The Great Lakes are a trillion-dollar asset and their protection merits a lot more government funding than the pittance currently assigned.
That plea was addressed to Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller at a public forum on the Great Lakes at Hamilton City Hall last night. It came from Brockton Councillor Dan Gieruszak, who believes more would be spent protecting the lakes if some government agency or university would calculate the economic value of ground and surface water.
Gieruszak, a politician from the municipality that includes Walkerton, site of Canada's worst outbreak of illness caused by E. coli-contaminated drinking water, compared the funding to other agencies to underline his point. He said health care takes 42 cents of every dollar spent by the Ontario government and education 20 cents, while the Environment Ministry gets only a third of a cent.
"We recognize our health-care system as a unique competitive advantage in the world. We need to recognize ground and surface water in the same way."