January 11, 1999
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and President Bill Clinton
Mark 90th Anniversary of IJC
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien visited the Canadian Section of the International Joint
Commission (IJC) today to join Commissioners and staff in celebrating the 90th anniversary of
the signing of the Boundary Waters Treaty, the treaty under which the IJC was created. Prime
Minister Chrétien, among other things, underlined the cooperative efforts by the United States
and Canada to address their shared environmental concerns.
The Prime Minister saluted 90 years of achievements by the International Joint Commission and
declared that: "...people take 4000 miles of shared boundary for granted but (...) it takes an
organisation such as the IJC to prevent and resolve disputes over the use of shared waters
between the two countries."
Commissioners also conveyed their congratulations to the Prime Minister, who also celebrates
his birthday today. Chairman Legault from the Canadian section also added that: "The Boundary
Waters Treaty is one of the great success stories of Canada-U.S. relations. The secret of that
success lies in the fact that the treaty and the Commission are dedicated to the common good of
both countries." On behalf of the American Section, Chairman Baldini said that: "Our two
countries owe a great debt to those who framed the Boundary Waters Treaty. They had the
tremendous vision that without genuine cooperation on the use of our shared waters, and on
transboundary environmental issues, we could not live in harmony and prosper."
Representing President Clinton, Mary Ann Peters, Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. embassy
in Ottawa, stated that: "Through its air quality monitoring and international watershed initiative,
the Commission is already confronting future environmental challenges along the border."
The Boundary Waters Treaty, signed on January 11, 1909, established the IJC to prevent and
resolve disputes over the use of shared waters and to provide independent advice on other
transboundary environmental issues. The IJC has developed water quality objectives for, and
monitored the restoration of the Great Lakes and other watersheds along the common boundary.
It also oversees the operation of several hydropower projects that affect water levels and flows
across the boundary and alerts the two countries to transboundary air quality issues of concern.
As competition for water resources intensifies around the globe, the Boundary Waters Treaty and
the IJC provide a tested model of how two nations can peacefully share boundary waters in a
mutually beneficial manner. The IJC is currently developing an international watershed approach
as one of its initiatives to help Canada and the United States address the environmental
challenges of the 21st Century.
More information about the Boundary Waters Treaty and the IJC can be found on the IJC's web
site at: www.ijc.org.