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CICTor Votes Candidate Responses

CICTor Votes Candidate Responses

The upcoming federal election on October 19th may prove to be pivotal for Canadian researchers. Over the past 2 weeks, CICTor reached out to all candidates running in the riding of University – Rosedale. With topics ranging from research funding to jobs for STEM graduates to open science communication to climate change, we hope to have provided useful information to voters who have an interest in science and research.

Jennifer Hollett (New Democratic Party), Steve Rutchinski (Marxist-Leninist Party), and Jesse Waslowski (Libertarian Party) met with us individually to discuss how their parties relate science and government. Chrystia Freeland (Liberal Party) and Drew Garvie (Communist Party) were unable to meet with us but submitted answers to us electronically.

 

The following candidates were contacted but were unable to provide answers at the time of this communication: David Berlin (Bridge Party), Karim Jivraj (Conservative Party), Simon Luisi (Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party), and Nick Wright (Green Party).

 

Answers are presented in the following order:

Chrystia Freeland – Liberal Party of Canada

Jennifer Hollett – New Democratic Party of Canada

Drew Garvie – Communist Party of Canada

Steve Rutchinski – Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada

Jesse Waslowski – Libertarian Party of Canada

 

Please click to see the candidates responses – CICTor Votes Responses

 

Please note: The Chemical Institute of Canada – Toronto Section is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that strives to serve those of the chemical profession across the Greater Toronto Area by providing clear and transparent information. We do not endorse any political party or candidate.

Below are the questions we asked the candidates.

Policy

  1. How will your party incorporate science into the decision making process for future policies regarding the environment, health, economy, and public safety?
  2. The position of National Science Advisor (NSA) was eliminated in 2008.[1] The role of the NSA was to advise the Prime Minister on science and technology-related policy. Canada is currently the only G7 nation without an NSA or similar position. Instead, Canada relies on a Science, Technology, and Innovation Council (STIC) to advise the Minister of Industry.[2]  How are these different in their operation? Which does your party prefer and why?[1] http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080130/full/451505a.html[2] http://www.stic-csti.ca/eic/site/stic-csti.nsf/eng/h_00005.html
  3. The evidence for man-made climate change is overwhelming.[1] President Barack Obama has placed harsh restrictions on the coal industry in order to cut carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and at the same time invested in alternative energy research.[2] Although Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2011,[3] the government signed the Copenhagen Accord in 2009. Canada is projected to fall short of meeting its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.[4] What can Canada do to become a leader in the fight against climate change?[1] http://www.un.org/climatechange/the-science/[2] http://time.com/2806697/obama-epa-coal-carbon/[3] http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-pulls-out-of-kyoto-protocol-1.999072[4] http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-failing-to-meet-2020-emissions-targets-1.2223930

Funding

  1. Funding for academic research has been roughly $2.7-billion dollars for the last two years.[1] How will that number be affected should your party form the next government?

[1] http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadian-research-advocates-criticize-big-science-budget/article24148027/

2. In these challenging economic times, how does your party plan to balance the importance of discovery-based research with the need for business-oriented applied research?

3. What is your party’s position on the role of industry in scientific research and vice versa? What kind of research does Canada want to be a leader in?

4. How can the government assist Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) students find jobs in a relevant field after graduation?

5. Canada is a natural resource-rich nation and this is reflected in our economy: 20% of Canada’s GDP is contributed by natural resource industries such as Forestry, Energy Production, and Mining.[1] Does your party envision an economy similar to the status quo or are there plans to invest in and expand manufacturing and technology? If so, how can Canada encourage these types of companies to open or keep branches in our country in order to provide jobs to Canadians?

[1] http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/key-facts/16013

6. Does your party envision re-opening research centres, such as the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre,[1],[2] that have been shut down in the past decade? If so, how soon would we see these changes implemented and what types of research centres will be prioritised?

[1] The CNBC plays a pivotal role in Canada’s research community as a vital source of isotopes for medical and industrial research and test site for fuel technology and nuclear research.

[2] http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/why-the-reactor-shutdown-is-really-bad-news-for-neutron-research/article4213130/

7. In 2013, roughly 80% of the world’s energy was derived from fossil fuels. By 2040 global energy demand is projected to exceed production rates by 37%.7 Is Canada in a good position to handle this situation? If not, how would your party prepare Canada to cope with this disparity in supply and demand?

 

Communication

1. An integral part of the scientific process is the transparent and open reporting of research findings. Canada has recently come under criticism for impeding this vital step in scientific research.[1],[2],[3] How will your party support communication of government-funded research to the international scientific community as well as to the general public?

[1] http://www.ckreview.ca/2014/05/rock-snots-not-an-invasive-species-but-reaction-to-environmental-change-study/

[2] http://globalnews.ca/news/86145/climate-change-scientists-feel-muzzled-by-ottawa-documents/

[3] http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1234766-request-to-interview-federal-scientist-sparks-110-pages-of-government-emails

2. Health Canada has previously published in The International Food Risk Analysis Journal[1] which is owned by the Croatian publishing company InTech.  InTech is listed on the Beall’s List of potential predatory publishers[2] and does not require a peer-review[3] process for articles.  As the result of publicly funded research, should results be made readily available to taxpayer? What is your party’s position on how and where federally funded research is published?

[1] http://ottawacitizen.com/technology/science/the-very-odd-tale-of-health-canadas-croatian-publication

[2] Predatory publishing is a term coined by University of Colorado librarian Jeffrey Beall to describe publishers that do not adhere to standards of legitimate academic journals. Predatory behavior often includes exclusion of proper peer-review.  https://scholarlyoa.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/criteria-2015.pdf

[3] Peer-review is an important process in which any bias or oversight can be kept at a minimum. By allowing self-review, bias may remain undetected.

3. Public opinion of science isn’t always positive. We are seeing a movement against vaccines despite scientific evidence that suggest that they are safe.[1] How can the government be more involved in public science education?

[1] http://www.who.int/immunization/documents/positionpapers/en/

4. Health Canada currently allows nosodes (homeopathic vaccines) to be sold as vaccines.[1]  Homeopathy has been deemed ineffective by the World Health Organization for treating various diseases[2] and the scientific community has been in vocal opposition of their use in medical practice.[3] In your opinion, why has Health Canada continued to allow nosodes to be marketed as alternatives to traditional vaccines despite the opposition?  What is your party’s stance on vaccinations, especially concerning children and healthcare workers?

[1]http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/09/06/is_health_canada_aiding_measles_comeback.html

[2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8211925.stm

[3] http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2012/apr/03/homeopathy-why-i-changed-my-mind

5. Although the trend is changing, STEM and politics are both areas historically dominated by men. Why do you think this is the case? Is it a good idea to encourage young women to become more active in STEM or politics (or both)? If so why and what kinds of strategies can be used?

 

Please note: The Chemical Institute of Canada – Toronto Section is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that strives to serve those of the chemical profession across the Greater Toronto Area by providing clear and transparent information. We do not endorse any political party or candidate.