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NEWS: Harper government begins to dismantle field work cabins at the ELA

Postmedia News reports, “With about two weeks remaining prior to a scheduled shutdown or transfer to new management of a world-renowned federal water research facility, the federal government has started to dismantle the summer cabins used by scientists doing field work at the Experimental Lakes Area. …Scientists who are trying to save the northwestern Ontario facility said their peers were informed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on Thursday, without advance notice, that it had started removing doors and windows, while emptying furniture and personal belongings in preparation for a demolition at the site…”

“The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (denies this and) said Friday it was doing ‘minor work’ on some cabins in preparation for their removal because they were nearing the end of their life-cycle. …A spokeswoman for the department, Melanie Carkner, said it was working with the scientists to ensure they can retrieve personal items in the cabins.”

In an op-ed published in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix today, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and David Schindler (a founding director of the ELA), wrote, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government claims this move is part of a cost-cutting exercise. Yet Fisheries and Oceans has run the ELA for a mere $2 million a year, a tiny amount compared to the $30 million spent by the government to propagandize the War of 1812. The far more likely reason for closing the ELA is that it was conducting research into the effects on freshwater of endocrine disrupters, mercury and other byproducts of extractive industries the government promotes, and its findings were beginning to show serious, but preventable, damage to Canada’s freshwater heritage.”

Federal funding ends for the ELA as of March 31.

For more, please see:
UPDATE: Barlow condemns Harper’s closing of Lakes research program
NEWS: Poll says 60% of Conservative voters oppose cutting the Experimental Lakes Area program
NEWS: Harper spends on spin rather than science