TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - The Great Lakes are one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth—they are critical to the health and culture of the 40 million Canadians and Americans who live in the basin.
The Great Lakes Public Forum, co-hosted by Canada and the United States, is an opportunity for the federal governments to engage directly with citizens on Great Lakes water quality issues that matter to them most.
Today, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Catherine McKenna, joined hundreds of Canadian and American Great Lakes partners, stakeholders, Indigenous peoples and youth at the Forum in a conversation on Great Lakes protection.
Minister McKenna participated in an armchair discussion alongside Ontario's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, United States Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman, and United States Environmental Protection Agency Senior Advisor to the Administrator, Cameron Davis, about the importance of our Great Lakes, threats to the basin, and opportunities for protection.
Public input received throughout the Great Lakes Public Forum will be considered by Canada and the United States in the future implementation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement—the Agreement guiding Canada-U.S. actions on Great Lakes protection and restoration since 1972.
"Canada and the United States have a long history of collaboration in Great Lakes protection and we've come a long way in restoring and protecting this treasured, shared resource. Yet we have further work to do. I'm impressed by the extensive public participation at the Great Lakes Public Forum and encouraged by what more we can accomplish together. Cleaner Great Lakes mean better communities, better nations and better neighbours."
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
"The revitalization of the Great Lakes has always depended on two fundamental principles, strong partnerships and an engaged public. This Forum demonstrated that the U.S. and Canada's commitment to these principles has paid off, leading to significant and sustained improvements in environmental and public health protections in and around the Great Lakes."
– Gina McCarthy, Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chair of the U.S. Government's Great Lakes Interagency Task Force
- 2017 marks 45 years since the signing of the first Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
- The Great Lakes Public Forum is held every three years. This is only the second Forum to be held and the first one to take place in Canada.
- Over 600 Canadians and Americans participated in the 2016 Great Lakes Public Forum, with more following along online.
- The Great Lakes provide drinking water to over 10 million Canadians. Almost one in three Canadians lives in the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes contain one fifth of the planet's available surface freshwater. Less than 1 percent of this water is renewed annually by precipitation.
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SOURCE Environment and Climate Change Canada
For further information: Caitlin Workman, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 819-938-9436; Media Relations, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll free)