Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui and organizer Mark Calzavara posted an invoice to the front-door of Environment Minister Peter Kent’s constituency office in Toronto this morning. The invoice highlights that it will cost the Harper government $50 million to close the Experimental Lakes Area freshwater research facility, while its operating costs are $2 million a year.

Lui says, “We find it troubling that rather than providing funding for this critical research facility, the federal government would rather pay 25 times the operating costs upfront to shut it down.” Calzavara adds, “The federal government is going to allow the decades of scientific data to be lost. Because of Harper’s political agenda, the public is losing out.”

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), write, “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.”

The ELA is scheduled to be mothballed 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

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Brent Patterson

Brent Patterson is a political activist and writer. He has worked in solidarity with revolutionary Nicaragua, advocated for the rights of prisoners in jails and federal prisons, taken part in civil...