Why Canada needs more scientists running for office

Whether it’s a global pandemic or global warming, we need political leaders with the expertise to make evidence-based policy

As a scientist, I was trained to believe that facts and rigorous evidence were inherently right and that rational thinking would inevitably win the day. How wrong and naive I was.

The reality is that decisions are often made by politicians who see facts as supplementary to arguments of emotion, quick to choose actions based on opinion polls rather than scientific data. We see this in the pandemic response, with some governments reluctant to listen to the science and act quickly, leading to more prolonged shutdowns.

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How COVID-19 innovation can teach us to build back greener

Diverse groups collaborated to develop vaccines. We should tackle the climate challenges the same way.

The launch of COVID-19 vaccines marks an unprecedented success for global health after many months of uncertainty and suffering. These vaccines were possible only through novel innovation – including new public-private partnerships and other global collaborative platforms – that underpinned their development. Although there is much to do before we exit the crisis, we can learn from the innovation models we’ve seen so far – and use them to bolster a greener recovery and address future crises.

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If you want a diverse workforce, you need diverse leadership

I never had a role model in senior management who looked like me – this needs to change

When I was young, all I wanted to be when I grew up was white. As a new Canadian living in Windsor, Ontario, I didn’t want to be seen as the “Filipino” kid. I wanted to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of adobo chicken on rice for lunch. I wanted to belong, like everyone else.

As I charged through youth and into adolescence, I realized that it wasn’t necessarily white that I wanted to be – I just wanted to be successful. But I never had a professional role model who looked like me. Sure, Filipino people are considered hard workers (something my parents never let me forget), but the positions I would see them occupy were low-skilled and service work – janitors, customer service, labourers. Always the nurse, but never the doctor. To be clear, these are honourable professions: my partner is a nurse, and in my humble opinion, she is the best that humanity has to offer. These are, after all, the workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

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