The Minister of Sustainable Development says the Pallister government is a supporter of the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the Experimental Lakes Area
In Estimates on Monday May 14, I asked the Minister for Sustainable Development about her government's approach to IISD and ELA. My question and the Minister's response is below (from Hansard).
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): My question to the minister: I know that she commented a little earlier this afternoon, favourably, about the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and I presumed that that probably includes Experimental Lakes Area which is part of that. And it is, of course, an international resource and very critical to us understanding fresh water, and I just give the minister an opportunity to give us an update on what's happening and how the funding is going, to ELA, partly because it wasn't listed as a line item, initially.
Ms. Squires: I appreciate the member's–member opposite's question on the Experimental Lakes Area, and I was pleased to join the member at a reception not too long at the home of Gail Asper on the celebration–the anniversary of the ELA and I was really pleased to join our former premier, His Honour Gary Filmon, at that event where he was acknowledged for the work that he did as premier in the '90s for supporting the work that is conducted at the Experimental Lakes Area, and our government certainly is committed to the research and the work that they do at the ELA and are really pleased to be partnering with the IISD on ongoing research that is conducted there.
I have tremendous respect for a lot of the scientists and was very pleased to have Dimple Roy from IISD attend committee last week on Bill 7 and to provide her comments for The Sustainable Watersheds Act, and she had a lot of comments to say about the ongoing sustainability of our watersheds and the research that is conducted at ELA and how those two really go hand in hand, and we think that the longevity of ELA is integral to the work that we hope to accomplish with Bill 7. And I hope members opposite will support our government's initiative to move towards a more sustainable watershed management approach in the province of Manitoba and will indeed vote in favour of Bill 7.
Ms. Roy's comments, based on their research at ELA, in regards to a variety of topics, including nutrient management, was very significant and worth a lot of consideration, and so I rely very heavily on the work coming out of ELA and from IISD. Our department is certainly refocused to take an evidence‑based approach to all of our decisions and our policies, and without the ELA, we wouldn't be able to have the evidence and the science that we need to make those major decisions regarding our water management and particularly our sustainable watersheds initiatives.
So I'm very pleased to be continuing the support. I know my predecessor, the former minister of sustainable development, had gone out to the Experimental Lakes Area early in her mandate and made a fairly significant announcement to commit resources to the ongoing longevity of the ELA. And our government, we're continuing–and as the new Minister of Sustainable Development, I'm pleased to continue on with the good work of my predecessor and have ongoing collaboration and commitment to ELA.
And, to that end, we do provide the support. It does go through our enhanced support through the International Institute for Sustainable Development and that is how we ensure that the funding for the ELA flows. That's the regular initiative, and then, of course, there's other initiatives that have in the past come up as sort of one‑offs, and we'll continue to be working with them very collaboratively to ensure that they're–they've been provided with the adequate resources. And to that end, I am pleased to be taking a trip out there myself as–to be going out with the IISD to see some of the work first-hand at the experimental lakes in the very near future, and so I look forward to going out there and seeing the good work first-hand.
But I do want to take this opportunity to congratulate everybody who has worked on ensuring the longevity of the Experimental Lakes Area and the good research and work that they do that will really benefit future generations of Manitobans in a very profound way. So we're proud to support all that work that goes on in that very critical area of research and development.