WWF-Canada Blog:

Congratulations to, Rt. Hon. John Turner, on receiving the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Water & Environmental Leadership Award

Earlier this fall, one of WWF-Canada’s donors and former board member, The Right Honourable John N. Turner, 17th Prime Minister of Canada, was honoured by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority for the inaugural John Turner Water & Environmental Leadership Award.  Mr. Turner was a long-time Board member of WWF-Canada and also contributes significantly to our fundraising efforts. He was honoured by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority on September 24, 2015, with this award for his demonstrated Leadership in promoting or improving water and the environment within the Niagara Peninsula watershed.

© Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

© Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

People may know him as the Prime Minister of Canada, but might not know that he has worked tirelessly to champion conservation issues across the country, especially issues related to water and the Far North. Mr. Turner played a role in creating the largest freshwater reserve in the world, persuading the premier of Ontario at the time to cede the lakebed for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area. He stood with the Gwichin people at a press conference in Whitehorse, successfully calling for protection of the calving area of the Porcupine Caribou Herd in Alaska; and he gave an inspirational address to WWF leaders from Arctic nations when they met in Toronto to tackle global warming and oil and gas issues.

© Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

The Right Honourable John N. Turner © Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Below is an excerpt of the introduction at the Water & Environmental Leadership Award by Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of Grape Growers of Ontario and former regional councilor:

“Many of you probably don’t know this but there isn’t a river, lake or stream in this country this man has not paddled. In fact, at the age of 85 he was still paddling his beloved Lake of the Woods.

It was however in the early 1960’s as a young MP that he was instrumental in renegotiating the Columbia Water Treaty, an agreement between Canada and the United States that governs the operation of dams on water systems that affects both countries. This important document was critical to ensure the development and operation of dams in the upper Columbia River System. Four dams were constructed under this treaty, three in Canada and one in the US.

This treaty is clearly important to our country economically and environmentally, and interestingly this agreement will be up for renegotiation in the next decade.

John’s determination to bring attention to the importance of water quality was evident when he helped persuade the International Joint Commission to monitor water quality of Canada’s 6th largest lake – Lake of the Woods, home to his cottage of over 50 years. This body of water that stretches over Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota is majestic but the lake’s water quality is under siege. In fact, Minnesota has called this a lake in peril.

The ongoing problem of drought in the United States is and should be a concern for all of us. John has made water a number one priority ‐ I quote “The  americans claim that (water sales) are a part of the Free Trade Agreement” ‐ “But I say it is not” ‐ Canada has one fifth of the world’s fresh water supply.

John’s environmental stewardship has left an indelible mark on this country, and his determination to educate the generations after him on the importance of our Canadian water resources is a remarkable testament to the man behind the politics.

This is why this award is so important.”

WWF-Canada applauds Prime Minister Turner for his dedication for the promotion, education and protection of Canada’s freshwater resources.