“Mr. Speaker, dozens of towns in northern Ontario, including Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout and Lake of the Woods, have passed resolutions demanding that the Conservatives reverse their decision to close the Experimental Lakes Area. Thousands of people from the Kenora riding are among the 25,000 Canadians who have signed petitions to save the ELA.
Mr. Speaker, once again I rise to present petitions from the residents of Dryden, Ontario on the topic of the Experimental Lakes Area.
In the 2012 budget, the government made the ill-advised decision to close the ELA, depriving Canadians of the groundbreaking scientific advancements it provided. I have two more petitions on the same subject, one from Ear Falls, Ontario, and the other from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. I am receiving dozens and dozens of these every day from across Canada.
“Mr. Speaker, there were a number of questions in there. I did hear at the end about science-based policy. This is a government that has a war on science, a war on the environment.
The government has cut the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory in the far north, which looks at ozone, at climate change. This year we have had the greatest melting, ever, of sea ice in the high Arctic. Last year, an ozone hole was discovered that was two million square kilometres.
Why would the government cut a research station at a time when major environmental changes are taking place?
We also are seeing the potential loss of the Experimental Lakes Area, 58 lakes which are unique in the world, doing ecosystem-based research. We are also seeing the potential cut of the Kluane Lake Research Station. These research stations could be kept open for about $1.5 million to $2 million.
There is a war on science. There is a war on the environment. The government should be striking a balance between the economy and the environment; they are two sides of the same coin.”
“Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend for the wonderful observations in his speech.
Along with the gutting of environmental legislation, particularly with respect to lakes and rivers, I notice that the government is withdrawing its support for the Experimental Lakes Area, one of the world’s most pristine environmentally protected areas. It has allowed tremendous research on mercury in rivers, the effects of global warming, acid rain, et cetera.
It only costs $2 million a year to maintain the Experimental Lakes Area. Clearly, giving up that asset is of no benefit. In fact, it is emasculating any opportunity we have to conduct important environmental research.
I wonder if the member could enlighten us a little more on the removal of funding from the Experimental Lakes Area by the Conservative government through the budget bill.”