Hon. Jack Davis (Minister of the Environment):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House about my discussions yesterday with the Hon. Russell Train, Chairman of the United States President's Council on Environmental Quality. Mr. Train is the cabinet level adviser to the president on environmental matters.
Among other things, I drew Mr. Train's attention to the impressive list of studies being carried out by the Canadian government and industry to ensure the protection of our northern environment, especially in respect of the Mackenzie Valley corridor.
We had an exchange of views on the protection of the boundary areas of our coasts, especially protection from oil spills. Mr. Train and I agreed that on the Pacific coast, in the Georgia Strait-Puget Sound-Juan de Fuca Straits area, a better understanding of the marine ecosystem is essential for the effective management and protection of these waters. We arranged to meet soon with United States scientists and other experts to start a comprehensive and detailed joint study which will provide the basis for programs and other measures to protect and enhance the environment of this area.
Since my meeting with Mr. Train last July a joint contingency plan has been prepared which will be effective in the boundary waters of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts as well as in the Great Lakes. The contingency plan for the Great Lakes has been in effect for over a year, and on several occasions it has proved highly successful in containing and cleaning up oil and other hazardous substances. Within a few weeks we shall have a Canada-U.S. agreement which will bring fully into effect similar joint plans on our two coasts.
Mr. Train and I reviewed at length the serious problems of high water levels in the Great Lakes. There are, of course, very severe limitations on what can be done to lower these levels. The fact is that the lakes are full as a result of record levels of precipitation, and the only means of affecting the levels is by controlling the outflows from Lake Superior and Lake Ontario. The International Joint Commission is at present considering a plan to increase storage in Lake Superior, and will hold public meetings on this plan in May.
Mr. Train asked me for my views on several proposals now before the U.S. Congress to increase the outflow of water from Lake Michigan at Chicago. I replied that Canadians would doubtless object to any proposals which would amount to an export of water from Canada.
Subtopic: ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic: STATEMENT BY MINISTER ON DISCUSSIONS WITH CHAIRMAN OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY