Miller Speaks about Water Issues at International Conference

July 3, 2013

Owen Sound, ON – Recently, Larry Miller, MP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, spoke about water issues and his own Private Member’s Bill (The Transboundary Waters Protections Act) at the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) meetings in Istanbul, Turkey.

Mr. Miller is part of a Parliamentary Delegation from Canada that has travelled to Istanbul to participate in the OSCE General Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment meetings this year. The topic of the meeting that Mr. Miller spoke at was: “Water Management as a Priority for the OSCE CiO in 2014”. Other meetings are also being held at the conference in regards to global security and many other important global issues.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to speak to representatives from countries all over the world and am equally honoured to be speaking to something as important as ensuring the health and safety of the world’s water,” said Miller. “Canada is certainly a leader when it comes to protecting and safeguarding our water and the world has taken note of our successes with a keen interest.”

Mr. Miller also spoke to the unique situation in Canada being that the country has an Arctic region. We made remarks with regards to Arctic Development and Arctic Security and Canada efforts to protect the North.

Mr. Miller gave the following remarks at the OSCE meeting:

“Colleagues, I am pleased to be here with you in Istanbul for our Annual Session.

Water management is certainly a topical issue, as the United Nations has proclaimed 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation.

Canada has abundant water resources, accounting for about 7% of the world’s renewable supply of fresh water.

Given the importance of water management issues, I would like to use my time to discuss two recent Canadian initiatives in the area of trans-boundary waters.

In the Canadian House of Commons, I have sponsored legislation aimed at protecting our waters from bulk water removals.

It was truly an honour to have worked on this piece of legislation and to see the tremendous amount of support that it received at all stages in the legislative process.

In fact, the bill never received a recorded vote that wasn’t in favour.

Bill C-383 The Transboundary Waters Protections Act, will ensure that Canadian waters, and waters that flow across our boundaries, are protected from any form of bulk export or from any sort of diversion methods with the goal of exporting water as a commodity.

This has certainly been a concern for all Canadians and we are happy that this bill will work alongside legislation already in place by our Provincial counterparts to ensure that Canada’s water remains Canadian.

I am proud to say that Bill C-383 has passed both Houses of Parliament and came into force on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 following a ceremony of Royal Assent.

Furthermore, in September 2012, Canada and the United States agreed to update the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which was originally signed in 1972.

The Agreement “expresses the commitment of each country to coordinate efforts to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem.”

New provisions in this collaborative effort include measures to address the effects of climate change on water quality, and support for continued work on toxic chemicals and discharges from vessels.

These initiatives demonstrate Canada’s engagement in the cooperative management of international water basins.

The OSCE’s work in the area of trans-boundary water management contributes in important ways to reducing conflict and enhancing prosperity in our region, and our Assembly provides us an opportunity to recognize our shared responsibility in these areas.

I look forward to discussing initiatives undertaken in your countries relating to water management.

Thank you very much for your time.”