Welcome aboard. Two new Canadian commissioners, Benoît Bouchard and Gordon W. Walker, have officially begun their duties on the IJC.
They were sworn in on Tuesday in Ottawa, Ontario, and joined via teleconference by U.S. commissioners Dereth Glance, Rich Moy and Lana Pollack.
The transition period will be swift. Commissioner Bouchard, of Roberval, Quebec, and Commissioner Walker, of Toronto, Ontario, join the IJC at a busy time. U.S. and Canadian commissioners have navigated numerous issues recently and will be getting even busier in coming months.
From left to right, new Commissioner Gordon W. Walker, Canadian Section Chair Joseph Comuzzi, and new Commissioner Benoît Bouchard.
Recent efforts have resulted in July public hearings on a proposed new Plan 2014 for Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River regulation, a new Plan of Study requested for Souris River flood control measures, and just-announced Consultations on Great Lakes Advisory Boards.
There’s also the International Upper Great Lakes Study. The IJC is awaiting a response from the two governments on recommendations made in April, including further investigation of structural options to restore the water levels of Lake Michigan-Huron. And, Great Lakes Week in September in Milwaukee will include the IJC’s first triennial meeting under the 2012 update to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of work to be done and priorities to be considered now and in the near future. Bouchard and Walker will be immediately involved in the above activities, and more.
IJC members strive to reach consensus when it comes to regulating shared water uses, investigating transboundary issues, and recommending solutions. The additional voices of Bouchard and Walker are a timely addition to the Commission.
Walker served in Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 1970s and ‘80s, and was an IJC commissioner from 1992-95. Bouchard’s background includes time as Canada’s ambassador to France, a member of Parliament and senior member of the Canadian Cabinet, and negotiations on behalf of First Nations.
IJC commissioners serve fixed terms. Commissioners Bouchard and Walker, appointed at the recommendation of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, fill positions last held by Lyall Knott and Pierre Trépanier.
The terms of Bouchard and Walker run until June 2017.