The Canadian War on Science: Science, the Environment and Public Health in the 2015 Canadian Federal Election

It has begun.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called an election for October 19, 2015, kicking off a marathon 11 week election campaign. The longest campaign since the 1870s, believe it or not.

My patient readers may have noticed that over the last few years I've posted quite a bit about how science has fared under the current government. Readers will have gathered that I'm not too pleased about that state of affairs. This election signals an opportunity to (hopefully) change direction; if it's not completely possible to undo all the damage that Harper has done, we can at least hope to stop the bleeding and maybe fix up as much of the destruction as possible.

My small part in all this will be to help the Canadian electorate follow how science, the environment and public health is being discussed both leading up to the election and during the election itself. No doubt many others will also be doing similar things, and I'll be happy to point to them here, but I'll be dedicating myself to this task over the coming weeks.

My methodology will be similar to the one I've employed before when tracking current issues on this blog. A master post with a rough chronology of what I've found, updated periodically as the story develops.

I'll be flagging issues mostly concerned with science/engineering/technology research funding, the state of government science and scientists and all issues related to the environment. I'll also be flagging stuff on public health issues. Here I'll be concentrating on issues around public health research funding and policies rather than the funding and structure of our public healthcare system. While that's an interesting area, I've always treated it as out-of-scope for my list-making and will continue to do so. The line between the structure and funding of the healthcare system and how evidence is used in constructing public health policy can be a bit fuzzy sometimes, so I may end up erring on the side of including edge cases rather than excluding them.

As mentioned, I do plan to update this post periodically, probably about once per week during the campaign.

Most of the items I plan to collect here -- and I'm not attempting to be complete, only broadly representative of what's been published -- will be from during the campaign itself. I will however include some from before the campaign starts as well as probably some from after the election itself. For example, the initial post here will by necessity not have much from during the campaign itself.

I will also be posting some of the items here in my Tracking the Canadian War on Science tumblr blog, especially as they apply to the broader issues at play. In fact, those items here will probably be posted on the tumblr first.

As a reminder, my master War on Science chronology post is here: The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment. The relevant blog posts here on this blog can be found here.




Campaigns, Debates, etc.


Only the Green Party seems to have released a real election platform document that I could find. I'll keep a lookout for those as the campaign rolls on. If I've missed one of the other party's platform document, please let me know. I've included some summaries I've found elsewhere for the others.

The Platforms


The Campaign


With any luck, the Conservatives will lose the coming election handily and I can re-orient my weird list-making mania towards something more enjoyable.

This list is just a start towards documenting the election conversation about science-related topics. As usual, if I've missed anything important or if I've made any errors, please let me know in the comments or at jdupuis at yorku dot ca. If you don't want to use my work email, you can reach me at dupuisj at gmail dot com.


2015.08.10. Updates up to August 9th. Some retrospective ones added.
2015.08.17. Updates to August 16th. I'm only covering the Linda McQuaig/"Leave the oilsands in the ground" issue fairly lightly. It's important, but the volume of commentary risks overwhelming everything else. Separate list post maybe? I'm considering it.
2015.08.24. Updates to August 23rd.
2015.09.04. Updates to September 4th.
2015.09.20. Updates to September 19th. Added a few stragglers too. I also split out some of the "General" items into a new category devoted science-themed debates as well as to various anti-Harper campaigns or movements.
2015.10.07. Updates to October 7th. Added a few more stragglers. I also added the YouTube recordings of the two science debates, the French one in Sherbrooke and the English one in Victoria. These are well worth watching.


More like this

I'm having trouble convincing people that Harper has actually destroyed Oceans and Fisheries Libraries. They'll accept "closed" but can't believe "destroyed". What can I do to verify
what really happened? Can I say all of the rest of the lists have been verified? I'm campaigning for the ABCs. Thanks very much.

By Marion Taylor (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

Hi Marion, I've documented the DFO libraries case pretty extensively here. As far as I can tell, the fairest way to describe what happened is that the libraries were closed very abruptly, most of the staff laid off and the duplicate collections dispersed very haphazardly, to the point where no one is really sure if unique, original materials were discarded along with the duplicates (Though I have heard fairly definitively that some unique materials were discarded). The scanning program they've setup to replace the print collections seems fairly haphazard as well and I've not really heard how well it's working. Weeding library collections with the aim of merging locations is a difficult, time-consuming task as is replicating the service levels that the users expect in a downsized organization. We don't really know how good a job the Feds did on this but the evidence we do have (see the link above) is that they almost certainly did a very poor job.

This is out standing post.

By Football Pools (not verified) on 07 Dec 2015 #permalink

I am certain you haven't encountered any of us

By Engine Rebuild… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2016 #permalink