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Great Lakes Article:

Water deal limits sovereignty: lawyer
Broadcast News
Published on 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.




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