Evidence, not ideology, should inform policy
The federal government should re-invest in its own research programs like the Census, and create a Parliamentary Science Officer to provide unbiased advice on Canada’s scientific policies, priorities, and funding.
Too often, research investments have been made to meet political, not scientific, goals. For instance, the most recent S&T announcements introducing Advance Manufacturing as a priority research area is clearly designed to meet the current federal government’s political objectives in Southern Ontario in this election year.
The government has also cut scientific staff and programs, including the long-form Census, mainly for ideological reasons. Canadians face major challenges that require sound scientific solutions including those related to climate change, energy demand, public health, and drug safety.
Government departments and agencies, such as Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Statistics Canada and the National Research Council (NRC) have a vital role to play in confronting these challenges, but can only do so when they are adequately funded and free to pursue their work.
What we want:
- The federal government should reinstate the mandatory long-form census;
- The federal government should reinvest in its own research programs to provide the public with reliable and independent scientific knowledge and advice.
- The federal government should create a Parliamentary Science Officer (PSO), an independent officer of the Library of Parliament who would report to the Senate and the House of Commons. The PSO would provide independent advice and analysis to Parliament about the adequacy and effectiveness of the nation’s scientific policies, priorities, and funding.
McMaster University Economics Professor Martin Dooley on the devastating cuts at Statistics Canada: