Sunday, April 28, 2013

Some Thoughts From An Ontario Perspective - UPDATED

While acknowledging that Ontario politics is likely of little interest to those living outside the province, I think there is much wisdom in former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill's observation that "All politics is local." If it affects a constituent 'where he or she lives,' either in the physical or the mental/philosophical sense, I regard much of what occurs in our country politically as local.

For example, it was local politics when, in his ongoing attempt to hobble scientific study and muzzle voices of reason and expertise that demonstrate his policies to be fraudulent, retrograde and dangerous, Stephen Harper ended federal funding for the Experimental Lakes Area. A world-renowned facility conducting peerless research on global threats to the environment and to ecosystems, its defunding/closure affects all of us due to its negative impact on most people's values and the pervasive nature of environmental degradation.

And it is here that the Ontario connection becomes relevant. This week, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that Ontario will provide funding to keep the research facility open for the rest of this year, and is reaching out to Manitoba and others to try to ensure its long-term viability.

With this context in mind, I am taking the liberty of reproducing a letter from a Star reader found in today's edition that I think speaks for many across the country:

Premier Kathleen Wynne cautions NDP, Tories against ‘unnecessary’ election, April 24

I was moved to write for the first time to Premier Kathleen Wynne on Thursday. I wished to congratulate and thank her for her intention to spearhead the saving of the Experimental Lakes Area research facility from death by federal funding cuts. I’m sure there are many thousands of people across the country who, like me, are greatly relieved to hear this news.

Stephen Harper’s decision to cut off funds to this invaluable research facility has been widely denounced in Canada and abroad. The federal government’s foolish (and dangerous) move comes as no surprise, following as it does upon the heels of a lengthy list of examples of the wilful gouging of Canada’s environmental protections. The apparent reason for shedding responsibility for any part of the ELA research facility is so the Conservatives can save money to be returned to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada, both of which have been robbed by the Conservatives in the first place. But in this decision our Prime Minister’s motive is transparent. We all know that he will not allow successful scientific projects, especially those connected to the study of effects of climate change, to carry on with any kind of government support.

So thank you, Premier Wynne.

As reported Wednesday morning in the Vancouver Sun, the founding director of the Experimental Lakes Area facility, David Schindler, expressed his thanks by saying “the premier’s intervention is ‘like a ray of sunshine in the Dark Ages.’ ” How true.

Patricia Morris, Toronto

UPDATE: This morning's Toronto Star has an interesting editorial on the situation, which you can read by clicking here.

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