Adopting a Seventh Core Principle: Scientific Inquiry
WHEREAS the Green Party of Canada has consistently presented itself to the public as "The Party of Science", has publicly endorsed evidence-based decision-making, and has promoted policies which are based on current science;
WHEREAS scientific inquiry has been crucial to our understanding of the most important issues facing Canada today, including climate change, sustainability, economic inequality, and democratic reform, and has been equally crucial in determining the most prudent solutions to those problems;
WHEREAS in a multi-faith, multi-cultural society, an agreed common foundation for discussion of public policy is necessary for social cohesion and sustained social progress;
WHEREAS the actions of the Canadian public, such as the outcry against the rejection of science by a previous government, have affirmed that science and evidence are central to the Canadian identity and social fabric;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Constitution be amended to add item 5.1.7: "Scientific Inquiry" and to add item 5.5: "Appendix B provides additional reference text regarding principles.";
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Constitution be amended to add Appendix B as follows:
We recognize the scientific method as humankind's common lens for probing and understanding the natural world. We believe that empirical evidence is the foundation of effective public policy, and we promote rational inquiry and sincere debate as the processes by which policy is best created, refined, and reviewed.
-A policy development process which begins with empirical evidence and uses inquiry and debate to arrive at finished policies
-An awareness of current scientific understanding and a respect for expert analysis and opinion
-A willingness to embrace political positions clearly supported by evidence, and to abandon those clearly not supported by evidence
-A commitment to apply the Precautionary Principle
-A spirit of joy and fearlessness in discovering and understanding the beauty of the natural world that surrounds us"
While most members would agree that the Green Party embraces science and evidence, you may wonder what purpose there is to enshrining scientific inquiry as our seventh principle in our constitution.
First, there is a public purpose. By declaring science as one of our core principles, we make a promise to the Canadian public: that we will develop sound policy, that we will respect expertise, that we will make prudent and rational decisions, that we will lead fearlessly, and that we will put the public good ahead of our own political gains. This is an unequivocal statement on the type of government we intend to form, and will clearly position us in the mind of the public.
Secondly, there is a symbolic internal purpose. This is an opportunity to acknowledge an attitude which is fundamental to the character of our party, and in doing so, to enrich the fabric of our shared values. It is a celebration of something fundamentally "green".
But most importantly, there is a tangible internal purpose. Should we pass this motion, we will be declaring a mandate for the future development of our party. We will be setting the expectation that every one of our internal behaviours must respect the principles of scientific inquiry: freely-shared information, open debate, universal participation, freedom to dissent, and a common striving for the truth.
In short, this motion is intended to set our compass, in view of both the public and ourselves, so that we can strive together toward a common destination.
For additional questions & answers submitted by members, please see: www.saulbottcher.com/seventh-principle.html