Who knows what’s in your air, water, and soil? Who can tell you what’s in your food? Who is conducting the research to predict the effects of climate change? Federal scientists funded by Canadian tax dollars are among those generating evidence relevant to public health and safety. These results matter not only to people living in Canada, but to people around the world, as Canadian policies have global impacts.
Federal scientists are generating information that is crucial to monitoring the health of your body, your community, and your environment. They have been doing this work for decades, amassing large quantities of data in archives and libraries. Their research can give us a long view of social and environmental change.
Monitoring is essential as a first step in defining problems that affect us now and in the future. Researchers should be able to build on this data, working with policy makers, change makers, and industry to make informed decisions.
The Write2Know Campaign was created in March 2015 under the Harper federal government, which cancelled over a hundred research programs and fired thousands of scientists conducting essential research. They shuttered libraries and destroyed data archives. The remaining scientists faced significant constraints that impact their ability to speak directly to the media, the public, and even other researchers about the results of their work. Journalists reporting on the environmental consequences of industry, for example, were regularly denied interviews with federal scientists monitoring the impact of industrial waste, and cannot verify their stories.
This campaign is not merely a call for access to the facts of science, but for a better, more inclusive and collaborative form of inquiry based on the needs of communities. Write2Know is a platform for participatory democracy and a new kind of “civic science” that we want to become a norm in Canada.
Over 4900 Write2Know letters were signed by people around the world in advance of the October 19, 2015 federal election in Canada. Our campaign was part of the efforts of many organizations and individuals who helped to make science an election issue. The new federal government in Canada has named Catherine McKenna the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, appointed Kirsty Duncan as the Minister of Science, and Navdeep Bains as the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. They have also reinstated the long-form census and are claiming that they will rebuild their “capacity to deliver on evidence-based decision-making.”
Under the new federal government, the Write2Know campaign continues as a way to bring questions of public concern to scientists and ministers.
What can you do?
Start here. Write2Know today.