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London chapter attends International Joint Commission public meeting on boundary waters

The Council of Canadians London chapter attended a public meeting in Sarnia hosted by the International Joint Commission (IJC) on March 22, World Water Day.

The International Joint Commission is an independent bi-national organization established by the United States and Canada under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. As noted on the IJC website, “Canada and the United States created the International Joint Commission because they recognized that each country is affected by the other’s actions in lake and river systems along the border.”

That website also notes, “The International Joint Commission will be holding public meetings to gather information from the public on the IJC’s draft Triennial Assessment of Progress (TAP) report and the Progress Report of the Governments of Canada and the United States under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.”

Six meetings have been organized, one of which was this one in Sarnia.

Chapter activists Robert and Roberta Cory write, “Our long time supporter, Don Ciparis, a Rodney area farmer, spoke at the meeting as a representative of the National Farmers Union. Speaking with Don was Emery Huszka, President of the NFU (Ontario). Several other Council of Canadians supporters from other chapters were also present at the public meeting, as were many representatives from several First Nations.”

They add, “Discussion tables were focused on Agriculture, Chemicals, and Areas of Concern. Roberta’s discussion group had members from Walpole Island and Aamjiwaang of Sarnia, and they were outspoken about ‘sacrifice zones’ and environmental racism. They also tied in Line 9, which is bound to spill soon, because it is 40+ years old and not made to carry ‘dilbit’, and it crosses the Thames just above Fanshawe Dam, which flows into the Great Lakes – our drinking water source.”

And they highlight that through the process the London chapter made connections with Council of Canadians members in Sarnia, Thamesville and Chatham and are now in contact with members of the Walpole First Nation.

Walpole Island (Bkejwanong) First Nation is located on an island in the St. Clair River on Lake st. Clair, about 100 kilometres west of London. It is unceded territory and is inhabited by the Chippewa, Potawatomi and Ottawa peoples of the Walpole Island First Nation, who call it Bkejwanong, meaning ‘where the waters divide’.

Public comments on the 84-page draft Triennial Assessment of Progress report and the 103-page Progress Report of the Governments of Canada and the United States under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement can be made until April 15 via email to ParticipateIJC@ottawa.ijc.org and online at ParticipateIJC.org.

To read the London chapter’s report on the meeting, please click here.

For Council of Canadians blogs on the International Joint Commission, click here.