Peter Kent, minister of environment
The Globe and Mail reports this morning that, “Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent will visit Burlington, Ont., Monday to outline the support from the Harper government to help clean up the Great Lakes.”
While the Harper government acknowledged in its 2010 federal budget delivered last March that “millions of Canadians depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water” and says that “cleaning up the Great Lakes is a key objective of our Government’s Action Plan for Clean Water”, that budget allocated a mere $8 million a year to Environment Canada to “implement its action plan to protect the Great Lakes”.
In contrast, on the 2008 campaign trail, presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged $5 billion over 10 years ($500 million a year) to clean up the Great Lakes. In 2009, Congress authorized $475 million a year for the 2010-14 period, with that funding likely to continue after that period. As the new US budget develops, Obama has proposed that the annual allocation be reduced to $300-$350 million in 2011 given budget shortfalls. The Republicans in Congress have been proposing $225 million a year. While the Government of Canada should do a full report on the funding required to clean up the Great Lakes, by any measure, the $8 million allocated by them for the Great Lakes is unacceptable.
For a listing of the serious threats facing the Great Lakes please see http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=3796.
The Council of Canadians argues that the Great Lakes must be protected as a commons, public trust and bio-region.
Update: The Canadian Press reports that, “Ottawa is kicking in almost $3 million for the clean up of parts of the Great Lakes. The money, announced today, will go toward 43 remediation projects in areas of concern. The Great Lakes Sustainability Fund is used, among other things, to restore fish and wildlife habitat, get rid of contaminated sediment and control wastewater pollution. One area of concern is Hamilton Harbour and area. The remediation there aims to improve essential habitat and water quality, and control carp. The work will also include planting 6,500 native plants in project areas.” That’s at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/greenpage/environment/ottawa-spends-almost-3-million-to-clean-up-parts-of-the-great-lakes-117521983.html.