The Montreal Gazette
City adds support to pesticide foes
Council motion backs group in fight against chemical firm's NAFTA
By ANNE SUTHERLAND,
The city of Montreal has added its support to a group urging the
federal government to resist a NAFTA challenge that aims to override
provincial pesticide laws.
Équiterre, an environmental group, and 40 community organizations are
up against Dow AgroSciences, a unit of the U.S. giant Dow Chemical.
Dow AgroSciences makes a weed-killer called 2,4-D, which is banned in
Since 2003, the province has had one of the toughest laws in North
America limiting pesticide use. Also, the city of Montreal passed a
bylaw in 2004 that bans the use of cosmetic pesticides.
In August, Dow AgroSciences filed a notice of intent against the
Canadian government, contending the ban on 2,4-D violates the North
American Free Trade Agreement. The notice is a first step before
filing a formal claim to arbitration. The company estimates damages to
be at least $2 million.
"Our notice of intent is meant to ensure important public policy
decisions are based on scientific evidence, a clear set of principles
and managed in a transparent framework," said Brenda Harris, Dow
AgroSciences regulatory and government affairs manager for Canada.
Dow asserts the ban prohibits a product that has not been proven
Équiterre spokesperson Edith Smeeters disagrees.
"The research on (2,4-D) was done by the industry, and the data can be
manipulated," said Smeeters, a biologist.
"Our research shows 2,4-D is a risk to the immune system, the
reproductive system and the endocrine system.
"Children sit on the lawn, they eat the grass. This pesticide is
dangerous to their health."
Montreal city council adopted a resolution Feb. 23 in support of
If the federal government does not fight Dow on this matter, the
results could have ramifications across the country, said Alan
DeSousa, the Montreal executive committee member in charge of
When the town of Hudson proposed a bylaw banning pesticides in 1991,
the case went to the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2001, the top court
upheld the power of municipalities to restrict pesticide use in their
"No one dies from walking on a lawn, but the effects 30 years down the
line are what we are concerned about," Smeeters said. "Health concerns
must trump business."
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
Montreal Goes to Bat for Its Pesticide Ban
The city of Montreal has joined a far-reaching coalition including the
environmental group Equiterre that's fighting U.S.based Dow-Chemicals
and its efforts to continue selling its poisons in Quebec.
The Canadian subsidiary Dow-Agrosciences is using NAFTA to sue for 2-
million-dollars worth of lost profits.
But Montreal's man-in-charge of environmental issues, executive-
committee member Alan Desousa says they expect Ottawa to throw its
weight behind the Quebec law banning pesticide use.
Desousa says it's a question of public-health: making sure the city
can continue protecting the most vulnerable people: seniors, kids and
March 3, 2009
NAFTA and the Unmanning of North America
By: Chris Wood
The longnose dace is a kind of silver minnow that lives in rivers on
the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. To humans, a boy dace looks
pretty much like a girl dace. So it wasn't till long after they
collected the little fish from several stretches of Alberta's Oldman
and Bow rivers that biologists noticed something odd. During
dissection, their random catch revealed itself to be overwhelmingly of
only one sex. In some stretches of the Oldman River, female dace
outnumbered males by more than 9 to 1.
Water sampled in stretches of the river with the fewest males revealed
spikes in a new class of pollutant, endocrine disruptors, which are
found in everything from pesticides to nail polish, flame retardants
to contraceptives, and in human and animal pharmaceuticals. Often
mimicking estrogen, endocrine disruptors scramble the chemical signals
used by vertebrates from reptiles to humans to regulate a wide range
of functions, including sexual development. The Canadian data were
only the latest to implicate endocrine disruption in genital
abnormalities and the disappearance of males.
For researcher Leland Jackson, whose tap water comes from the Bow
River, the data were "alarming. The water I use to make my kids'
orange juice is the same water those fish are living in."
The scientists reported their findings as other Canadian events were
grabbing headlines and generating heat among environmentalists. Dow
AgroSciences LLC, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Dow Chemical, one of the
world's five largest chemical companies, confirmed it would sue Canada
under NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada's trade
crime? One Canadian province, Quebec, had placed 2,4-D — a widely
used, nonproprietary herbicide and proven endocrine disruptor —on a
list of garden pesticides prohibited for cosmetic use in urban areas.
The measure was overwhelmingly popular with Quebecers.
Dow claims the ban lacks scientific support and amounts to an
"expropriation" of its business in the province (several Dow products
contain 2,4-D). It has demanded more than $2 million (Canadian) in
damages. Environmental groups that had welcomed Quebec's urban
pesticide ban — the first by a state or province in North America —
denounced Dow as the latest corporation to use NAFTA's dispute-
settlement provisions to undermine public health measures.
The truth, as usual, is somewhat more complicated than either
adversary claims. And with the Obama administration committed by its
campaign rhetoric to reopen NAFTA to bolster environmental protection,
it provides a foretaste of the entrenched prejudices, often-overlooked
facts and sobering implications for our chemical-saturated society
that await any effort to redraft the 16-year-old trade pact.
