Mark Lautens: "Why aren't there more scientists in politics?"

November 6, 2019 by U of T News

In his most recent op-ed for the Globe and Mail, Professor Mark Lautens asks: Why was science largely absent from the federal election debates? And why don't more scientists run for office in Canada? 

Lautens argues “there’s no simple explanation” for the lack of scientists and researchers in politics. He says one possible reason is that Canadian scientists lack the star power of leaders in business, sports or the arts, who are better represented in the corridors of power. 

Another explanation, he says, is that it’s near-impossible for scientists to return to their lab and students after a stint in politics.

But political discourse would benefit from having more scientists at the table, according to Lautens. “My view is that if more scientists were key figures in every political party, there would be far less polarization,” he says. “Evidence-based decision-making might take over from half-truths or worse.”