Biden to discuss Canadian contribution to Great Lakes during Ottawa trip
Canada's financial contribution to the Great Lakes will likely be among the topics President Joe Biden discusses with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
On Thursday, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He assured Michigan congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-4), the co-chair of the Great Lakes task force, that Biden plans to discuss the financial future of the lakes with Prime Minister Trudeau.
This follows efforts made by a group of bipartisan legislators who sent a letter to Biden expressing their concern that the U.S. is spending far more than the Canadian government on the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative authorized $425 million for the 2024 fiscal year.
Brian Patrick is the communications director for Rep. Huizenga.
“There is a sizable gap here in terms of the United States' responsibility and commitment to restoring the Great Lakes and protecting them and preserving them for future generations. And we just believe that Canada can do more,” Patrick said.
A study done by the University of Michigan found that the economic return of the initiative is over triple the initial spending. Meaning that for every dollar spent through the initiative, $3.35 of additional economic activity is produced, often through tourism and job creation.
The legislators hope Biden can secure more funding from the Canadian government for the Great Lakes on his trip to Ottawa.
“The health of the Great Lakes is paramount because the economy and the ecology of the Great Lakes are directly tied together,” Patrick explained.