THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN OF CANADA

Established 1893

The Honourable Keith Ashfield

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Parliament Bldgs.

Ottawa

keith.ashfield@parl.gc.ca

Dear Minister Ashfield,

The National Council of Women of Canada  (NCWC) finds it unfathonable, and unacceptable,  that your Ministry would cancel the  internationally renowned Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) program, which has for many  years been a model of how scientific  research, properly structured and invested in,  can be of  invaluable service to Canadians and many millions of people  world-wide.

NCWC’s interest in the environment and the health and welfare of Canadians as it relates to the ELA  is long standing. For instance in 1978, with regard to the damages of acid rain on our fresh water lakes,  we noted that ” S04, when associated with Hf1 , together forming sulphuric acid , has been documented to have caused irreversible ecological  damage in waters with low buffering capacity  in the Precambrian shield  areas of Canada, Scandinavia and the USA” . We then asked the government of Canada to  ” Investigate potential human health hazards of  acid rain and to continue research programs to determine the current state of representative components of the natural environments; continuously monitor the environmental effects of acid rain ; and, study the occurrence and effects of long-range transport of S02 and its products within   and into Canada, including their origin, their geographical extent and their overall effects on natural aquatic and terrestrial systems, the quantities of S02 which are assimilable by geographic regions , without undue harm , and the likelihood of recovery of systems  from over exposure to acid rain.”  NCWC went on to ask that ” an international, bi-lateral agreement  with the United States on acid rain control and  abatement be persued .”

It was  ELA’s “lakes-based,  whole-ecosystem”  approach , conducted at its research  facility in an area  bounded by  58 lakes in the Precambrian shield in  northwestern Ontario where acid rain has been a significant concern, that  resulted in  the 1990  US-Canada Air Quality Agreement . In turn, this led  to a reduction in acid rain in the 1990s and the agreement  was expanded in 2000 to include  transboundary smog emissions under the Ozone Annex.

ELA   research has covered not only acid rain , but other  issues that NCWC has had concerns about over very many years, such as   green house  gas  emissions and climate change, mercury pollution,  aquaculture,  watershed  and lake protections,   and the preservation and enhancement of ecosystems ” whole-ecosystem ” approach .

Canada, as the lead  initiator of the ELA, with  Ontario as a partner,  should be justly proud of such an internationally successful project,  which  has resulted not only in important treaties such as the US-Canada Air Quality Treaty, , but  in hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific articles, data reports and books, which have led to the development of  sound scientific policies, plans and programs in Canada and around the world.  And, on a practical monetary level ELA  has received   excellent reviews from Canada’s Auditor General’s office and over the last 10 years a federal investment in $4 million in new infrastructure.

NCWC members across Canada applaud  the important work and accomplishments of the ELA . We urge you as Minister of Fisheries to intervene personally to protect this unique and irreplaceable agency , which has such a tremendous  history of successful, ground-breaking, fiscally responsible  environmental research that has helped Canada be a leader in protecting our  environment, and that of other countries.

In closing, we respectfully ask that in making any determination regarding such an intervention, that you consider the views of the National  Council of Women of Canada , a Council which represents hundreds of thousand of  Canadians  through its 19 (?) nationally federated organizations, with provincial Council federates in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario  and quebec , 14 local Councils across Canada and study groups in Prince Edward Island and Oakville, Ontario.

Sincerely,

Denise Matok, President

c.c. The Hon. Peter Kent, Minister of Environment

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