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Academics urge Trudeau government to act swiftly on education and research priorities

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is congratulating Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party on their election victory, and is urging the new government to move quickly to deliver on promises made during the campaign.

“Canadians have overwhelmingly spoken out in favour of a change in leadership and direction,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson. “Canada’s academic community looks forward to working with the Liberal government in meeting the priorities of university and college students, staff, and researchers.”

Robinson said key promises that will need to be addressed quickly include:

  • Restoring the mandatory long-form Census and expanding the capacity of Statistics Canada
  • Appointing an independent chief science officer and unmuzzling government scientists
  • Restoring funding for the Experimental Lakes Area and federal ocean science
  • Improving the Canada Student Grants and Canada Student Loans Program to promote improved access to post-secondary education
  • Increasing funding for the Post-Secondary Education Support Program for Aboriginal students
  • Amending or repealing Bill C-51, the so-called anti-terrorism legislation, to protect civil liberties and academic freedom
  • Defending labour rights by repealing Bills C-377 and C-525

“A decision to restore the mandatory long-form Census is particularly urgent as there is a short window of opportunity to direct Statistics Canada to begin preparations for the 2016 Census,” Robinson added.

Robinson also urged the Liberals to strengthen their commitment to science by boosting funding for basic university and college research.

“In recent years, we’ve witnessed a dismantling of and political interference in scientific institutions that have played important roles in ensuring the health, safety and welfare of the Canadian public,” stated Robinson. “There is an urgent need to reinvest in these institutions and to ensure that research is guided by priorities set by the scientific and academic community.”

CAUT is the national voice of 68,000 academic and general staff at over 120 universities and colleges across Canada.