is crucial for our well-being and long-term prosperity.”