January 9, 2009
No. 5

Statement by Minister Cannon Marking 100th Anniversary of Boundary Waters Treaty

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement on the 100th anniversary of the Boundary Waters Treaty:

"January 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty. This treaty created the International Joint Commission, an independent regulatory and advisory body that has worked for the last century to prevent and resolve boundary waters disputes between Canada and the United States.

"A model of binational governance and of Canada-U.S. cooperation, the Commission was established to guide the Canadian and U.S. governments in the joint stewardship of their boundary waters. These waters range from the St. Croix River in the east through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system to Osoyoos Lake in the west, to the Yukon River in the north, where it crosses between the state of Alaska and the Yukon Territory.

"Decades ahead of their time and three quarters of a century before the Brundtland Commission-the World Commission on Environment and Development-raised awareness of the concept of sustainable development, the Treaty and the International Joint Commission created an impartial regime for environmental stewardship. This regime is based on the principle that precious natural resources should be managed for the benefit of all.

"Today, the promise of that century-old pact is being realized in the work of the 20 binational boards and panels that power the Commission. With equal representation from Canada and the United States, the Commission conducts fact-finding missions, organizes public hearings and develops consensus-seeking solutions for the responsible management of the largest collection of freshwater systems on earth.

"In its centenary year, the International Joint Commission remains a testament to the good will, hard work and forward thinking that characterize the cooperation between our two great nations. I congratulate the Commission and wish it well with planning for the centennial celebration that will take place later this year in Niagara Falls."

For more information regarding the International Joint Commission, please consult the Commission's website.

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For more information, please contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada