More thoughts on science policy and the Canada 2011 federal election and Peer Review Radio end-of-season broadcast

Working on the Peer Review Radio end-of-season broadcast (April 26, 2011 at 12 noon EST or 9 am PST, listen live here on CHUO, fm 89.1) with Adrian J. Ebsary has been great and given me an opportunity to examine the science policy aspect of the current election campaign a little more closely since I first wrote my post (April 18, 2011) on the subject.

I found another commentary on science policy and election 2011 platforms at exposure/effect blog. (The writer, a scientist, chooses to remain anonymous.) I found this passage from the posting a little curious,

There isn’t a whole lot relating to science or science education in the party platforms, which is perhaps not surprising given the focus on the economy at the moment. The NDP probably have the strongest and most specific plans in this area, while the Green Party appear to have almost nothing; the Conservatives and Liberals fall somewhere in between.

I found the NDP platform to be the least detailed or informative both generally and about science. By the way, the PDF is 28 pages and a surprising number of those pages are filled with images. The Green platform lists 130 pages in its PDF with the Conservative platform at 67 pages and the Liberal platform at 98 pages. ETA April 27, 2011: I stand corrected. Ashartus (pseudonym for blogger at exposure/effect) points out (in the comments) that the Green Party platform is 12 pages and the document I was referencing is their Vision Green document. Within that 12 pages, the Green Party does, as Ashartus notes, offer the least detail about science policy of any party in the 2011 federal election.

Pascal Lapointe of Agence Science Presses/Je vote pour la science has been working to bring science policy into the political discourse for years. For this election campaign, the latest podcast he has prepared is titled, Est-ce que quelqu’un a prononcé le mot « science »? He will also be publishing answers to nine science policy questions that he and various science organizations prepared and asked of the candidates from various political parties. (Pascal has been tireless, he’s also published an April 15, 2011 article, La science des partis, co-written with Rob Annan of the Don’t leave Canada Behind blog (see my blog roll for the link). For more about the issues from Pascal please check the links as you’ll definitely find more about the 2011 election and science policy.)

Now for a very different way of looking at the party platforms, a visual representation of them using wordle. Thanks to Michael Gerskup at Skeptic North for taking the time to create these visualizations of the Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green, and Bloc Québécois platforms by feeding the text into Wordle. Here’s the 2011 platform visualization for the Conservative party,

Conservative Party Platform for Canada 2011 election (Michael Gerskup/Skeptic North, April 11, 2011 posting)

I don’t see any science in this one or in the others, for that matter. You can find the rest of the visualizations here.

As for what I discovered while working with Adrian on the broadcast, there’s an absence in all of the platforms: emerging technologies. (It seems strange that I missed it initially given my area of interest but I did.) Do any of the candidates (and, for some, future members of parliament) in these political parties have any sense of changes that may be needed in policies and regulations as products of emerging technologies hit the marketplace? What will the social impact be? Will these changes affect education? etc., etc., etc.

I’m not suggesting that any of parties should have a full plan just that there be awareness of emerging technologies. There is awareness in other countries.

3 thoughts on “More thoughts on science policy and the Canada 2011 federal election and Peer Review Radio end-of-season broadcast

  1. Ashartus

    Thanks for pointing out the longer Green Party document. Their actual “platform” on their website is only about 12 pages; the longer document is a separate document called “Vision Green”. I agree it does have a lot more detail. However it also has several positions that I would consider “anti-science,” particularly relating to GMOs and management of contaminated sites, from a quick read.

  2. admin

    Hi Ashartus! Thanks for dropping by and leaving this comment. I quite agree that the much of the document’s (Vision Green) approach to science reflects a view where outcomes are predetermined, e.g. GMO work is dangerous so ban it; nanomaterials are dangerous so test them to find out if there are harmful effects, etc. I will go back and look at the 12 pp platform on the Green Party website. Cheers, Maryse

  3. Pingback: FrogHeart (part 2) at the 2012 Canadian Science Policy Conference (or Kennedy Stewart and his proposed science policy) « FrogHeart

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