Government faces criticism for decision to shut down ELA

The Save ELA group has posted a number of open letters condemning the Canadian government’s decision to shut down the Ontario-based research facility, including one from nine scientists in The Kinneret Limnological Laboratory of Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research in Tel Aviv. The letter, which was sent to Paul Hunt, Canadian Ambassador to Israel, stated that they “appreciate the contribution of ELA scientists and research to our knowledge,” and that “together with many scientists worldwide, we have gained from the unique experimental approach and the advanced scientific knowledge established at ELA.”

Meanwhile, Terry Rees, executive director of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations, yesterday issued this strong statement .

“As a representative of waterfront communities across Ontario, and a lifelong advocate for sustainable development and healthy waterfront communities in this country, I am compelled to counter the spin being put on the gutting of science-based conservation currently underway by our Federal government.

“Despite the Prime Minister’s pandering to his political supporters, the clear agenda of the current government is to promote resource extraction versus long-term ecosystem health. Instead of promoting strong and progressive aquatic resource management that includes industry as partners and that drives better business practices, the Federal government is abandoning the future of our environment in a race to the bottom in terms of global environmental management.

“Specifically, gutting the habitat protection provisions in section 35 of the Fisheries Act significantly hampers the regulatory opportunities to drive sustainable development, and puts our most valuable resource, water, under significant threat. It is impossible to protect fish without also protecting their habitat.

“In this era of growing concerns about our aquatic resources, it is surely unwise to remove one of the few tools available to ensure their integrity. Decreasing Federal oversight and abandoning their responsibility is being aided by the active dismantling of important sources of credible and long-term science, especially through the closure of the world-renown Experimental Lakes Area.

“If the Federal government intends on fulfilling the commitment to a prosperous, sustainable and healthy future, they must retain the legislative and regulatory means to do so. Canadians will benefit by a federal government that spends more time and resources on proper management, and the science to back it up, and less on hollow rhetoric.

Sincerely,

Terry Rees, Executive Director
Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA)”

Terry was in Ottawa earlier this week to comment on Bill C-38, including proposed changes to the Fisheries Act and funding for the Experimental Lakes Area. Read more here.