Richard Cannings, MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay, questions the federal government’s disaster-relief efforts in southern B.C. during question period Wednesday, Dec. 1. Photo: Facebook / Richard Cannings

Richard Cannings, MP for South Okanagan-West Kootenay, questions the federal government’s disaster-relief efforts in southern B.C. during question period Wednesday, Dec. 1. Photo: Facebook / Richard Cannings

MP Cannings calls for living wage for Canada’s scientists and researchers

Cannings and 7,000 scientists signed an open letter to the government

South Okanagan — West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings is calling on the federal government to provide better funding for Canada’s researchers.

Cannings has sent an open letter signed by 7,000 scientists and researchers that condemns the ‘pittance’ pay researchers receive.

“Canada is lagging behind the world on innovation and research at a time when we know these are the hallmarks of successful economies,” Cannings said. “Without people, there is no research.”

Cannings is a scientist himself and a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research.

The letter points out that post-graduate research funding has stayed almost unchanged for 20 years while tuition and housing costs have skyrocketed.

According to information from the National Graduate Student Finance Survey, almost half of those that responded, financially struggle every month, with 87 per cent reporting anxiety over their finances and close a third considering dropping their research over financial concerns.

“Canada is asking our best and brightest minds to work full-time for less than minimum wage. It is an impossible task, let alone immoral for government agencies to pay well below their own mandated standards,” added Cannings.

The scientists and researchers are calling for a 48 per cent increase in funding to match inflation while indexing it to the consumer price index and a 50 per cent increase in the number of research awards granted by government.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Science and Research made similar recommendations last year but the Liberal Government’s budget did not include such changes.

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