Posts Tagged ‘experimental lakes area’

October 26, 2013: Diane Orihel, founder and director of the Coalition to Save ELA, speaks to a workshop in Winnipeg on water quality sponsored bu Idle No More Manitoba. Photo: Paul S. Graham

October 26, 2013: Diane Orihel, founder and director of the Coalition to Save ELA, speaks to a workshop in Winnipeg on water quality sponsored by Idle No More Manitoba. Photo: Paul S. Graham

Dr. Diane Orihel is the founder of the Coalition to Save ELA.The Coalition to Save ELA is a nonpartisan group of scientists and citizens concerned about the future of Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area.

Located in northwestern Ontario, the ELA consists of 58 small lakes and their watersheds that have been set aside for research. Since 1968, these lakes have provided scientists with a natural laboratory to study the physical, chemical, and biological processes in living lake ecosystems. Research conducted in the ELA has been critical to maintaining the quality of fresh water in Canada and many other countries.

Last year, the federal government announced plans to close the facility in 2013. Supporters of the ELA mounted a vigorous national and international campaign to maintain federal support. They have been partially successful, insofar as the Ontario government has committed to a short-term agreement to work with Winnipeg’s International Institute for Sustainable Development to spend up to $2 million a year. Under the agreement, IISD will oversee lake monitoring and the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans will continue its remediation work.

Celebrations would be premature. According to Orihel, “it is now illegal to conduct whole eco-system experiments at ELA.” And whole ecosystem experimentation is precisely what put ELA “on the world map,” according to Orihel. And hence, the campaign to save the ELA continues.

Orihel spoke recently at a workshop on water quality and oil fracking. This workshop was sponsored by Idle No More Manitoba as a part of its Red Feather Campaign in solidarity with the people of Elsipogtog, New Brunswick, who have been resisting plans to frack for oil in their territory.

Her topic was “The Five Main threats to Lake Winnipeg.” These threats, in the order in which she presented them, are nutrient pollution. toxic chemicals, climate change, invasive species and the “federal government under the leadership of Stephen Harper.”

I recorded the workshop on Oct. 26, 2013 at Neechi Commons in Winnipeg.


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There is no shortage of Stop Harper videos on YouTube. A recent YouTube search yielded 3,740 hits, and I’m sure one could find more with a more refined search. Ever since Brigette DePape interrupted the Speech from the Throne with her iconic stop sign, activists have been inspired to amplify the message in on placards, T-shirts and in song.

What follows is a rundown of videos I’ve shot in and around Winnipeg. I invite readers to share their favorites in the comments section.


Stop Harper . . . the musical

August 2, 2012: Stephen Harper was in Gimli to make political hay out of a pledge to commit $18 million to dealing with the environmental problems facing Lake Winnipeg. After gutting  environmental protection laws in Canada to make way for dirty oil pipeline megaprojects and cancelling funding to the Experimental Lakes Area, we doubted his sincerity.

Despite our best efforts, we never got to see Harper close-up. In fact, his security detail took great pains to ensure he did not have to engage with anyone either than party faithful and selected media. But we did come up with this great song . . .

Hey Harper #StopHarper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s political motto must be “so many people to annoy – so little time.” Whether it is gutting environmental protection laws, wasting money on fighter jets that no one else wants to buy, denying health care to refugees or shutting down Parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote, Harper has been a disaster for Canada.

In this clip, Winnipeg’s renowned Flaming Trolleys Marching Band provide words and the rhythms that will be appreciated by any Canadian that is marching for democracy.

National Stop Harper Day in Winnipeg

Traditionally a day of celebration, Canada Day 2012 became National Stop Harper Day for Canadians in 12 cities because of the regressive policies of the Harper government, most notably Bill C-38. In Winnipeg, citizens held a Funeral for Canada in the Osborne Village neighbourhood, a display of activist art at the St. Norbert Arts Centre and a Vigil for Canada on the outskirts of The Forks National Historic Site.

Stop Cuts to Refugee Health Care in Canada

Winnipeg, June 18, 2012: Opposition to the Harper government’s plan to cut health care for refugees reverberated across Canada. Joining in a National Day of Action Against Refugee Health Cuts, about 500 Winnipeggers rallied at The Forks to hear from health care professionals and newcomers to Canada about the threats posed by Harper’s plans.

In this clip, Dr. Michael Dillon outlines the impressive line-up of opposition to these cuts, the outcomes of which, according to Canadian Doctors for Medicare, “could range from diabetics not getting their insulin, to children not receiving immunizations, to letting people succumb to heart attacks.”

Joyce has a choice! Let her hear your voice!

Conservative MP Joyce Bateman (Winnipeg South Centre) had a choice: stand up for the democratic rights of her constituents – and all Canadians – or vote for Bill C-38 – a draconian bill that included a budget which cuts a wide range of necessary services with amendments to over 70 existing laws. She chose the latter. By cramming all of these changes into an omnibus bill and rushing it through Parliament’s Finance Committee, Harper prevented MPs from examining and debating these measures in detail. Once again Harper showed his contempt for democracy.

In this clip, marchers gathered at Bateman’s constituency office to ask her to vote against Bill C-38.