(May 13, 2010 – 11:45 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today tabled a new bill, the Transboundary Waters Protection Act, which protects Canadian water by strengthening prohibitions on bulk removal of Canada’s water outside the country.
“This government is protecting Canadian waters for Canadians,” said Minister Cannon. “The protections in this new bill will preserve our drinking water and our natural heritage for generations to come.”
“Protection of our freshwater resources is a key priority under the government’s Action Plan for Clean Water. We are working to make sure that our water is accessible, clean and safe for Canadians today and in the future,” said the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment. “This important legislation makes it clear that we are not in the business of exporting our water. Canadian water is not a commodity. It is not for sale.”
The new act strengthens existing protections by bringing waters within federal jurisdiction under a more comprehensive prohibition against bulk water removals. Rivers and streams that cross international borders will now receive the same protection already in place for waters, such as the Great Lakes, that straddle them.
The Act gives the federal government new powers of inspection and enforcement and introduces tough new penalties for violations, including fines of up to $6 million for corporate violations. The bill offers unprecedented federal protection against bulk water exports while respecting provincial constitutional jurisdiction.
“The federal government will continue to work with provincial and territorial governments to ensure that Canadian water is protected,” said Minister Cannon.
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