Jackson and his associates call longnose dace a "sentinel species"
that reveals environmental exposures and consequences that other
creatures, including humans, may be experiencing. The bodies of male
dace captured up to 70 miles downstream from city waste treatment
outfalls and intensely farmed areas contained vitellogenin, a protein
precursor to the production of eggs normally found only in female
dace. Male dace produce the protein only when they have been exposed
to feminizing chemicals. In combination with their extremely low
numbers, feminized males "suggest severe endocrine disruption from the
combined impacts of municipal wastewater, agriculture and large cattle
operations," the scientists concluded in a 2008 article in the journal
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
Other reports have associated endocrine disruptors with gender-bending
effects from China to Scandinavia. Sentinel species sounding an alarm
run from feminized cane toads in Florida and frogs in Connecticut to
Alaskan deer with undescended testicles and hermaphrodite polar bears
with penises and vaginas. Lab experiments and field studies have
linked endocrine-disrupting chemicals with delayed pregnancy and
spontaneous abortions among rats and humans. The faux hormones are
lead suspects in a decades-long worldwide decline in human sperm
counts, more frequent male genital birth defects and local instances
of a sharp human sex-ratio imbalance. By one estimate, a quarter of a
million boys may be "missing" globally: the difference between
historic sex ratios and the plummeting male birth rates of the last 30
Though there is clear evidence of widespread impacts, precise
knowledge about which endocrine disruptors are doing the damage —
alone or in combination with other chemicals — is lacking. Likewise,
the exact biochemical mechanisms by which endocrine disruptors work
are in many cases not documented. Still, the Quebec regulation was
explicitly adopted as a precaution, and the situation would seem
precisely the kind for which the precautionary principle was invented.
As one phrasing states: "When an activity raises threats of harm to
human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be
taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully
Yet Dow's claim that "numerous assessments ... by national and
international agencies ... have found that 2,4-D does not pose an
unacceptable health risk" is also true. To the chagrin of lawyers who
must now defend Quebec's ban (thanks to long-standing international
law practice, any dispute under NAFTA Chapter 11, even one with a
village, must be defended by the national government), those
assessments include one by Canada's own pesticide regulator, which
earlier in 2008 concluded that "2,4-D ... can be used safely by
homeowners, provided label directions are followed." According to
Dow's legal filing, even Quebec's own internal documents recognized
before the ban took effect that "certain herbicides" including 2,4-D
"cannot be prohibited on a scientific basis" and that "this is also
the opinion of (the National Public Health Institute of Quebec)." All
of the parties — the governments of Canada and Quebec and Dow —
declined to comment for this article.
Environmental organizations overlooked the sharp scientific
differences to characterize the case as a blatant effort to subvert
Quebec's desire to restrict the cosmetic use of pesticides. "That's
what people find so repugnant," charged Kathy Cooper of the Canadian
Environmental Law Association, "the ability of NAFTA to override what
democratically elected governments can do." Her view is popular on the
environmental left. A similar idea drives NAFTA's critics in the U.S.,
who accuse the trade agreement of eroding American sovereignty by
allowing private tribunals to overrule U.S. courts.
A little research into the law reveals another story, one suggesting
environmentalists have less to fear from NAFTA than they might think —
and on this occasion perhaps something to gain.
The language in NAFTA's Chapter 11 is far from radical. It draws on
more than two centuries of legal evolution based on the oldest form of
international agreement: mutual promises in which kings assured each
other's merchants of safe passage. The boilerplate NAFTA text is
little different from that in some 2,500 other multi- and bilateral
trade agreements, including the World Trade Organization. And it has
hardly proven a gateway clause for corporate greed.
Susan Franck is an unusual legal scholar. In a field dominated by
analysis, the associate professor at Virginia's Washington and Lee
University in Lexington takes an empirical tack. Surveying more than
80 disputes decided on terms found in NAFTA and other trade
agreements, she found that governments won more than half the time.
"The majority of investors received nothing" for their alleged
injuries, she wrote. "When investors did win, they did not win big."
Typically, awards ran at around 5 cents on every dollar claimed.
Canadian attorney Todd Grierson-Weiler has worked for both states and
investors as a rare specialist in NAFTA Chapter 11 cases. He calls
alarm over its provisions "hysterical." In his experience, he says,
NAFTA's own interpretive language and more than 50 years of convention
in international law strongly favor the sovereign right of governments
to enact whatever legislation they please, so long as they show
fairness and follow due process. "Not a single investor-state treaty
permits an investor to force a state to give up its law," he notes.
"All the investor can do is claim compensation for proximate damage."
NAFTA's text explicitly prohibits Canada, Mexico and the United States
from nationalizing or committing any other act "tantamount to
expropriation" of an investment belonging to a citizen of any other of
the three — unless certain conditions are met. These are not onerous.
They require the expropriation to be "for a public purpose";
implemented "on a non-discriminatory basis"; in accordance with
national law and international standards of fair and equitable
treatment; and "on payment of compensation."
It is the last, naturally enough, that gets the bulk of the attention.
