Canada and Ontario One Step Closer
to Protecting The World's Largest Freshwater Lake
Posted November 23, 2005
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 23, 2005) - Canada
and Ontario have taken an important step toward the establishment
of a national marine conservation area of Canada (NMCA)
in Lake Superior, by signing an agreement in principle
on the future transfer of the lakebed and lands within
the proposed NMCA from the province to Canada.
The agreement signing was announced today by the Right
Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, Dalton
McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Stephane
Dion, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible
for Parks Canada, and the Honourable David Ramsay, Ontario
Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible
for Aboriginal Affairs. Both governments will now work
toward reaching a final agreement and the establishment
of an NMCA in Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater
lake by surface area. The lake holds close to 10 per cent
of the global supply of surface fresh water and over half
of the water in the Great Lakes.
"This agreement represents an important achievement
in the implementation of Canada's federal Marine Protected
Areas strategy and our Action Plan to Protect Canada's
Natural Heritage," said Prime Minister Martin. "Together
with Ontario, we will create a legacy for all Canadians,
as well as new economic and employment opportunities for
residents of Lake Superior's north shore communities."
"Today's announcement recognizes that Ontario's
natural heritage is a national treasure," said Premier
McGuinty. "Our government is committed to preserving
and protecting our province's water and land for future
generations because it is the right thing to do - both
economically and environmentally."
"The sheer size and magnificence of this Great Lake
shape the special connection that Canadians as well as
visitors from around the world have with it today. It
instils a sense of respect in even the most skilled captain
or accomplished paddler," said Minister Dion. "The
positive public response to our NMCA initiative confirms
that local people want to see the natural beauty and ruggedness
of this extraordinary seascape preserved for future generations,
in a way that will allow it to be used for recreational
enjoyment while strengthening the economic fabric of the
"Establishing a national marine conservation area
of Canada in Lake Superior will build on the extensive
work Ontario has already done in protecting the cultural,
recreational, and natural values of the islands and shoreline
through Ontario's Great Lakes Heritage Coast Initiative,"
said Minister Ramsay. "It also demonstrates Ontario's
continued commitment to protecting one of the most valuable
water resources in our province."
"Today is a great day for Canadians and residents
of the north shore," said the Honourable Joe Comuzzi,
MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North. "It marks a milestone
in our ongoing work to establish an NMCA in Lake Superior."
With the signing of the agreement in principle, negotiations
with Ontario toward a final agreement to establish an
NMCA in Lake Superior will now begin.
Discussions will also be continued with First Nations
in the region to reach a shared understanding regarding
their future role in the management and operation of the
NMCA, the economic opportunities it will create for Aboriginal
communities, and the protection of cultural resources.
Local people and First Nations will be actively engaged
as stewards of the NMCA.
The proposed NMCA would extend from Thunder Cape at the
tip of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in the west, to
Bottle Point just east of Terrace Bay, and out to the
Canada-U.S. border. It would include the waters of Black
Bay and Nipigon Bay, and encompass just over 10,000 square
kilometres of lakebed as well as the overlying waters,
along with a number of islands, shoals and some of the
When it is ultimately created, the NMCA in Lake Superior
will become Canada's largest national marine conservation
area, and the first to be established under the Canada
National Marine Conservation Areas Act, which became law
in June 2002.
"This initiative is an example of the Government's
new Project Green initiative to create a healthier environment
and a more vigorous economy by uniting all Canadians to
build a more sustainable future," said Minister Dion.
NMCAs are part of Parks Canada's family of protected
natural areas. The goal is to represent the natural and
cultural characteristics of each natural marine region
of Canada, and to demonstrate how resource protection
can exist in harmony and balance with sustainable use.
Research and monitoring activities planned for the Lake
Superior NMCA will also increase knowledge about this
large freshwater ecosystem, while interpretive programming
and outreach activities will help Canadians to more fully
understand and explore Lake Superior.
(Also available on the Internet at www.pc.gc.ca or at