Maude Barlow, David Schindler and Diane Orihel at the public forum this evening.

PHOTO: Maude Barlow, David Schindler and Diane Orihel at the public forum this evening.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and university professor David Schindler spoke to an audience of more than 400 people this evening at a ‘Save the Experimental Lakes Area’ public forum at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg.

As noted in the outreach for it, “The Experimental Lakes Area is a unique federal research program that studies the long-term impacts of global threats to freshwater lakes. Operating for more than 40 years, the ELA consists of 58 small lakes where scientists study the effects of water pollution, climate change and other threats. The Harper government has announced that it will cut tavehe $2 million annual budget to the ELA program in March 2013. There are concerns that the funding cancellation stems from information produced by the program that sheds light on the harmful impacts of tar sands development.”

More than 400 people at the public forum this evening.

PHOTO: More than 400 people at the public forum this evening.

In mid-October, the CBC reported, “Three-quarters of Canadians, including 60 per cent of those who voted Conservative in the last election, oppose the cuts to the Experimental Lakes Area in northern Ontario, according to an Environics poll. ‘[Prime Minister Stephen] Harper is missing the mark, even with his own supporters,’ said Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, the group that commissioned the poll.” In mid-November, the Globe and Mail reported, “The federal Conservative government is attempting to negotiate the transfer of a renowned freshwater research facility in Northern Ontario to the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The IISD gets money from universities and private-sector companies including Suncor, TransCanada Energy, Enbridge and Manitoba Hydro.”

A new 5-minute video — titled ‘Stop the War on Science – Save the Experimental Lakes Area — was launched this evening and can now be viewed below. Be sure to share the web-link for the video as widely as possible.

The evening was organized by Save ELA coalition members, the Council of Canadians and the Boreal Forest Network.

For numerous Council of Canadians blogs on the campaign to save the Experimental Lakes Area, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22experimental+lakes+area%22. The Save ELA website is at www.saveela.org.

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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...