New Democrats take practical steps toward banning cosmetic pesticides

13.03.12-logo-bc-ndpMarch 7th, 2013

VICTORIA— In the legislature Thursday afternoon, New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming re-introduced strong legislation to protect human health, pets and the environment from unnecessary exposure to toxic cosmetic pesticides.

“British Columbians want a ban on cosmetic pesticides,” said Fleming. “Ministry of the Environment survey results from three years ago and submissions to the special legislative committee created by Premier Clark last year show this is overwhelmingly the case. Yet the Liberals continue to ignore the public by failing to enact a real ban on cosmetic pesticides.”  

“New Democrats will make the changes parents, physicians, cancer organizations, communities and the Union of BC Municipalities are calling for by taking decisive action on this serious issue.”  

Fleming noted that when Premier Clark was running to be leader of the Liberal party two years ago, she said “pesticides are proven to increase the likelihood of childhood cancer and other illnesses, and have no place near our homes. I don’t want to see my son playing on a lawn with toxic pesticides. I don’t want to see anyone’s child playing on a lawn with toxic pesticides.”  

But instead of bringing in strong legislation that would end the use of cosmetic pesticides on lawns and other places where children play, the Liberal government put forward weak, unenforceable legislative amendments.  

"These status quo changes leave cosmetic pesticide products readily available on retail store shelves, but supposedly restrict who can apply them. This will create rules that are nearly impossible to enforce," said Fleming. “These changes are confusing and make no sense. Why sell products to people who don’t have a license to use them? It’s like allowing a minor to buy cigarettes at the store if they promise they are for an adult."  

At least 39 communities representing 2.8 million people in BC have by-laws to restrict the use of cosmetic pesticides but have no jurisdiction over retail sale. “Local governments were looking to the province for leadership to replace the patchwork of ineffective municipal by-laws. But the Liberals ignored them as well.”  

“New Democrats will take practical steps to bring BC in line with six other provinces that already have a cosmetic pesticide ban in place” said Fleming. “The legislation we’ve put forward balances the needs of industrial users of these chemicals while ensuring they are no longer used cosmetically on playgrounds, lawns, parks and the other places where children play.”  

The BC Liberals are not up to the challenges that face BC today, and British Columbians deserve better. It's time for a change to a new government with new priorities. BC's New Democrats are offering change for the better, one practical step at a time.