This past Tuesday I gave a talk as part of the York University Department of Science & Technology StudiesSTS Seminar Series. Not surprisingly, my talk was centred on the work I’ve done as a chronicler of Canadian science policy issues. The title and abstract of my talk are:

Evidence vs. Ideology: The Canadian Conservative Government’s War on Science

Canada has entered an era of decision-based evidence-making, where scientific and other evidence takes a back seat to an ideology of political partisanship in the service of economic development and “prosperity.” Where once we could hope that scientific evidence would play an important role in decision making in such areas as public health, resource development and environmental stewardship, this no longer seems to be the case. Using tactics such as the drastic budget cuts to government science departments, the muzzling of government scientists who want to discuss their research in public and turning government scientific infrastructure into a concierge for industry, the Conservative government is waging a War on Science. This presentation will look at some of the major causes, strategies and skirmishes in the war as well as some prospects for a ceasefire and perhaps even a fair and just peace.

The campus online newsletter has a nice preview story about it here, including a picture of me from last year’s Death of Evidence mock funeral I helped organize as part of the Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Committee.

I thought the talk itself went quite well, with good feedback during the questions and afterwards from attendees. One tweet, from York’s Institute for Science & Technology Studies“>twitter feed: “Hilarious, sobering talk on the state of government science by @dupuisj at today’s seminar.” What more can you ask for that to be both hilarious and sobering?

Doing the talk was a great experience and definitely a great honour to be asked to take part in this kind of seminar series. I’d like to thank Institute members Kean Birch and Denielle Elliott for inviting me to take part as well as all the various member of the Department and the Institute for making the arrangements so smooth.

And last but definitely not least, here are my slides.


If anyone is interested in what’s going on in Canadian science these days and would like me to deliver this talk or some approximation, I’d be happy to oblige. You can contact me at jdupuis at yorku dot ca.

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