A coalition of Canadian science groups is launching a national non-partisan #VoteScience campaign to send the message that Canadians want decisions made that are supported by science and real evidence.
“Science doesn’t usually get a lot of attention during election campaigns and we think that needs to change,” said Dr. Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy. “Science and research underpin almost all of the issues Canadians care about - from the environment, to the economy, to health care - so it’s time for us to have conversations about how candidates and parties are going to ensure that science is well-funded, openly communicated, and used in decision-making.”
“Science is a key driver of innovation, provides advanced training for the next generation of professionals across all sectors, and is a political and humanistic tool that conveys values cherished by Canadians such as diversity, tolerance, and sharing,” adds Dr. Tina Gruosso, President of Science & Policy Exchange. “It thus seems natural for Canadians to care about science when they vote during the next election.”
The #VoteScience campaign provides a single portal for Canadians who care about science to engage in the lead up to the federal election. Canadian scientists and those who value science can use this portal to connect directly with candidates and to send the message that we want candidates to build trust in our institutions and strengthen government integrity by putting science at the forefront of their decision-making.
“The Canadian research community has come together in unprecedented ways to advocate for research funding over the past few years, and as a result, we saw increased funding for science in the 2018 and 2019 federal budgets,” said Farah Qaiser, a graduate student at the University of Toronto, and president of the student-run Toronto Science Policy Network. “This shows that coordinated science advocacy works - we’re excited to continue this momentum through the #VoteScience campaign, so that we can ensure that science is at the forefront during the election campaign.”
The campaign provides users with the opportunity to sign on to voice their support for science and share personal stories about why they will #VoteScience. The portal also contains tools for those wishing to take on an active role in the campaign, including a toolkit on how to effectively engage with candidates by setting up a meeting or hosting events, science-related questions to ask candidates when they come door-knocking, social media engagement tools, support for writing op-eds, and forms for tracking interactions with candidates and identifying champions for science.
Here are three examples of questions suggested for candidates:
"It is important to me that there is transparency around federal decisions. How will you improve the public sharing of evidence used to inform your decisions if you are elected?"
"What are your perspectives on open data and open science?"
"How will you help ensure publicly funded science is publicly available?"
The Vote Science campaign is supported by Evidence for Democracy, the Toronto Science Policy Network, Science & Policy Exchange, the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences, and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience.
Vote Science Website: https://www.votescience.ca/