Bringing Evidence Back from the Dead: A History of Interference in Science in Canada
Keywords:environmental science, scientific integrity, Canadian Governance, public policy
Since the earliest accounts of the ‘muzzling‘ of Canadian federal government scientists in 2012 and the declaration of a ‘war on science‘ in 2013, the detrimental impacts of Stephen Harper‘s leadership as Canadian Prime Minister has been investigated and reported in the media and gray literature in Canada and abroad. Significant evidence spoke to the consequences of this government-led ‘war on science‘ for the environment, for public sector scientists, and for the Canadian public‘s trust in government decision-making. The current Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau has been twice elected by Canadians, in part, based on a promise to restore scientific integrity, prevent political interference, and implement environmental protections informed by the best available scientific research and evidence. Since 2015, the Prime Minister has taken steps toward the betterment of conditions for environmental scientists in the public sector and for the environment. However, the effectiveness of these have been called into question. The following research paper succinctly documents the historical ‘war on science‘ and its consequences as well as the steps taken by the current government to resurrect use of scientific research and evidence to inform law, policy, and decision-making. Recent evidence that reports on the perspectives of environmental researchers following the implementation of federal policy, were also uncertain of what effect these policies will have on Canadians and the environment in the long-term. It is vital that Canadians continue to hold their government and leaders accountable for their actions and demand that scientific integrity be upheld.
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