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Ottawa scientists will rally in support of American counterparts

Saturday's March for Science meant as a show of solidarity with U.S. researchers who say their independence is being threatened by the Trump administration.

Scientists rally on Parliament Hill in 2013, calling on the federal government, then helmed by Stephen Harper, to allow transparency in government science.

The Canadian Press

Scientists rally on Parliament Hill in 2013, calling on the federal government, then helmed by Stephen Harper, to allow transparency in government science.

Ottawa scientists are taking to the streets in solidarity with their American colleagues.

Scientists and supporters across the globe are participating in a March for Science this weekend. The Ottawa march is in support of American scientists who participants say are being targeted by anti-science policies and politicization. 

Katie Gibbs, executive director of Evidence for Democracy, said the idea for the march arose when President Donald Trump was inaugurated.

“Right out of the gate, there were a lot of anti-science policies,” Gibbs said.

March participants are concerned about funding cuts, muzzling scientists’ ability to communicate with the public and the removal of climate change mentions from the White House website.

Gibbs said anti-science policies in America will impact Canada because of the countries’ close relationship.

“Especially in Canada, our researchers work so closely with American researchers that these kinds of policies in the U.S. are going to affect science in Canada,” Gibbs said. “Science itself is very much a global, international effort. Political boundaries don’t really affect it — at least they shouldn’t.”

The march will also celebrate science in Canada, while acknowledging that there is still room for improvement.

“It’s showing politicians and the public that scientists are still engaged, still willing to come out to marches, and that they’re still looking to see more progress,” said Gibbs.

The March for Science will take place on Parliament Hill on Apr. 22, coinciding with Earth Day. There will be 500 marches globally and nearly 20 across Canada.

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