THUNDER BAY – “The ELA is one of Canada’s most important research facilities and the work done there is instrumental in the effort to keep Canada’s freshwater lakes and waterways healthy and clean, and in producing sound evidence-based public policy”, said Liberal Fisheries and Oceans critic Lawrence MacAulay. “This is one of the greatest research facilities, not only in Canada, but in the entire world. I truly hope the Conservatives agree to my motion and let the Fisheries Committee study this world-renowned site. I am sure that with the proper study we can convince the Harper Conservative government how wrong it would be to shutter such an important scientific facility in Canada.”
MacAulay will bring forward a motion to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, which calls on the Committee to immediately begin a study on the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), the research done at the facility, its impacts on public policy and the potential consequences of closing, remediating, or transferring the ELA to a third party.
Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area is a globally unique research facility consisting of 58 lakes in northwestern Ontario. It is the only facility in the world capable of carrying out critical whole ecosystem research and has been influential in guiding environmental public policy in areas such as freshwater ecosystems, aquaculture, acid rain, algal blooms, and designing reservoirs to minimize greenhouse gases and fish contamination.
The Conservative government has discontinued funding for the ELA, saying that it is no longer productive and the work being done there is no longer aligned with departmental priorities. The government will decide in the coming weeks if the ELA is to be transferred to a third party, shut down or completely re-mediated.