FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON – Following the release of a letter by the chair of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee (click here to read the letter), the Conservative Committee members are highlighting several specific concerns regarding the Trudeau government’s decision on neonicotinoids.
Committee witnesses testified that there are huge gaps in the science used by Minister Philpott in her department’s decision to implement the ban on neonicotinoids. For example, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) did not consider more than 22 different field studies with ‘real world’ data. The lack of transparency and the unwillingness of the government to communicate with agricultural stakeholders also raised questions about the nature of the decision.
David Anderson, Conservative Agriculture critic said, “The Minister said that she would not revisit this even though, at the time, the Agriculture Committee was actively studying the issue. This highlighted the fact that science was not the determining factor in her considerations.”
Environmentalists originally blamed these chemicals for bee colony collapse disorder (CCD) but when the science failed to demonstrate any conclusive link between bee kills and neonics, the focus shifted to water residue levels. Although very limited research has been done on aquatic residues, the federal Liberals unilaterally moved to ban these products.
“This decision sets a terrible precedent – for the first time we see the banning of a crop protection product without scientific corroboration,” said Bev Shipley, Member of Parliament for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and Vice Chair of the Committee. “Canada’s regulatory process has had a good reputation. This government is undermining that confidence by putting environmental politics ahead of science.”
This decision follows, and imitates, an earlier decision by the Ontario government to restrict the use of neonics due to activist pressure. The Trudeau government’s decision, which ignores science in favor of special interest groups – is not in the best interest of agriculture or Canadians.
Jacques Gourde, Member of Parliament for Lévis-Lotbinière stated, “Not only did the Liberals fail to get the proper information, they ignored the fact that changes to present cropping practices might have adequately addressed their concerns. We are disturbed that this decision was not based on science.”
The government’s decision means that the widely used pesticide imidacloprid will be phased out in Canada by 2020.