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NEWS: Harper lets 2/3 of Canada’s IJC seats go vacant

The Globe and Mail reports, “Two of Canada’s three seats on a key bilateral institution (the International Joint Commission) have been allowed to go vacant, raising questions about Ottawa’s commitment to the joint body that oversees waters shared with the United States. …The commission, which was established by the U.S. and Canadian governments more than a century ago to prevent and manage water-related disputes, is responsible for the Great Lakes and other shared bodies of water.”

The article adds, “Gail Krantzberg, a former director of the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Regional Office, said she does not understand why the spots have not been filled when the issues the commission deals with are crucial to many Canadians. ‘Perhaps it’s simply not a priority for [the government] to populate it. It’s very discouraging.’ Prof. Krantzberg, who teaches at McMaster University, said the loss of Canadian commissioners has been noticed by those who watch the organization’s work.”

“Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s office referred questions on the appointments to the department, which said in an e-mail that the government is committed to protecting boundary waters. ‘We are aware of the current vacancies among Canadian commissioners to the International Joint Commission,’ Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman John Babcock wrote. ‘We are hopeful that appointments will be made shortly.’ A federal website listing government appointments notes that the three commissioners are appointed at the Prime Minister’s discretion and are free to select a chair from among themselves.”

For several campaign blogs that note the IJC, please see:
NEWS: Windsor chapter to protest tar sands on the Detroit River
NEWS: High-level nuclear waste to be transported by truck near Lake Ontario this summer
NEWS: US raises concerns about BC coal mines polluting the Kootenai-Koocanusa watersheds
NEWS: IJC says no to Winnipeg selling its water
UDPATE: Barlow & Olson present to the International Joint Commission