The newly elected Ontario Progressive Conservative government has fired the province’s first-ever chief science officer just weeks after defeating the Liberals in the provincial election.
Molly Shoichet, a biomedical engineer, was hired seven months ago by former premier Kathleen Wynne to advise government officials and promote the province’s research domestically and abroad.
The province’s chief science officer said Wednesday that she had been fired by the new government.
Premier Doug Ford‘s spokesman, Simon Jefferies, said Wednesday that the government is undergoing the process of “finding a suitable and qualified replacement.”
The premier also reportedly let go Ontario’s chief investment officer, Allan O’Dette, and removed former TD Bank chief executive Ed Clark from his role as the premier’s business adviser.
During the election campaign, Ford promised to launch an audit of government spending and to save billions each year by finding unspecified efficiencies, without cutting any jobs.
The New Democrats say they are questioning whether Ford’s government believes in the value of science and scientific research.
NDP MPP Peter Tabuns said Ford should explain Shoichet’s firing, along with last week’s announcement that the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science will be scrapped.
The premier has made several changes since he was elected last month, including putting the public service under a hiring freeze and imposing a wage freeze on its managers and taking steps to dismantle the province’s cap-and-trade system.
—With a file from Global News