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Council of Canadians demands McGuinty keep promise on Great Lakes funding

While the Ontario budget was released on Tuesday, there was no mention of funding for the Great Lakes. The Council of Canadians is calling on the McGuinty government to fulfill their promise of $52 million in spending for protecting the Great Lakes.

“The Great Lakes are a commons – something that belongs to the Earth and all living beings – and are in dire need of funding to address invasive species, wetlands destruction, water withdrawals, multi-point pollution, climate change and other threats,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians, “We need to invest in the Great Lakes now to protect it for current and future generations.”

During election campaigning MPP Laurel Broten of Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding outlined a $52 million plan to clean up the Great Lakes called the Great Lakes Protection Act. The Liberal party promised to use the funding to clean up 17 “hot spots,” including Nipigon Bay on Lake Superior and the Niagara River among others, reduce water pollution, clean up provincial beaches and promote activities on the Great Lakes. Earlier this week, Ontario’s Environment Minister, Jim Bradley, announced that they are looking for suggestions on the proposed Great Lakes Protection Act. However, he failed to confirm any funding commitments.

“Year after year, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) points to the sorry state of the Great Lakes. ECO Gord Miller has warned that Lake Ontario beaches are more polluted in Canada than they are in the United States. Last year, he pointed to chronic underfunding as a key barrier to protection of the Great Lakes,” says Emma Lui, Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “In order to be effective and to fulfill their campaign promise, the Liberal government needs to back the Great Lakes Protection Act up with the $52 million they committed to last fall.”

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