Sunday, June 14, 2009

The late great Great Lakes

Bob alerts us to this CBC headline : Canada, U.S. will renegotiate Great Lakes water treaty

"Canada and the United States will renegotiate the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Clinton, who was joined by Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, crossed the border for celebrations marking 100 years of the Boundary Waters Treaty between the two countries.
"We have to update it to reflect new knowledge, new technologies and, unfortunately, new threats," Clinton said.
"The rivers, the lakes, the streams, the watersheds along our boundary do not belong to one nation, they belong to all of us," she said at celebrations overlooking the falls."

This sort of "all your water is belong to us" chat freaks us right out as we immediately imagine Canadian water being shipped south so that desert communities in the southern US can continue to hose down their driveways twice a day. And so it should.

But the US State Dept transcript, the DFAIT website, and tv news video have Clinton using the rather less alarming term "amend" rather than "renegotiate" to describe the new talks as needed to update bilateral action on "pollution, increased population and urbanization, land use practices, invasive species, new chemicals and the impacts of climate change."

Well it is the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement after all and certainly attention to these issues is long overdue. Obama has earmarked $475 million for Great Lakes rejuvenation, which is $475 million more than we have.
But we would have been a lot happier if Lawrence Cannon had not had to stop himself today from referring to Van Loan as the Minister of Homeland Security in a toadying speech that included the comment : "Our country’s prosperity and security are inseparable from those of the United States".

We also would have been happier if both his and Clinton's remarks on water quality did not segue mid-sentence into Canadian complaints about "Buy American" provisions - as if one were dependent on the other, as if "amending" the Great Lakes agreement was being offered up by Canada in exchange for a US rollback on "Buy American".
WATERLIFE - the NFB interactive site for an amazing film by Kevin McMahon


Anonymous said...

Cue US "environmentalists" explaining to us that "climate change has no borders".


West End Bob said...

"I was going to say homeland security"

Why didn't Cannon go ahead and say it? He would have been more believable, as that's what it amounts to.

Thanks for the follow-up, Alison . . . .

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