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This article was published 6/7/2015 (1727 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA – A multimillion-dollar research centre to study oil spills in the Arctic will go up on the shores of Hudson Bay, the federal and provincial governments announced today.
Federal regional minister Shelly Glover and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger are in Churchill to announce $22.1 million towards the facility, which has a $31.7 million pricetag.
The Canada Foundation for Innovation will invest $12.4 million, and the provincial government $9.7 million. The rest is expected to come from private donors and other public sources.
The Churchill Marine Observatory was proposed last year by the University of Manitoba to study the detection, impact and mitigation of oil spills in sea ice. It will build two large tanks or ponds on the Churchill estuary on the main shipping channel across Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait. As many as 100 researchers a year are expected from all over the world to converge on Churchill to conduct research.
One of the tanks will be used for testing and the other as a control.
The risk of oil spills in the Arctic has increased with the melting of sea ice and the increased number of ships toting goods in and out of Churchill. However the plan to ship oil through the port was kyboshed last year by Omnitrax after conversations with the province.
The Churchill announcement is one of several the federal government is making in Manitoba today, prompting critics to call out the government for election campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime.
There are at least four other announcements planned in Winnipeg today and tomorrow.
Government House Leader Peter Van Loan has been dispatched to the RM of Rosser where he will extol the virtues of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s program to install defibrillators in arenas across the country. His event, at the Little Mountain Sportsplex, mirrors a national event by Health Minister Rona Ambrose in Calgary.
The first phase of the program assessed more than 3,500 arenas across Canada, and the program is now in its second phase, accepting applications and installing the equipment. The program is run in conjunction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Minister of State for Finance Kevin Sorenson will be joined by Elmwood-Transcona MP Lawrence Toet at The Forks to announce funding for the Forks site.
Van Loan and Toet, who is facing a stiff challenge in his riding from the NDP’s Daniel Blaikie, will be on deck again Tuesday for an announcement at Red River College.
Minister of State for Social Development Candice Bergen is getting in on the announcement action with an event planned at the Actionmarguerite – Valade personal care home in Saint Vital Tuesday to discuss investing to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
Opposition parties have been heavily critical of the government for using taxpayers money to go on a pre-election spending spree.
"Good grief," said Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin. "It has been a veritable orgy of pork barrelling since the day Parliament adjourned."
Martin said it appears as if the number of announcements is increasing as the Conservative poll numbers go down.
"It has the stink of desperation," said Martin. "The election better come soon because we can't afford many more days like this."
Updated on Monday, July 6, 2015 at 12:11 PM CDT: Updates with full writethru