Community reaction to closing of high Arctic lab
The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory is located at Eureka, Nunavut on Ellesmere Island, at a latitude of 80 degrees north. (CANDAC)The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in Eureka will cease year-round operations on April 30.
PEARL made key measurements last winter used to detect and analyze the largest ozone hole ever detected over the Arctic.
Environment Minister Peter Kent said that his department provides some direct support worth about $250,000 toward the polar lab's $1.5-million annual budget. He said the scientists who work at it failed to obtain grants for the rest of the money needed to keep it going.
That explanation hasn't sat well with members of the CBC Community, many of whom blamed the government for forcing the lab to shut down.
Commenter AlanGallant said he has worked in Eureka at the PEARL lab.
"Compared to U.S., Japanese, British, German, etc. programs, our atmospheric research is done on the thinnest of shoe string budgets.
"PEARL savings are a drop in the financial bucket to the federal government but a significant loss to science and to the Canadian people.
"This short-sighted move needs not just to be reversed; the budget at PEARL should be improved. Lack of basic research of this sort costs money and impacts the health of Canadians in the future."
Other comments also questioned the priorities of the government when it comes to science.
- "With the coming budget, this is only the start. More science-based programs will certainly be dismantled. Conservatives operate and implement policy via blind faith and bad judgment. Facts just get in the way," said NLcoaster.
- "More reason for the United States, Russia and even Denmark to question Canada's sovereignty of the Arctic," said zekekit.
- "For 2010-2011 the federal government provided $197 million in support of sport in Canada. Multiple and diverse listings of sports that received financial support including $2.8 million to the Canadian Water Polo Association. Priorities?" wrote Grouchathome.
Some of the commenters, however, said that such cut backs are necessary when the government is looking at cutting programs in an economic downturn.
- "People will blame this on Harper, however, remember we are running a huge deficit, it's either more debt to pay for these programs, or more taxes. Harper can't simply wave a wand and rectify the global economy not matter how much the NDP thinks that is how the economy works," said tdot34.
- "This is effectively a government program. All government programs need to be periodically reviewed and cancelled if we can't afford them in light of current priorities," wrote DavidFrumforPM.
Other members of the Community weren't buying that argument.
- "$1.5 million is chump change in terms of research. Even in a recession, we should never back out of scientific research and discoveries at the risk of entering a dark age," said BurnabyDude.
- "CBC's Greg Weston found money being wasted by THREE 'agencies' with nothing at all to do except redecorate their offices and hire expensive consultants to write their annual reports. Each one used more than enough money to fund this very important scientific research station. This closure is criminal," said Yamamba.
Thanks for all your comments.
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