Mr. Speaker, I would like to share with you my experience as it pertains to this matter.
In 2004, I went back to school to complete a BA in the pure sciences. It was a wonderful experience to submit to the rigour of scientific inquiry. My studies in agricultural and environmental sciences were a wonderful experience because of the team work and the quest for answers to our questions. It is interesting to note that when we asked a question or formulated a hypothesis, other questions surfaced. That is what science is all about.
Knowledge is rooted in science. When we engage in scientific inquiry or conduct experiments, we are searching for science. These studies allowed me to look at the world in a different way and to take another look at the universe, whether it was an infinitely small universe or an infinitely immense universe, in microbiology or in physics. These studies provide the opportunity to see the world in a different light.
The 2011 election gave me the opportunity to become an MP and sit in Parliament. In my opinion, Parliament is a place for debate where we ask ourselves questions and look for the best solutions to the important issues brought before us. Parliament Hill and the public service employees who serve Canadians exist to help parliamentarians find the answers they need so that the laws introduced in the House of Commons are based on facts, evidence and probative data from Statistics Canada or scientific research.
Public research is interesting. As my colleague said earlier, research and development is carried out by universities and industries, and also by the government. That is called public research. In Canada, for a number of decades, we have been interested in various subjects. We are a Nordic country, with a particular climate. Thus, we are interested in meteorological data. In fact, Canada began establishing meteorological stations in the mid-1800s and even earlier.
These data have been collected over the years and allow us to see daily weather trends. Meteorological data allow us to see if it is time for farmers to plant or, later in the year, to harvest, or if we should be wearing a winter coat or a raincoat. When these meteorological data are collected over a number of years, they also reveal climate trends.
It is the same for environmental data. Environmental monitoring must take place over a number of years.
The beauty of public scientific research is that it provides the data needed to track trends. That is what the Experimental Lakes Area did. Since 1968, when this program was established, the region has served as a living laboratory to answer our questions about, say, lakes that were dead. What was the cause? What would fix the problem? The ELA allowed us—and will allow us, if the government wakes up and realizes the need to continue—to collect essential data. It is very important for us as parliamentarians and Canadians.
I would also like to point out that while I was in Vancouver, I was one of the only parliamentarians who attended the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference. I had the opportunity to meet with science professionals who denounced the muzzling of scientists, which we have already talked about. I spoke about my studies and the importance of being able to debate issues and how to address them.
Then, last spring, I participated in a protest against muzzling scientists. It was very exciting to see a number of scientists rise up during the protest to denounce this.