Water deal limits sovereignty: lawyer
Published on Canada.com on June 30, 2005
TORONTO -- Critics say a government proposal to significantly
limit water diversions from the Great Lakes falls far
short of protecting Canada's precious fresh water.
They say it also excludes aboriginal rights to the watershed.
Broadcast News has obtained a copy of the tentative deal,
which will be released Thursday by the Ontario government.
It will impose limits on diversion projects in Ontario,
Quebec and seven of the eight Great Lakes states.
But environmental lawyer Steven Shrybman says it fails
to protect Canada's sovereignty over the basin from U-S
states, which can still license water without consent
from the province or from Ottawa.
First Nations in the Great Lakes areas say they're furious
at being excluded from the process.
They passed a resolution Wednesday to take any and all
means to defend their claim.
Measures to protect the Great Lakes are being put under
public scrutiny in Ontario over the next two months.
The province's Natural Resources Minister David Ramsey
says the measures provide a virtual ban on water diversions
and strictly regulate conservation.
But there are exceptions to diversions.
Ramsey says Ontario had to bow to U.S. pressure to allow
some communities within the Great Lakes basin to take
water for their public systems.
The draft agreement involves the provinces of Ontario
and Quebec and seven of the eight U-S states that border
the Great Lakes.
Indiana is apparently the single holdout but Ramsey says
he's confident they will agree to the terms.
Public information meetings begin Tuesday in Windsor,
St. Catharines, London, Kitchener, Kingston, Thunder Bay,
Sault Ste. Marie and Toronto.