Harper Government Once Again Serving its Corporate Benefactors by Shutting Down Experimental Lakes Research Facility

Scientists from Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institute, and other elite research centres worldwide are condemning the Harper government for shutting down a world-class freshwater research program that Federal officials say, "is no longer aligned with the department's mandate and is not responding to our research priorities." The famous research facility in Ontario is the latest victim of federal budget cuts. Unions said this was a fragment of the more than 1,000 notices sent Thursday to Fisheries and Canadian Coast Guard employees about imminent layoffs.

What then are those priorities?  Dr. David Schindler, now at the University of Alberta, who is an internationally renowned freshwater scientist, said "It's obvious in the changes to the Fisheries Act and the CEAA (Canadian Environmental Assessment Act) they are hellbent on doing whatever they can that, in their feeble minds, will save them some money." he concluded his remarks by saying, "They're obviously closing the site because they don't want to be pestered by science."

David Krabbenhoft, a Wisconsin-based geochemist with the United States Geological Survey, points out that the mining industry, for instance, hated the ELA. Krabbenhoft, who worked for years on the mercury project, said the research was specifically designed to answer a vexing policy question -- what real good would it do to crack down on mercury emissions when the Earth's soil and water are already contaminated with centuries of mercury buildup? By deliberately adding mercury to a lake and to the surrounding watershed and watching the effects for a decade, researchers found that, in fact, curtailing emissions does a world of good. Gold mining companies everywhere were forced to curtail their rampant mercury use because of this research.

In another landmark experiment in the 1970s, researchers divided up a lake into two parts to study the effects of phosphates on the water, assuming that they were behind the phenomenon of oxygen-depriving blue-green algae. Companies who made and sold household detergents and shampoos rigorously denied that phosphates were the reason that lakes were becoming green and murky rather than remaining crystal clear. Of course the researchers showed that one side of the lake turned green the other remained clear costing those companies millions to change their products.

The ELA also pioneered the investigations into acid rain which ended up costing the corporations billions to clean up their acts. The Harper government has billions of dollars to spend on ridiculous programs like the F-35 jets and prisons in their favorite ridings both of which curry favor with their benefactors and kickbacks for themselves but consistently gut any program that protects the environment from the pollution caused by the corporations who support the Conservatives. Harper and his corporate ass-kissing cronies are the worst thing that ever happened to Canada.