QUESENEL: Getting rid of the NDP pesticide ban is good for the environment – Advice Eating

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Manitoba must follow good science and not give in to ideological environmentalists who prioritize knee-jerk emotionalism over positive outcomes.

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A case in point is the province’s prudent decision to lift at least part of a ban on cosmetic pesticides enacted by the previous NDP government in 2014.

Cosmetic plant protection products are plant protection products that are used to control weeds and to make private lawns and green spaces visually appealing.

The current government intended to lift the ban on cosmetic pesticides on private lawns and some other designated city parks and fields. His bill would have further banned pesticides near schools, daycare centers, hospitals, municipal playgrounds and provincial parks.

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The opposition NDP used their legislative privileges to delay the bill until the fall session as it is eligible for a handful of bills.

One wonders, however, why the opposition would not accommodate the government, given that the government’s bill was a compromise. From the opposition’s point of view, they would still receive significant concessions from the government for their side.

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In the areas where the ban would be lifted, the requirement for pesticides to be Health Canada-approved chemical products remains in place. As such, there is a safeguard to ensure all chemicals are approved by Canada’s primary health authority to protect health and the environment. Why doesn’t the opposition trust Health Canada’s scientists and regulators? No doubt they trust them in many other areas when it comes to Canadian health.

So why is the opposition willing to die on this hill? Despite the popularity of cosmetic pesticide bans across Canada, a comprehensive review of scientific reports shows that the negative link between these pesticides and human health and the environment is very inconclusive and tenuous at best. If there were a significant impact, Health Canada would not even approve certain products for use on turf.

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So there is no compelling political justification for a broad ban on cosmetic pesticides. It’s a favorite topic among ideological environmentalists, who often take positions that involve applying the precautionary principle to steroids. They have an absolutist position on chemicals that is about emotion, not science.

Dying on that hill is a concession to the ideological wing of the provincial NDP, and a concession to a tiny handful of fearful corporations fearful pesticides are affecting their livelihoods, and good old-fashioned NIMBYism at its best. People worried – without empirical data – that what you do on your lawn will affect their children. The opposition is also taking advantage of a heightened climate of health anxiety generated by the pandemic political environment.

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As a result of this shotgun of sanity between environmental ideologues, frightened business interests, and frightened suburbanites, communities across Manitoba are facing skyrocketing costs of using ineffective and expensive chemicals to control harmful weeds and beautify their communities.

In fact, ironically, these policies could have the unintended consequence of doing more harm to the environment by forcing communities to use ineffective chemical products at much higher levels to have an effect – causing more environmental hazards than the original law that did would have permitted the use of Health Canada-approved chemicals.

But environmentalists and political parties committed to environmentalism ignore unintended consequences in their political calculus. You value symbolic politics and emotionality over good results.

As soon as possible, the Manitoba government must reintroduce the law and promote sound, fact-based policy.

— Joseph Quesnel is a senior research fellow at the Frontier Center for Public Policy. www.fcpp.org

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