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GLIN==> Ontario, Quebec join Great Lakes Commission Board

Provincial representatives gain associate member status

Ontario, Québec take seats on Great Lakes Commission Board

Ann Arbor, Mich
. —  In a move to enhance joint management of the binational Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system, the Great Lakes Commission has welcomed Ontario and Québec to its board of directors.

Acting unanimously, the board recently voted to extend associate member status to the chairs of the Commission’s Ontario and Québec delegations. The move was announced at the Great Lakes Commission’s recent Semiannual Meeting in Québec City.

“This symbolizes the continuing evolution toward achieving the original intent of the Great Lakes Basin Compact, which is full participation for Ontario and Québec,” said Great Lakes Commission Chairman Nat Robinson, referring to the 1955 agreement that established the Commission. “We’ve benefited from provincial participation in recent years and this moves us toward greater cooperation and partnership in jointly addressing the challenges and opportunities of managing this shared resource, the greatest system of fresh water on the face of the Earth.”

As associate members of the board of directors, the chairs of the Ontario and Québec delegations will be in a position to participate in board policy discussions with the eight state members and share their perspectives on matters affecting the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system. Ontario is represented by Bill Carr, team leader of Ontario's Western Hemisphere Office of International Relations and Protocol; and Quebec by Maurice Boisvert, government representative to Québec's Chicago Delegation.

The Semiannual Meeting featured an additional milestone, as Chairman Robinson was honored by the Commission and his governor, Scott McCallum of Wisconsin, for a decade of service to the Great Lakes Commission.

In other action, Commissioners unanimously adopted five resolutions spelling out Commission policy and initiatives on issues ranging from border security to environmental restoration. In those resolutions, the Commission:

• Called on Congress to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to restore and delist toxic hot spots, or “Areas of Concern,” and to embrace Commission priorities for cleanup identified in the Commission's Great Lakes Program to Ensure Environmental and Economic Prosperity.

• Commended the U.S. and Canadian governments for addressing border issues through the Smart Border Declaration, a 30-point action plan designed to facilitate high volume border trade while providing security against terrorism.

• Supported the Great Lakes Navigation System Study, which will examine potential capital improvements to optimize Great Lakes navigation, and called for full involvement of the governments of Canada, Québec and Ontario, and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, in the study effort.

• Commited to pursue opportunities to promote the development of regional, national and binational energy policy as it relates to use and management of the resources of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system.

• Endorsed the notion of a “Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forum,” which would bring together representatives of leading regional and binational public agencies to explore and pursue matters of common concern.

The full Commission membership will next meet at its Annual Meeting, to be held Oct. 14-15, 2002, in Cleveland, Ohio. Contact the Great Lakes Commission for details at 734-665-9135 or visit www.glc.org.


Contact:  Mike Donahue
Phone:  734-665-9135
E-mail:  mdonahue@glc.org

The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Nathaniel E. Robinson (Wisconsin), is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency created by state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents.  The Commission consists of state legislators, agency officials and governors’ appointees from its eight member states.  Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.”  The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests.  The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.