Canadian Science is Rebuilding… Slowly

Mar 12, 2018

For almost a decade, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper slashed science funding and restricted government researchers’ ability to speak to the public. The Trudeau administration has worked to reverse their predecessors’ anti-science policies, but many Canadian scientists still say they don’t feel free to speak to the public. Science librarian and blogger John Dupuis of York University, told Living Lab Radio he isn’t surprised. Rebuilding is slow. 

First, there may be some self-censorship among Canadian scientists, Dupuis said. 

"They feel that someone’s looking over their shoulder," he said. When in reality, the relatively new Trudeau government is not interested in censoring them. 

Second, there was a change in culture at key departments, such as Environment Canada, during the Harper Administration. 

"They were hiring communications flacks and building up this kind of bureaucracy and infrastructure, to keep scientists from speaking to the public," he said. "That became the culture."

The Harper Administration "broke Canadian science very quickly and very easily," Dupuis said. "But rebuilding is slow."