Conservative MP Refuses Debate on the Famed Experimental Lakes Area
July 27, 2012 (KENORA) – The unique research facility known as the ‘Experimental Lakes Area’ (ELA) is slated for closure on March 31, 2013. ELA science is critical for developing policies to protect Canada’s water quality and fish populations. The decision to terminate this 44-year old program,
operated by the federal departments of Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans, was made by the Harper Government with little explanation or rationale.
The ELA is located in northwestern Ontario between Kenora and Dryden, and falls within the federal electoral district of ‘Kenora’ – a riding currently held by Conservative Greg Rickford, who faced tough competition in the last election from Liberal Roger Valley and NDP Tania Cameron.
The short-sighted decision to terminate the ELA is particularly devastating to northwestern Ontario. The closure will have immediate direct impacts on the local economy in terms of job losses and lost revenues for local businesses. But, the more profound impact will be on the future sustainability of freshwater and fisheries resources in this region, and across Canada.
MP Rickford was recently invited to participate in a public forum on the ELA in his riding. The letter to Mr. Rickford inviting him to a public debate was published in The Chronicle Journal (http://www.chroniclejournal.com/editorial/letters/2012-07-21/mp-rickfords-newspeak-belies-folly-ela-decision). This forum was intended as an opportunity for Mr. Rickford to explain his party’s decision to terminate this program, and to answer questions from concerned constituents.
The invitation came from ecology student Diane Orihel, Leader of Coalition to Save ELA, who received a response yesterday from Mr. Rickford’s office. The email had no salutation or signature, and contained the message “I have been directed to advise you that MP Rickford will not be attending the debate”. The email was sent by Anne Ayotte, Regional Operations Manager working under Mr. Rickford.
“I would have appreciated if Mr. Rickford, at the very least, had the courtesy of sending me a letter signed by himself, and also explaining why he refuses to have an intellectual exchange on the Experimental Lakes Area”, says Diane Orihel with frustration. “This speaks volumes to his spineless lack of accountability to his constituents for the decisions made by his party”.
The public forum on the ELA will take place next month in Kenora, but in lieu of Mr. Rickford, other speakers will be contacted to participate in this discussion. Mr. Bruce Hyer – MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North – has expressed interest in attending to listen to the concerns of people living in northwestern Ontario.
Diane Orihel, Leader of the Coalition to Save ELA
Tel: 204-979-2395, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @DianeSaveELA, #SaveELA
The Coalition to Save ELA is a nonpartisan group of scientists and citizens concerned about the future of Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area. For more information: http://www.saveela.org
Media Relations, Coalition to Save ELA
239-955 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3G 0P9
Tel: 204-979-2395, Email: email@example.com
Together we can save Canada's Experimental Lakes Area!