In all areas of life, education is the key to success. The same applies to the use of pesticides wherever the application takes place.
In Manitoba, there is a lack of education to the general public on the use of urban lawn care products. This could lead to a draconian ban, limiting people’s options to protect their lawns and gardens from the spread of weeds across the province. The NDP has recently said there are “red flags” about the health impacts related to pesticide use. However, it is the NDP that is ignoring scientific evidence by groups such as Health Canada that state pesticide use is safe when application directions are followed.
These products have gone through a rigorous regulatory process by Health Canada’s scientists. They review and re-evaluate products of concern. The World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States agree with Health Canada and state that products are safe. That doesn’t seem to be good enough for the NDP.
A report from the British Columbia Legislative Assembly, which studied the use of pesticides for a year, revealed a simple conclusion. There is no scientific evidence to justify a ban on pesticides. Governments in Alberta and Saskatchewan have stood firm against a ban as well. Even in Ontario, where the most-restrictive ban was implemented, there are calls to reverse it. But that evidence isn’t good enough for the NDP in Manitoba.
Of all the non-agricultural uses of pesticides, only 1.6 per cent of the products sold are used for lawns and gardens. An average city lawn uses 60 ml of chemical top control weeds. The average backyard swimming pool uses 100 litres of pesticides to ensure it is safe for swimming activities. Yet the NDP has not come out against swimming or swimming pools.
Using the NDP’s logic, alcohol would need to be banned because of the health risks associated with abuse of the product. Yet alcohol remains a legal product for sale on Manitoba’s shelves. Gambling would have to cease because of the damage caused by overindulgence and gambling addictions. Yet casinos remain open. Instead, the NDP has decided to declare war on lawn care products deemed safe by scientists, Health Canada and other environmental protection agencies.
The NDP’s approach to pesticide use makes no sense. It has ignored science and logic. If there are pesticide bans in place elsewhere there should be real data showing the health of those citizens has improved. There has been no measurable improvement in the health of citizens where pesticide bans are in place.
It all comes back to education: Educating consumers on how to use lawn care products, educating homeowners about the use of the products, and educating governments that bad laws and policies have real consequences.
MLA for Arthur-Virden
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 6, 2013