Support for a Machinery of Governance Change

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey (Liberal - Ontario)—shown above with fellow co-chair of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Taskforce, Senator Diane Griffin—put Motion-91 on notice in the House of Commons on June 9, 2021. This motion urges the Government of Canada to transition the GLFC's fiduciary role from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is an international organization established by the United States and Canada through the 1954 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries.

The Commission has three main responsibilities:

  • Establish working relationships among state, U.S. tribal, and Ontario resource management agencies; Indigenous communities; federal departments and agencies; stakeholders; and research institutions;
  • Control the invasive sea lamprey—a primitive fish native to the Atlantic Ocean that invaded the Great Lakes in the mid-1900s and wrecked catastrophic damage on the ecosystem and caused significant economic harm—in the Great Lakes; and,
  • Support fisheries research.

Collage of Great Lakes images, fishing, paddle boarding, boating, natureThe Commission was established because the two nations would not work together to protect the fishery they shared, which neared collapse in the mid-1900s. Through the work of the Commission and its partners, today's Great Lakes fishery is worth $8 billion annually and directly supports more than 238,000 jobs. Before the formation of the Commission, the fishery was at near rock bottom.

While there exists no binding, centralized authority to compel cooperative fishery management on the Great Lakes, past failures caused by lack of interstate and binational coordination have caused the jurisdictions to recognize that the fishery is interconnected and that the actions of one jurisdiction directly affect the others.

Screenshot of a Zoom meeting including a number of Canadian and American politiciansThis interconnectivity is precisely why the Commission is essential to the economic and environmental success of the Great Lakes, and it is why the Commission's fiduciary structure must return to Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Currently, Canada nests this function with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, a structure that has, despite good intentions on all sides, led to perpetual underfunding of the binational treaty mandate and a perceptual stunting of the much-needed Canada/US partnership. When first established, the Commission's fiduciaries were the Department of State in the US, and External Affairs (now GAC) in Canada. This original alignment allowed for appropriate and regular binational communications, clear funding lines, and effective fiscal oversight; all of which contributed to the Commission's traditional accomplishments. If past success is to give way to future opportunity, the time is now to return to a proven governance model and fiscal formula that will again place the Commission on a stable footing to deliver for those who rely on the Great Lakes.

  • Vance Badawey, MP
  • Niagara Centre, ON, Liberal
  • Proposed: June 8, 2021
  • Thank them for us!
  • Marilyn Gladu, MP
  • Sarnia—Lambton, ON, Conservative
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Alex Ruff, MP
  • Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON, Conservative
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Hon. Judy Sgro, MP
  • Humber River—Black Creek, ON, Liberal
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Jack Harris, MP
  • St. John's East, NL, NDP
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Brian Masse, MP
  • Windsor West, ON, NDP
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Hon. Michael Chong, MP
  • Wellington—Halton Hills, ON, Conservative
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Ken Hardie, MP
  • Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC, Liberal
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Helena Jaczek, MP
  • Markham—Stouffville, ON, Liberal
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Scot Davidson, MP
  • York—Simcoe, ON, Conservative
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Philip Lawrence, MP
  • Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON, Conservative
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Dave Epp, MP
  • Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON, Conservative
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Ben Lobb, MP
  • Huron—Bruce, ON, Conservative
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Tony Baldinelli, MP
  • Niagara Falls, ON, Conservative
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Paul Manly, MP
  • Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC, Green
  • Seconded: June 9, 2021
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  • Angelo Iacono, MP
  • Alfred-Pellan, QC, Liberal
  • Seconded: June 10, 2021
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  • Ya'ara Saks, MP
  • York Centre, ON, Liberal
  • Seconded: June 10, 2021
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  • Colin Carrie, MP
  • Oshawa, ON, Conservative
  • Seconded: June 10, 2021
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  • Han Dong, MP
  • Don Valley North, ON, Liberal
  • Seconded: June 10, 2021
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  • Churence Rogers, MP
  • Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL, Liberal
  • Seconded: June 11, 2021
  • Thank them for us!