The Manitoba NDP is urging the Pallister government to give families more time to respond in a thoughtful way to the possible lifting of the ban on cosmetic use of pesticides, MLA Rob Altemeyer said today.
“With the end of summer, families are just now getting back to their regular routines but that gives them little time to meet the Sept. 12 deadline to respond to the government’s survey on cosmetic pesticides,” Altemeyer said. “We ask the provincial government to extend the deadline to Oct. 31 so families can have a fair chance to weigh the evidence and respond thoughtfully to the survey.”
The NDP has asked the Pallister government to preserve existing legislation that reduces the risk to children and pets of exposure to synthetic pesticides for non-essential purposes, said Altemeyer, the NDP critic for the Environment and Green Jobs. That law was introduced in 2013 after a lengthy consultation with Manitobans that garnered more than 2,200 submissions, Altemeyer noted.
A recent report by Physicians for the Environment complimented Manitoba for adopting the ban on using herbicides on lawns and stated: “unfortunately the current government in Manitoba is considering withdrawing this law.” Manitoba’s deputy chief provincial officer of health also previously approved of the ban and advised that “It is prudent to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure to pregnant women and children.”
“We hope the Pallister government will listen to the health professionals, who have clearly said that reducing exposure to these chemicals is the wise course for families,” Altemeyer said. “The government has all winter to review public feedback, why the rush to shut down an important discussion?”
The NDP legislation, which went into effect in 2015, prevents the use of synthetic chemical pesticides on residential lawns, schoolyards, hospital grounds and child-care centres for cosmetic weed control. In place of those, it allows the use of biological products approved by Health Canada.
The legislation includes exemptions for agriculture, forestry, sod farms, golf courses and for the protection of public health or safety. The legislation also allows these pesticides to be used for controlling poisonous plants and invasive species as well as for the maintenance of specialty turf and professional sports fields.
Manitobans can respond to the government survey at: www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/envprograms/initiatives/cosmetic_pesticides/