Canadians: Stand Up for Science on Sept. 16

Previously on Things Are Good we’ve seen Canadians concerned about democracy mobilize to ensure that our political leaders make informed decisions. After a streak of attacks on knowledge, scientists and non-scientists alike are rallying in cities throughout Canada this coming Monday. If you’re in Canada you should join the rallies organized by Evidence for Democracy.

Here’s all the relevant information:

A year after gathering on Parliament Hill to mourn the ‘Death of Evidence’, scientists and their supporters are back. On September 16th, they will rally in Toronto and across the country to highlight the critical need to maintain evidence-based decision-making through the support of science in the public interest.

Rallies are set to take place in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Yellowknife, Fredericton and Halifax, along with numerous other communities.

“Science matters,” says Dr. Katie Gibbs, biologist and Executive Director of Evidence for Democracy. “Good science, when coupled with good decision making is what keeps our water and air clean, keeps us healthy, keeps our food safe and is the engine of economic development.”

In Toronto, Dr. John Polanyi, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Scientists for the Right to Know supporter says “Today… the freedom of our science is being constrained. Long-term goals are being sacrificed for short-term. The scientist’s freedom to explore and then debate are being restricted.” Dr. Margrit Eichler, Professor Emerita and President of Scientists for the Right to Know agrees, stating, “Public and accessible science has been at the forefront of Canadian social advancement and innovation. As we lose ground with the silencing of scientists and shutting down of organizations, our democracy is weakened. Science is the lifeline to a prosperous future – we need to keep it strong and independent of political influence”.

National events were initiated by Evidence for Democracy. Local events are organized by Scientists for the Right to Know (S4RK) – a new non-partisan organization advocating for science, in cooperation with the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union, and the University of Toronto Faculty Association. The rally is also endorsed by the York University Faculty Association.

As Prime Minister Harper and his cabinet prepare for the next parliamentary session, Evidence for Democracy, S4RK, its allies, and scientists across Canada call on them to demonstrate their commitment to science in the public interest by:

(1) Supporting the open communication of publicly funded science to the public.

(2) Using the best available science and evidence to make the best decisions.

(3) Funding scientific research from basic science through to applied.

WHAT: Stand up for Science Rally

WHEN: 12:00 pm (noon) September 16th

WHERE: Queen’s Park in front of the legislature and events across the country

WHO: Speakers for the Toronto rally include Dr. Scott Prudham, professor in the Department of Geography & Planning and President of the University of Toronto Faculty Association; Dr. Craig Heron, Professor of History at York University and Vice President of the York University Faculty Association; Dr. Margrit Eichler, Professor emerita of OISE/UT and President of Scientists for the Right to Know; and a statement from Dr. John Polanyi, Nobel laureate and professor emeritus in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto.

A complete list of Stand Up for Science events can be found here.

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