23 February 2016

Welcome to the Chief Science Officer

Leading up to the 2015 federal election I volunteered my efforts to the group Evidence for Democracy (E4D), a group formed in reaction to the Harper government's "war on science." I am now delighted to see that, in keeping with its election promise, the new Liberal government has appointed a Chief Science Officer, thereby fulfilling one of the goals of E4D. As Katie Gibbs, Executive Director of the group, said about the good news, "This position has the potential to make a huge difference for science in Canada."

Indeed it has. In his Mandate Letter to Dr. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, the Prime Minister instructed the Minister to "Create a Chief Science Officer mandated to ensure that government science is fully available to the public, that scientists are able to speak freely about their work, and that scientific analyses are considered when the government makes decisions."

Should the minister fulfill her mandate, we will have a much better-informed Cabinet and Parliament when it comes to how science affects issues and how it should direct policies. And we will have a more scientifically literate public to assess those policies. And, last but not least, it will be nice to hear directly from our scientists again. Sunny days.

As for E4D, it intends to apply itself to ensuring "that the Chief Science Officer position is properly designed—this new office must be effective, robust and broadly respected." It could use all our help.


  1. Hi, Bill. Your posting seems to have stopped with the downing of ProgBlog. Are you aware of another aggregator, Canadian Progressives? You can still find the stalwarts there.


  2. No, Mound, I wasn't aware of Canadian Progressives, and I have a few things to get off my chest. Thanks for the tip.