Kicking off today, March 23, the national campaign to unmuzzle Canada’s federal scientists is in full swing. Canadians across the country are demanding the federal government stop restricting our access to important research, information, and awareness of the human and environmental health issues that affect us all.
Canadians have a right to know. What is in our air, water, and soil? Who can tell us what is in our food? What are the predicted effects of climate change?
We deserve to know. Help the Write2Know campaign send thousands of letters this week demanding answers to these questions and more.
Are you concerned about any of the following issues?
Pick a topic, learn more, then sign your name and send a letter directly to the officials who represent these concerns. It’s time to hold our government accountable.
Is there another issue you’re concerned about not represented here? Create your own letter.
Having access to the research findings on these issues is crucial to our right to free expression. Without this information and data, and the knowledge and public awareness that come with them, the government can’t make informed, responsible policy decisions and citizens can’t know how their own and the environment’s health and safety are being impacted as a result.
In Canada, scientific questions are increasingly going unanswered as funding cutbacks to federal science programs and other policies aimed at muzzling Canadian scientists continue unabated. Take a look at our interactive timeline that charts these troubling and deeply problematic events since 2012, as well as the live chat we held with a leading Canadian scientist and environmentalist reporter at the Toronto Star.
Federal scientists funded by Canadian tax dollars are among those generating evidence relevant to public health and safety. They have been doing this work for decades, amassing large quantities of data in archives and libraries. Their research can give us a long-term view of social and environmental change.
Yet the Canadian government has gone to extreme lengths to keep this crucial work, knowledge, and ongoing research from the public. Federal scientists are being silenced:
Journalists reporting on the environmental consequences of industry, for example, are regularly denied interviews with federal scientists monitoring the impact of industrial waste, and therefore cannot verify their stories. Government constraints on access to scientific research on public health and safety constitute a serious injustice.
The Write2Know campaign aims to demonstrate the public desire for this information; support for federally funded science and scientists; the need to protect databases, archives, and libraries; and the importance of reinstating the essential programs that monitor human and environmental health. The easy-to-use letter template tool developed by Write2Know pays close attention to gaps between scientific evidence and federal policy.
Let’s show federal scientists how much we value their work, and let’s tell the federal government that we want this information made public.
The campaign is an initiative of the Politics of Evidence Working Group based at York University. They are a coalition of academics, scientists, and activists formed in 2014 to challenge the fraught politics of scientific evidence in Canada today.
Visit the Write2Know campaign on Facebook for all the latest updates.