Actions to Ask of Our New Government

Actions to ask of our new government concerning public science/public knowledge

Nov. 17, 2015

 

 

1. Strengthen Statistics Canada

  • Restore Mandatory Long Form Censusdone

  • Increase the independence of Statistics Canada

 

2. Guarantee the right of government scientists to scientific integrity:

  • Allow free communication between scientists and media – done for Environment Canada and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Ensure this right for all departments and units.

  • Allow scientists to attend relevant conferences.

  • Implement the principle that government will not alter or omit scientific information for non-scientific reasons.

 

3. Create capacity for evidence-based policies:

  • Appoint a Parliamentary Science Advisor with powers similar to those of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

  • Repeal C-38 sections that wrecked environmental assessment (EA). Eliminate any EA role from energy regulatory agencies (NEB, offshore petroleum boards, CNSC, etc) and return EA to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

  • Re-instate the National Round Table on Environment and Economy.

  • Restore funding to the Canadian Climate Forum (formerly the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences).

  • Restore the Oceans’ Contaminants Programme.

  • Create a structure for testing of smokestacks for air quality.

  • Restore freshwater science. Resume funding and DFO work in Experimental Lakes Area.

  • Restore research funding and monitoring for ecological integrity to Parks Canada.

  • Research the health and environmental effects of the oil sands.

  • Publish (with minimal exceptions) all government-sponsored research.

 

4. Strengthen basic research:

  • Restore the capacity of the National Research Council to engage in basic research.

  • Appoint a majority of academics to oversee the three granting councils.

  • Increase funding for basic research for the three granting councils.

  • Shift the balance from fettered research to unfettered research.

 

 

5. Strengthen Access to Information:

  • Strengthen the Office of the Information Commissioner with a larger mandate and order-making power.

  • Eliminate loopholes and blanket exclusions and minimize exceptions to the Access to Information Act.

  • Expandthe scope of the Act to include all public authorities and other bodies which perform a public function or receive significant public funding.

  • Requirepublic officials to document and preserve all records of their decision-making.

 

6. Strengthen Libraries and Archives Canada to adequately support scientific work and provide community access:

  • Put management into the hands of archivists and librarians.

  • Restore the Community Access Program.

  • Restore funding and public access, including free inter-library loans.

  • Reestablish the National Archival Development program (the database making archival material in small archives across Canada accessible to the public).

  • Restore the federal departmental libraries.

  • Restore all the special archivist positions.

  • Improve the digitalization of archival material and make the finding aids more user friendly.

 

7. Strengthen the Freedom of Charities to Engage in Public Debate:

  • Cease the punitive audits of charities that are critical of government policy.

  • Develop a new legal and policy direction that enhances and protects the ability of registered charities to participate in public policy debates.