Evidence for Democracy just launched a new campaign in support of establishing a Parliamentary Science Officer.
Right now, there is a bill before parliament that proposes to create an independent science watchdog. MP Kennedy Stewart introduced Bill C-558, an Act to establish the position of Parliamentary Science Officer, as a private member's bill in December 2013. This Officer would answer directly to members of parliament and provide them with sound information and expert advice on scientific issues to ensure policy decisions are informed by science.
This bill was proposed as one solution to growing concerns over the erosion of science and evidence-informed policy decisions in Canada. In recent years, we have seen drastic cuts to both federal government and academic research. Many important evidence gathering institutions have been lost including the long-form census, government scientists are increasingly restricted in their ability to openly communicate their research, and many public policy decisions disregard all available evidence.
Having a dedicated office that provides non-partisan, independent, objective, and readily available analysis of the science relevant for public policy issues is a huge step in the right direction. It is important that we put pressure on our Members of Parliament to ensure this bill gains the cross-party support needed to make it to the next stage. It may only need a small push - while the bill was introduced by NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, the Conservative and Liberal Parties have a similar proposal in their policy books, and the Green Party recently passed a policy motion supporting the creation of a Parliamentary Science Officer.
Canada needs a Parliamentary Science Officer to help give science a stronger voice in the federal government. Please send an email to your MP, the party leaders, and the Minister for Science and Technology right now to show your support for creating a Parliamentary Science Officer - a position that provides elected officials with balance, non-partisan scientific information. It's easy -simply sign the form and share our online campaign.