Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Stand Up for Science rallies target federal government

Stand Up for Science rallies target federal government: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/stand-up-for-science-rallies-target-federal-government-1.1855977 "Canadian scientists and their supporters held demonstrations across the country Monday, calling on the federal government to stop cutting scientific research and muzzling scientists.
“Stand Up for Science” events were held in 17 cities by the non-profit science advocacy group Evidence for Democracy.
“Scientists would rather be doing research than rallying, but many of us are concerned about the health of public science, and feel that Canadians should understand these concerns,” said Scott Findlay, a co-founder of Evidence of Democracy and a professor of biology at the University of Ottawa, in a statement.
“The Canadian standard of living is, in large measure, a result of scientific discovery and technological innovation. So every Canadian has a vested interest in the health of public science, and the use of scientific evidence to protect and sustain the values we hold.”
The group says “it’s time to stand up for science in the public interest” because in recent years:
■“Many important” scientific institutions have received cuts.
■There has been a shift in science funding toward the commercialization of research at the expense of more fundamental research.
■Government scientists have lost their ability to communicate their research to the public. That complaint is currently being investigated by the federal information commissioner.
The nationwide event, which follows a gathering on Parliament Hill last year to “mourn the death of evidence” called for the federal government to:
■Fund all scientific research, from basic to applied.
■Use the best available science and evidence to make decisions.
■Support the open communication of publicly funded science to the public, “unless there are demonstrably good reasons for not doing so.”
Justin Singer, a master’s student at Dalhousie University who helped organize the Halifax rally, said people should be concerned about this issue because it affects how policy decisions are made in areas such as health and the environment. He cited bill C-38, the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act, sponsored by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, passed on June 18, 2012, which Singer described as weakening environmental law and the fisheries regulations."

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