Kitchener-Waterloo, Victoria, Montreal & London chapters march for science

Brent Patterson
4 years ago

The London chapter participating in a March for Science yesterday.

The Council of Canadians Kitchener-Waterloo, Victoria, Montreal and London chapters took part in yesterday's March for Science.

Yesterday, Global News reported, "Thousands of scientists worldwide, including those in 18 Canadian cities, are leaving their labs and taking to the streets to protest what they say are attacks against science. The main march was organized by a group of scientists in Washington looking to protest perceived attacks on science, while satellite marches also took place in 500 cities around the world."

And CTV explains, "This first ever 'March for Science' is advocating for robustly funded and publicly communicated scientific knowledge as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. Participants say they want political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies for the public good, and to safeguard the scientific community."

Along with the marches in Waterloo, Victoria, Montreal and London, marches also took place in Vancouver, Prince George, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Windsor, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, and St. John’s.

Reuters reports, "While the events were non-partisan according to organizers, many marchers were in effect protesting [US President Donald] Trump's proposal to sharply cut federal science and research budgets and his administration's skepticism about climate change and the need to slow global warming. ...Trump's proposed 2018 budget calls for deep spending cuts by government science agencies, including a 31 percent reduction for the Environmental Protection Agency."

CNN notes, "Trump's budget proposal, unveiled in March, outlined $54 billion in cuts across government programs to make way for an increase in defense spending. U.S. scientists said they fear such a plan would have a major impact on research and science-based policy as well as undermine the importance of science in society and limit future innovation."

In Canada, a national report by the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science says funding from federal government sources now account for less than 25 percent of total spending on research and development in the higher education sector. The panel recommends raising annual spending across the four major federal agencies and other key entities from approximately $3.5 billion today to $4.8 billion in 2022.

CBC reporter Kelly Crowe comments, "Across Canada, labs are closing, graduate students are losing their research jobs and some senior scientists are facing the grim reality that they might have to abandon decades of inquiry, leaving important scientific questions unanswered because there's no way to pay for the research."

Lori Burrows, a professor and senior scientist at McMaster University in Hamilton, says, "Despite the Trudeau government's promise of sunnier ways for science, we are still waiting for those rays to break through the storm clouds."