Monday, October 26, 2015

We Asked Scientists How Much Better Canada Will Be with Stephen Harper Gone

October 26, 2015

by James Wilt

By now, it's nearly indisputable that former prime minister Stephen Harper possesses a bizarre and deep-seated dislike for science. During his reign, scientists were banned from talking to journalists about their findings, the mandatory long-form census was eliminated, inexpensive but vital facilities were shuttered, entire departments were either defunded or experienced major staffing cuts. (For a full and very depressing catalog, check out Evidence for Democracy's True North Smart and Free project.)

But there's a new boss in town. Justin Trudeau, prime minister-delegate of Canada, has repeatedly pledged to depoliticize science, vowing to create an independent chief science officer (an idea the Conservatives inexplicably shot down in May), unmuzzle scientists, and restore the long-form census. Re-establishing the country's reputation as a research leader won't be easy. VICE chatted with four scientists to find out what they think about the Liberal victory and how the new government can go about improving science in Canada.