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Stop the War on Science: Save the Experimental Lakes Area

Winnipeg – Scientists, activists, and concerned citizens alike are uniting to send a clear message to the Harper Government: it is time to stop the war on science. One of the most devastating losses to Canada’s science capacity is the defunding of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research center and the dismantling of its scientific team. The Coalition to Save ELA released a new video today about the Harper government’s war on science to urge Canadians to join the fight to defend public science and save Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area.

“Cutting the ELA – the only research center capable of providing a solid science basis for freshwater policy – is extremely short-sighted,” insists award-winning, world-renowned freshwater expert Dr. David Schindler, Killam Memorial Chair in Ecology, University of Alberta.

Since the Harper Government came into power, Canada has been subjected to an unprecedented, ruthless assault on its environmental science capacity. This attack has been systemic and strategic, targeting science that seeks to understand the impacts of industry on our freshwaters – information the current government considers inconvenient to its economic agenda. This will result in the significant and widespread degradation of our country’s natural waters and fishery resources.

“The Harper government is gutting all and any tools, rules, and science projects that stand in the way of corporate abuse of our freshwater heritage,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “No ELA means that the damage done to water from extractive industries will forever be hidden.” 

The cancellation of federal funding for the ELA “reaches beyond basic cost-cutting measures and is a targeted strike against environmental researchers producing results the government considers incompatible with government policy,” according to Dr. Jules Blais, President of the Society of Canadian Limnologists.

“This is the only place in the world where lakes have been set aside to build a research base to save our planet’s threatened freshwater – and so we must save ELA,” concludes Dr. Jon Gerrard, Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.

“The crippling of Canada’s public science capacity under the guise of austerity measures, coupled with the weakening of federal environmental laws in the absence of open debate, is a blatant desecration of science, nature, and democracy,” asserts Diane Orihel, Director of the Coalition to Save ELA. She adds “We need to stop this war on science, and let’s start by saving the ELA.”

The new video, ‘Stop the War on Science – Save the Experimental Lakes Area’ is available on-line at here (watch below), and will be officially released today in Winnipeg at a press conference at the University of Winnipeg (12:30 pm CST), and a public rally in support of ELA at the Fort Garry Hotel hosted by the Boreal Forest Network (7:00 pm CST).