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Great Lakes Article:

Press Release: Government of Canada Responds to IJC’s Recommendations On Great Lakes Water Quality
Posted on Environment Canada (www.ec.gc.ca) on October 21, 2005

OTTAWA, Ontario, October 21, 2005 – The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of the Environment, today announced the release of Canada’s Response to the Recommendations in the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) Twelfth Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality.

“The sustainability of the Great Lakes is an important Government of Canada priority through the implementation of Project Green, the broad environmental vision that links Canada’s economic competitiveness and prosperity to a sustainable future,” said Minister Dion. “Many actions have taken place to address the concerns raised by the IJC and the Government of Canada is committed to continued action for the preservation of this invaluable resource. The Great Lakes are the source of drinking water for millions of our citizens and vital to the agricultural and industrial sectors in Ontario.”

“The IJC has an important role to play in the management of Canada-United States transboundary water issues and Canada appreciates the advice the Commission provides to governments through their Great Lakes biennial reports,” said Foreign Affairs Canada Minister Pierre Pettigrew, who transmitted the Canadian response to the Commission.

Mercury reduction programs have had considerable success in reducing all forms of mercury. Canada is also taking steps to deal with aquatic invasive species issues in all Canadian waters, including the Great Lakes, and is committed to addressing invasive species in co-operation with the U.S. and the IJC. Canada will continue to work with the provinces and its U.S. partners to further improve the conditions in the Great Lakes so that human health is protected.

The terms of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) also require the governments of Canada and the U.S. to undertake a comprehensive review of the operation and effectiveness of the Agreement following every third IJC biennial report. This requirement was formally triggered with the release of the IJC’s 12th Biennial Report on September 13, 2004.

The GLWQA, a model of binational co-operation for more than 30 years, established shared objectives and a framework for domestic and co-ordinated binational action. The current GLWQA review provides an opportunity to ensure the Agreement continues to be a visionary statement that will guide not only governments, but also members of the Great Lakes community, in the continued protection and restoration of the Great Lakes.

This fall, the IJC will hold public meetings in seven Canadian communities and seven U.S. communities to gather input on the review of the GLWQA. The IJC’s report on its findings from these public sessions will be used by Canada and the U.S. in their comprehensive review of the Agreement, which will commence by March 2006.

Project Green is a set of policies and programs aimed at supporting a sustainable environment, healthy population and competitive economy. It addresses environmental and competitiveness issues for the 21st century, including measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to increase fuel and energy efficiency and to increase Canadian and foreign markets for environment technologies, which can drive our economy and protect our environment and health. Through Project Green’s policies and programs, Canada can set an international example by developing effective model solutions for the long-term health of the planet.

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