Volume #21 - 460.|
RELATIONS AVEC LES ÉTATS-UNIS
COMMISSION MIXTE INTERNATIONALE
Note du secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le premier ministre
le 23 mars 1955|
POLLUTION OF BOUNDARY WATERS|
You will recall that because certain municipalities in Ontario have taken no corrective measures to eliminate municipal sources of pollution in boundary waters you wrote to Premier Frost on November 10, 1954 [sic],182 to ask for information as to what steps are being taken by the Province for the abatement of this pollution. Attached is a copy of Premier Frost's reply dated December 23, 1954183 to which you sent an interim acknowledgement on January 3, 1955.?
In view of the stand taken by Premier Frost in this matter it would appear that another letter to him is necessary to ascertain more precisely what steps the Province, in conjunction with the municipalities, is taking for the abatement of the pollution of boundary waters from municipal sources. Discussions between the Departments concerned (Finance, National Health and Welfare, Northern Affairs and National Resources and External Affairs) have now resulted in agreement on the substance of the attached letter to Premier Frost which is submitted for your signature if you approve.
This second letter to Premier Frost retains much of the conciliatory tone of the first approach because it is hoped that the Province of Ontario may yet be persuaded to take action to compel the municipalities to build the necessary sewage treatment plants. Should Premier Frost again give an inconclusive reply, the Canadian Government will then be faced with a serious and complicated problem.
Le premier ministre au premier ministre de l'Ontario
Prime Minister to Premier of Ontario
[Ottawa], March 24, 1955
My dear Premier,
I refer to my letter of January 3, 1955 in which I mentioned that your letter of December 23, 1954 on the subject of the pollution of boundary waters would be discussed with my colleagues and appropriate officials.
I wish to thank you for the information you have provided concerning progress made in your Province in the treatment of municipal sewage and wastes and in the treatment of industrial wastes. The latter seems to be well in hand. However, there is urgent need to find a solution to the problem of the treatment of municipal sewage and wastes.
The Canadian Government is at this time particularly concerned with the pollution of boundary waters and it is gratifying to note, therefore, that your Government recognizes both the gravity of the pollution problem in boundary waters and the necessity of finding a complete solution to this question. I am pleased to see that your Government has advised the municipalities concerned that it is imperative for remedial measures to be adopted. The importance of completing plans and undertaking construction of the necessary works with the minimum of delay cannot be too strongly stressed because the continued discharge of raw sewage into boundary waters may constitute, at any given moment, a violation by Canada of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Such a violation would raise questions of considerable importance which would have to be resolved between the Federal and Ontario Governments and the municipalities or persons concerned.
After careful consideration the Canadian Government has come to the conclusion that the abatement of pollution in boundary waters cannot usefully be considered within the context of federal-provincial fiscal arrangements. It is true, of course, that expenditure on the abatement of pollution - like expenditure on any other municipal service - must impinge in some fashion upon the complex of municipal or provincial-municipal finance. But the pollution with which we are here concerned is confined to a small number of places and could be corrected by the expenditure of sums which are relatively small in provincial terms although they may be significant in the case of individual municipalities. It should be added, too, that the Canadian Government does not consider that in equity it can undertake to subsidize the construction of essential sewage disposal plants in municipalities situated on boundary waters when, for a number of reasons, similar treatment could not be extended to communities elsewhere in the country.
There is an urgent necessity to find a solution to boundary waters pollution, and the prime responsibility for finding the solution rests, we believe, with the Province of Ontario and the municipalities. I would be most grateful to know what specific steps your Government is taking, in conjunction with the municipalities bordering the connecting channels of the Great Lakes, for the abatement of the pollution of boundary waters through municipal sewage and waste.