The Boreal Forest Network and the Council of Canadians renewed calls to the Ontario government to save the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) by asking incoming Premier Kathleen Wynne to provide needed funding to the internationally-recognized research centre.
The groups had sent letters to the premiers of Manitoba and Ontario (to then Premier Dalton McGuinty) in December 2012 requesting that the governments each contribute $1 million annually to the ELA for a minimum of three years until federal funding was reinstated. The groups received a letter from the Government of Manitoba at the end of January declining their request.
“We are disappointed that the Government of Manitoba declined to keep the ELA public by funding it until it is reinstated as a federal responsibility,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “We need the Ontario and Manitoba governments to step up to the plate and save the ELA before we lose this critical public service.”
“With Lake Winnipeg being named the world’s most threatened lake of 2013, we are disappointed that the Manitoba government failed to see the vital role that the ELA plays for Manitoba’s water sources,” says Susanne McCrea from the Boreal Forest Network. “For over forty years, the ELA has been conducting groundbreaking scientific research on the impacts of human activities and chemical contamination on freshwater lakes and drinking water. The ELA contributed greatly to our understanding of acid rain and continues to research critical issues like climate change and the impacts of mercury on fish and whole lake ecosystems. Clearly this research is needed to save Lake Winnipeg.”
While the Manitoba government stated that they recognized “that the ELA is a unique freshwater research facility that has generated an important body of scientific knowledge used by decision makers, industry, and scientists in Canada and around the world,” the letter signed by Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger failed to commit to help fund the ELA and stated that his government would only work to encourage “the Government of Canada to ensure funding for this program.”
The groups have not received a response from the Ontario government and are now urging Premier Wynne to make the bold move of contributing the necessary funds to save the ELA before it is slated to close at the end of March.
Read a copy of the letter here.