Now the hard work of restoring Canadian Science begins

On Monday 19th October, the highest number of eligible voters in Canada turned out since 1993, to hand the Liberal Party of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau, a majority government. The Green Party returned Elizabeth May to the House of Commons, while the NDP saw a huge drop in seats, and the Conservative Party of Canada became the official opposition.

Under Stephen Harper, Canadian science saw many cuts in both staff and funding, the muzzling of federal scientists, plus, the long form census, with its treasure trove of data, was cut, and Canada pulled out of the Kyoto agreement on climate change. York University's Robarts Centre, directed by Political Science professor, Gabrielle Slowey, published the latest issue of CanadaWatch magazine, edited by Professor Jody Berland, about all of these cuts, their policy implications, and also their effects on everyday lives, as well as describing actions that citizens can take. The latter include the #Right2Know campaign of the Politics of Evidence working group led by Professor Natasha Myers.

York University Steacie Librarian John Dupuis documented these cuts in a widely read blog post: The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment. During 2013's International Open Access Week (happening right now for 2015), John and his colleagues organized a Death of Evidence Rally.

During the last 4 years, many scientists and social scientists, who were dismayed at the Harper government policies have become more politically active, and they got out and campaigned for parties with clear platforms that support science, evidence-based policy and humanities and social sciences research.

I very much hope that science will be taken more seriously by Justin Trudeau's government. There is an awful lot that I and other scientists hope will be restored. Canadian Biology Professors Jeremy Kerr and Isabelle Côté  wrote an excellent op-ed about what needs to be done, in Sunday's Toronto Star.

Dawn Bazely