Radio Freethinker

Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

Skeptical Questions for Political Candidates

Posted by Ethan Clow on April 17, 2011

With an federal election quickly coming upon us here in Canada, we at Radio Freethinker decided to take the opportunity to send off some questions to local candidates to see what they think about a few skeptical/atheists issues.

A number of other skeptical organizations have been doing just this and I think it’s a great idea. Not only does it give the candidates a chance to see another constituency out there, but it also lets them know that freethinkers have concerns and they want them addressed.

We decided to go with ten questions. While we could have asked hundreds, ten is a small, easily manageable number and any person running for political office surely will have the time to answer ten quick questions. We tried to include two questions from each of the main “battlegrounds” that skeptics deal with.

Those being: two questions on religion, two questions on alternative medicine, two questions on the supernatural, two questions on science, and two questions on evolution.

Here are the questions in full:

1. Canada is a ‘Christian’ nation.

2.  Religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule.

3. Complementary and alternative medicine (such as naturopathy, chiropractic medicine, herbalism, biofeedback, hypnosis, homeopathy and/or acupuncture) should be given equal support in our public health system

4. Childhood vaccinations should be mandatory

5. Law enforcement should be barred from employing psychics in investigations

6. The evidence for alien visitation is “overwhelmingly positive”

7. Science is just one way of “knowing”

8. Scientists who work for the government should not be curtailed or censored in any way if they want to take their findings to the media or wish to publish their findings in scientific journals or periodicals.

9. Human beings have evolved over time in a random process absent of any control or design by a higher power

10. The age of the Earth is around 4 billion years.

We sent them to all the candidates in the five federal ridings of Vancouver.  Those ridings, with their candidates are as follows:

Vancouver Centre

Adriane Carr  (Green Party of Canada)

Jennifer Clarke  (Conservative Party of Canada)

John Clarke  (Libertarian Party of Canada)

Hedy Fry  (Liberal Party of Canada)

Michael Hill  (Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada)

Michael Huenefeld  (Progressive Canadian Party)

Travis McCrea  (Pirate Party of Canada)

Karen Shillington  (New Democratic Party of Canada)

Vancouver East

Roma Ahi  (Liberal Party of Canada)

Libby Davies  (New Democratic Party of Canada)

Anne Jamieson  (Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada)

Douglas Roy  (Green Party of Canada)

Irene C. Yatco  (Conservative Party of Canada)

Vancouver Kingsway

Louise Boutin  (Green Party of Canada)

Kimball Cariou  (Communist Party of Canada)

Don Davies  (New Democratic Party of Canada)

Matt Kadioglu  (Libertarian Party of Canada)

Trang Nguyen  (Conservative Party of Canada)

Donna Petersen  (Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada)

Wendy Yuan  (Liberal Party of Canada)

Vancouver Quadra

Victor Edward Elkins  (New Democratic Party of Canada)

Deborah Meredith  (Conservative Party of Canada)

Joyce Murray  (Liberal Party of Canada)

Laura-Leah Shaw  (Green Party of Canada)

Vancouver South

Charles Boylan  (Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada)

Ujjal Dosanjh  (Liberal Party of Canada)

Meena Wong  (New Democratic Party of Canada)

Wai Young  (Conservative Party of Canada)

Jean Hakizimana (Green Party of Canada)

The Questions we asked are based on a five-point scale system. A candidate can answer between Strongly Disagree and Strongly Agree. In addition we tracked down as many direct email addresses as we could but in some cases we’re sending this survey to their campaign  centres. In a few cases we couldn’t locate a suitable email address and therefore we sent it to the party headquarters. We do understand that some candidates will be extremely busy and probably get many such questions sent their way. We also included the email addresses of the National Party headquarters as well.

There is little over two weeks until the election. We hope that the candidates can find time to answer these questions before election day. I do wish we had been able to send this out sooner but to my surprise, tracking down contact information for the candidates proved exceedingly difficult. In addition, Elections Canada did not confirm the final list of those running until the 14th of April. Since then, I was spending as much time as I could spare tracking down how to contact each candidate or party.

Hopefully something comes of this. We will of course keep you informed as things develop.

6 Responses to “Skeptical Questions for Political Candidates”

  1. Ian said

    Great work, I don’t know how many answers you’ll get (make sure to follow up a couple times), and many will likely want to elaborate beyond a simple agree/disagree scale (e.g. you may agree Canada is a Xian nation but not like the fact). I look forward to as many answers as you can post here – especially from Vancouver Quadra (and Joyce Murray, who’s both Baba Brinkman’s mom but also a very strong supporter of naturopathy).

  2. Ethan Clow said

    Thanks Ian, I’m also looking forward to what Joyce Murray says (assume she answers the questions) I’ll probably send a reminder in a week or so. Hopefully, we’ll get some feedback.

  3. James Dunlop said

    None of those are posed in the form of a question, though. Are we looking at the “Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree, Strongly Disagree” spectrum, a “Yes/No”, or what?

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