Canada has a national science adviser again, meet Dr. Mona Nemer
Canada’s new chief scientist says one of the tasks she’s looking forward to in her new role is the opportunity to explain to the Canadian public what exactly scientists like her do.
Ottawa heart researcher Dr. Mona Nemer was selected last month to become the country's Chief Science Adviser, a role that hasn’t existed in Canada since 2008, when the former Conservative government eliminated the position.
As chief adviser, she will help promote science to Canadians, as well as offer objective scientific advice to federal ministers.
Dr. Nemer says scientists and politicians have often clashed, both in Canada and around the world, and that isn’t likely to change. But she hopes to help the public and politicians understand the valuable role science plays in Canadians’ lives every day.
“I think, in general, the public doesn’t understand what scientists really do. There’s this stereotype of the lonely scientist in their labs and that’s just so far from reality,” Dr. Nemer told CTV’s Your Morning.
Science is a team sport, she said, filled with young, curious minds hoping to create new knowledge that will help society progress.
It was science, she said, that helped foster our understanding about cholesterol and its effect on the heart, as well as how diet and cholesterol can interact. That kind of science affects all Canadians, she said.
“Each one of us makes decisions every day that incorporates science without us knowing it, so the more we understand science the better it is,” she said.
As a researcher and educator, Dr. Nemer says she has always loved explaining science to the public. Now, she will also be explaining it to politicians to help them make big decisions for our country.
“I will be providing impartial advice to the prime minister, the minister of science and any minister in cabinet about matters that involve science. And there are many of them, from environment to food security,” she said.
Dr. Nemer believes that good science incorporates all the societal and economic considerations as well, so she is hopeful that by providing objective advice, her department can help governments in good decision-making.
“When I spoke with the prime minister, he clearly told he expects science from me and not to worry about politics, so I thought that was quite encouraging,” she said.