Alberta’s Public Priorities Act: Political interference in research

The USFA is watching with concern the Alberta government’s efforts to politicize federal research funding.

Bill 18, the Public Priorities Act, would give the Government of Alberta the power to review federal research funds received by university-based researchers to ensure they align with provincial government’s priorities. Not only does this legislation jeopardize millions of dollars in funding for Alberta’s researchers, it undermines scientific integrity and academic freedom.

We support CAUT’s call for the Alberta government to scrap Bill 18. “Applying a political litmus test to research funding is an unprecedented attack on scientific independence, research integrity and academic freedom,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson. Bill 18 would “violate widely accepted principles of academic freedom that grant university and college academics the freedom to carry out teaching and research without censorship or political interference.”

Delegates to the CAUT’s 96th Council meeting held in April voted unanimously to condemn the Alberta government’s proposed legislation.

Leadership from post-secondary institutions across Canada needs to protect and promote academic freedom, and should be joining calls for the Alberta Government to withdraw or amend Bill 18.