Canada, U.S. to strengthen protection of Great Lakes water
Canada and the United States will update a key treaty to strengthen the protection of the mutual Great Lakes water amid rising threats facing the world's largest freshwater system, government officials from both countries announced Saturday, Xinhua reported.
U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon made the announcement at the Canadian side of the Great Lakes during a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, a treaty aimed to settle water-related disputes between the two countries, reports reaching here said.
Both sides agreed to renegotiate the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which was first signed in 1972 to cooperate efforts to maintain the quality of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem. The agreement, last amended in 1983, is no longer sufficient, they said.
"It's crucial that we honor the terms of the Great Lakes agreement as it stands today. But we also have to update it to reflect new knowledge, new technology, and, unfortunately, new threats," Clinton said at a news conference at the Canadian border city of Niagara Falls.
"Today the Great Lakes face a number of new challenges and as a result, we are taking new steps to protect them. We will work together to make sure that citizens of both countries have access to safe, clean, healthy water," Cannon said at the joint event.
The Great Lakes are still at risk from current and emerging challenges such as increased population and urbanization, land use practices, invasive species, new chemicals and the impacts of climate change, states a press release from the Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
On her first trip to Canada as the U. S. Secretary of State, Clinton also tried to address this northern neighbor's concern of the "rising tide of protectionism" in the U. S., pledging that the "Buy American" provision in the stimulus package will not interfere with U.S. trade obligations.
"We also have been very focused on ensuring that nothing interferes with the trade between our countries...nothing in our legislation will interfere with our international trade obligations, including with Canada," she said at the press conference.
Canada has on many occasions complained about the "Buy American" provision of the U. S. stimulus package, which requires all public works projects funded by the money to use iron, steel and other goods made in the United States.
During their meeting after the ceremony, the two officials also talked about other international issues, including the two countries' missions in Afghanistan, security issues in Pakistan, the ongoing global economic crisis and others, Canadian officials said.