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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A comparative analysis of U.S. and Canadian implementation of the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Thorp, Jed William


This year, 2002, marks the thirtieth anniversary of the signing of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada. Over the past thirty years, there has been much written, and even more said, about the successes and failures of that Agreement. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement has been successful in bringing attention to many pollution issues surrounding the Great Lakes. However, many of the goals that the Agreement intended to achieve have still not been realized on either side of the border. This thesis will explore several issues affecting successful implementation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Although much has been written as to the areas where the two countries have fallen short in implementing the Agreement, little has been written which analyzes the full range of variables affecting implementation. Using the framework for implementation analysis laid out by Daniel Mazmanian and Paul Sabatier, this thesis will examine two of the biggest issues facing the Great Lakes, and determine the specific variables that have most hindered the Agreement's success. Furthermore, this thesis will determine which country - the United States or Canada - has done a better job implementing the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The thesis begins with a thorough description of Mazmanian and Sabatier's variables for analysis. After looking at necessary background information about the Agreement, we will examine two specific case studies. Chapter 3 will examine the issue of contaminated bottom sediment. Chapter 4 will look at how each country has addressed the issue of airborne toxic substances in the Lakes. We will conclude by reapplying the Mazmanian and Sabatier variables to our case studies, and coming to a conclusion as to which country has performed better, and why. As we will see by the end of this thesis, neither, country has fully -met the objectives of the Agreement. However, the United States has come further, faster. This is due to differences in allocation of financial resources, regulatory strength and initiative of sovereigns and implementing officials.

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