41st Parliament, 1st Session – June 15, 2012

Mr. François Pilon (Laval—Les Îles, NDP):

“Madam Speaker, we learned today that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will make cuts to facilities working to protect the environment. They will be closing the brand-new, $2 million Mont-Joli laboratory. A laboratory in Sydney, British Columbia, will also be closed, along with the Experimental Lakes Area station, resulting in the loss of valuable expertise.

Why are the Conservatives spending millions of dollars to destroy new facilities dedicated to improving the environment?”

Hon. Keith Ashfield (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, CPC):

“Madam Speaker, our priority is science. It is one of the mainstays of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and we will continue to do that.

In terms of the Experimental Lakes Area, research priorities change in scope and location. Government needs to respond to the priorities.

In the case of the Experimental Lakes Area, we recognize the good work it has done in the past, but we no longer see a need for whole-ecosystem manipulation. We look forward to transferring the facility to an organization that has a more appropriate research body.”


Mr. Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay—Superior North, Ind.):

“Madam Speaker, the Conservatives are attacking science again. The Minister of the Environment is dumping our Experimental Lakes Area, saying that research will just move west to study oil sands’ impact on water. World-renowned scientists such as Dr. David Schindler say that makes no sense scientifically or financially. For example, the Alberta oil sands research program has been doing oil and water research at the ELA since 1976.

What is the real reason the minister is closing the ELA? Is it to drown freshwater science in Canada to avoid inconvenient truths?”

Hon. Keith Ashfield (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, CPC):

“Madam Speaker, absolutely not. We are focusing our efforts on new and emerging challenges such as aquatic invasive species and the impact of development in various locations across Canada, just as the member opposite indicated. Departmental scientists and biologists will continue to conduct research on freshwater ecosystems in priority areas.”