Cablegate: Invasive Species: Ijc Speaks to Parliamentary

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.








E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Invasive Species: IJC speaks to Parliamentary


1. The American Co-Chair of the International Joint
Commission (IJC) sought the support of members of the House
of Commons Fisheries and Oceans committee for a joint US-GoC
reference to the IJC on the Great Lakes invasive species
problem. First impressions are that the committee is pre-
occupied with other matters and will not be the Commons
committee to push the GoC toward endorsing a joint
reference. End summary.

2. Dennis Schornack, Chair of the U.S. Section of the IJC
briefed members of the House of Commons Standing Committee
on Fisheries and Oceans on February 11th concerning Alien
Invasive Species. Schornack's comments are provided in full
(as well as statements by Canadian Section Chair Herb Gray
and Canadian Commissioner Robert Gourd) at the following IJC
web address:

3. The bottom-line message from Schornack to the members of
the committee was: invasive species are the number one
threat to the economic and biological integrity of the Great
Lakes and the IJC continues to call for a reference from the
two governments to coordinate and harmonize bi-national
efforts to stop this threat. (Such a reference was first
recommended in September 2002 in the IJC's 11th Biennial
Report on Great Lakes Water Quality.)

4 With respect to the most up-to-date assessment of what
action needs to be taken to confront this challenge, Mr.
Schornack noted the recent report published by the
International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR).
It's called "Research and Management Priorities for Aquatic
Invasive Species in the Great Lakes" and is available at:

5. This was only the second set of hearings by this
committee on the issue. The first hearing, on February 6th,
featured Chris Goddard, Executive Secretary of the Great
Lakes Fisheries Commission. At the end of February, the
Committee expects to hear from representatives of the
Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Transport
Canada and Environment Canada. According to the Clerk of
the committee, given other priorities, the earliest date for
the Committee to issue a report on invasive species will be
the end of April.

Impact of IJC presentation

6. In Emboff's opinion, there was no evidence that the IJC's
presentation will elicit a strong effort from this committee
or lead to GoC support for a reference to the IJC. There are
those on the committee who feel this is a significant issue
demanding immediate government focus, but it is not clear
this particular committee will take the lead in pressing the
GoC for action on invasive species.

7. The government has had an "action plan" on invasive
species since 1995 (put in place in response to the
Convention on Biological Diversity) that names the
Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada and
Transport Canada as the responsible agencies. The problem,
however, according to the Commissioner of Environment and
Sustainable Development (part of the GoC Auditor General's
organization), is that none of these departments is willing
to take a leading role to ensure that the action plan
results in concrete actions. Likewise, many members of the
Fisheries and Oceans Committee believe that another
committee, perhaps Environment, should take the lead on this

8. There was one suggestion, however, which we expect to
appear in the Committee's final report. The Canadian Chair,
Herb Gray, made the eminently sensible recommendation that
one cabinet Minister should be named as the lead Minister on
Invasive Species and have the power of the Prime Minister
behind him or her to move departments forward in a
coordinated fashion. This might energize GoC action on
Invasive species - and reduce the impetus for a reference to
the IJC.

9. Comment: Although the IJC presentation to the Committee
may not be critical in the GoC's decision process, it does
fit with the generally greater emphasis this issue is
getting in Ottawa. We continue to receive "feelers" from
DFAIT about their interest in consulting with Washington on
IJC's proposal for a joint reference, as well as addressing
the broader issue of dealing with alien invasive species in
the "North American" context. End comment.


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