We are very pleased that Diane Orihel, an aquatic ecologist and founder of the Coalition to Save the Experimental Lakes Area, has agreed to speak at the ‘Pros & Cons: Policies for People and the Planet’ teach-in this coming Saturday June 29.
Orihel’s campaign to save the world-renowned ELA began last May. A Winnipeg Free Press article explains, “The ELA is a network of 58 lakes in northwestern Ontario that has been used for more than 40 years as a scientific research station. It is the only facility in the world where scientists can conduct research on entire bodies of water. In May, without any prior notice, the Department of Fisheries told ELA scientists the federal funding would end in April 2013. The reason? The program no longer fit with the government’s mandate. It wants either another organization to take it over or it will be decommissioned.”
In February, iPolitics columnist Michael Harris wrote, “During the uproar caused by the Harper government’s closure of the ELA, some of Canada’s top scientists exchanged e-mails, opining that the shuttering was not about saving a measly $2 million a year. It was about making sure that one of the world’s leading freshwater research facilities didn’t come up with any inconvenient science that might get in the way of the Bitumen Express currently roaring down the tracks.”
Where are things now?
Last month, it was reported, “The federal government has reached an agreement to transfer the Experimental Lakes Area to a Winnipeg-based environmental think-tank (the International Institute for Sustainable Development). …This step doesn’t actually transfer the program yet, but outlines how the negotiations to do so will proceed. In the meantime, Ottawa will provide support for some work this summer so scientists with active research at the ELA site in northwestern Ontario can continue their work uninterrupted.”
The Common Causes teach-in takes place on June 29 from 9 am to 12 pm at the Castell Library, just up the street from where the Conservatives will be holding their national policy convention. Tickets are free, but pre-registration is required as tickets for the 400-seat venue are going quickly.
The forum will also feature Maude Barlow, Chief Theresa Spence, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Crystal Lameman, Steven Shrybman, Andrew Nikiforuk, Ricardo Acuña, and Dave Coles.