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Canadian Researchers Applaud Election Outcome

Elections in Canada earlier this week saw the defeat of Stephen Harper's Conservative government after about a decade in power by Justin Trudeau's Liberal party, an outcome applauded by many scientists, ScienceInsider reports.

"The Liberal party has a strong record in supporting science," Jim Woodgett from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto tells ScienceInsider.

Harper's government, it adds, was largely unpopular with scientists, who argued that it ignored scientific evidence when drawing up policy, didn't let government researchers speaking publicly about their work, and focused too heavily on applied research.

The Liberal party, meanwhile, has promised to restore the chief scientific officer position as well as allow government researchers to speak more freely. In addition, it says it will rely on evidence-based policies, use data-driven decision-making, and address issues like climate change.

Woodgett tells ScienceInsider that though he appreciated such changes, he also wants the government to better fund basic research.

"I hope we will see less short-term thinking and much greater support for discovery research going forward," he adds. "We are at serious risk of a lost generation of scientists and it's critical that younger researchers are given a clear indication that Canada is open to their ideas and needs."