ID No.: GQM00256
PRESS RELEASE 8
Report of the Commission sur la gestion de leau au Québec
THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER: URGENT ACTION CALLED FOR
Québec City, May 3, 2000 In its report to the Environment Minister, the Commission sur la gestion de l'eau au Québec emphasizes the need for Québec to take urgent action in the St. Lawrence River basin.
"The importance of the St. Lawrence River for Québec cannot be overstated," affirms the Commission. "It is the converging point of the entire southern portion of the province." The River also has tremendous heritage value. Sixty percent of Québec's population lives along its banks and 47 municipal water intakes drain 2 billion litres of water each day to supply the population with drinking water. The St. Lawrence is part of the Great LakesSt. Lawrence River Basin, which spans both Canadian and US territory and has over half of its drainage basin in Québec.
Despite the biological and economic importance of the St. Lawrence River, responsibility for its management is shared by Québec, Ottawa and various sector-based authorities. The Commission points out the Québec government's duty to take the initiative where the St. Lawrence River is concerned. Québec must assert its downstream rights in relation to decisions taken upstream regarding management of the Great Lakes. The Commission underscores the importance of a strong governmental presence in national and international regulatory agencies that have authority over the waters of the St. Lawrence so that Québec can assert its management requirements and priorities as concerns the river. As a signatory of the Great Lakes Charter, Québec must ensure that the latter becomes an international convention binding the waterfront provinces and states, as well as the federal governments of Canada and the United States. The text of the Great Lakes Charter should be updated to reflect the principles laid down in recent international agreements on transboundary waters.
The Commission does not, however, endorse the suggestion made by numerous parties that a comprehensive legal system be implemented especially for the St. Lawrence River. In its opinion, such a measure could constitute a source of confusion. The Commission recommends instead that management of the St. Lawrence be entrusted to an institution.
For more information, the full report is available on the Internet at www.bape.gouv.qc.ca/eau. Copies may also be ordered by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (418) 643-7447 or, toll-free, 1-800-463-4732.
Serge Labrecque, Information Officer
Telephone: (418) 643-7447 or 1-800-463-4732
Ó Gouvernement du Québec 2000