Environmental groups routinely impute threatening motives to investors
who pursue compensation for lost property under NAFTA. In fact, the
situation is not very different from a farmer who loses a field to a
new highway (or, in honor of low carbon, let's say a new light rail
line). Few would question the justice of compensating the farmer for
the lost land or interpret his or her request for compensation as an
effort to undermine the government's right to build highways (or rail
In practice, most investors settle or abandon their complaints before
a tribunal concludes that any damages are due. What's new in Dow v.
Canada, Grierson-Weiler says, is that the case may for once turn not
on the technical legal points that decided earlier suits but instead
on science. NAFTA explicitly recognizes a government's right to invoke
the precautionary principle, he points out. But international legal
norms also require governments to be able to show a plausible
connection between the action in dispute and the "public purpose" they
claim to serve. In Quebec's case, it will need to show that science
justifies its invocation of the precautionary principle.
In forcing light onto that issue, NAFTA may accomplish what a couple
of decades of environmental activism have not by placing feminizing
pollutants squarely on the broader public agenda.
At first glance, the science seems to be saying two different things
about 2,4-D: that it is either quite safe or dangerous to the gender
equilibrium of many species. The paradoxical answer may be that both
assertions are true, depending on when and how you look at the
Sociologist Jim Brophy and his research associates were the first to
notice a precipitous drop in male births in the small First Nation
community of Aamjiwnaang, on the Ontario-Michigan border. Circled by
one of the continent's greatest concentrations of petrochemical
plants, its 850 members toasted only 46 boys among the 132 births
celebrated over one four-year period — a rate of about 75 boys to
every 100 girls, far below the typical norm of about 105 boys.
Miscarriages were also unusually frequent. To Brophy's dismay,
Canada's pesticide regulators have shown little interest in pursuing
the missing boys of Aamjiwnaang or whether workers in surrounding
refineries are experiencing the same gender-bending health effects.
"Endocrine disruption does challenge a lot of what was held as
established scientific opinion," Brophy acknowledges. It exposes the
limitations of what he calls "the old toxicological model that the
dose makes the poison." Most science popular with manufacturers like
Dow is aimed at determining a "safe" dose of a target molecule well
below the exposure that produces discernable health effects.
But endocrine disruptors mimic hormones, which can have outsize
effects on human development even at infinitesimal doses. In the world
outside the lab, minute traces of different endocrine disruptors may
combine to create a magnified effect. So Brophy, like Jackson and
other similarly minded scientists, tackles the question from the other
end: Using epidemiology and statistical tools to identify real-world
health anomalies, they hope to follow the etiological trail back to
what's causing them, even if it is a chemical occurring at a level of
a few parts per billion.
Recently, Brophy has found a statistically significant association
between breast cancer among Ontario women and adolescent exposure to
endocrine disruptors on farms. "At the lowest levels of exposure, you
can have the most profound effect if the timing is right," he says.
Moments of ovulation, sperm formation, conception and puberty are
likely to be especially vulnerable.
But hazards that occur only some of the time are hard to detect. It's
equally difficult to pin the guilt for even the most dramatic health
effects on one molecule among the many thousands North Americans are
exposed to and often retain in their bodies. Hence the case for the
precautionary principle — for acting on suspicion, not waiting for
To justify its ban on cosmetic weed killers, Quebec will need to show
at least some scientific basis. There is evidence aplenty. In bringing
it to court, however, Quebec will open the floodgates to a body of
evidence that regulators not only in Canada but also in the U.S. and
Britain have long ducked.
Britain opposes efforts by its European Union partners to regulate
endocrine disruptors. Perhaps ominously for its NAFTA case, Quebec did
not weigh the endocrine effects of any of the chemicals it banned,
deferring to others to gather the necessary evidence. In re-approving
2,4-D for wide use in 2008, Health Canada said it has put off judgment
of the molecule's endocrine effects until the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency concludes its ongoing risk re-evaluation of scores
of endocrine disruptors. That will take awhile. The process, ordered
by Congress in 1996, was at the end of 2008 still reaching a final
decision about which chemicals to assess.
Regulators in Canada and the U.S. have been reluctant to get into
endocrine disruption, Brophy believes, because it raises fundamental
questions about what our society is ready to accept as an "acceptable"
risk. Endocrine disruptors are almost everywhere. The implications of
reducing their presence are daunting. That is especially so for food
production, which relies heavily on fertilizers, herbicides and
pharmaceuticals that derive their effect from chemicals that are also
The $2 million (Canadian) Dow seeks as damages is the price of a
country estate on one of Quebec's Thousand Islands, lapped by the
endocrine disruptor-laced waters of the St. Lawrence River. The more
material threat Dow's suit poses is to the ongoing game of "After you,
Gaston" — with all of its mutual deference and evidentiary denial —
that has been practiced by the agencies charged with protecting North
Americans' public health. To win the case, Canada must either put up
some endocrine science or, effectively, shut up.
The real suspense here is whether NAFTA will force a major government
in North America to maintain in court — for the first time — that our
fondness for perfect lawns, bodies and groceries may be turning us
into a more feminine and less reproductively robust species. That
would be an environmental advance that even President Obama, who hails
from a state with a huge agriculture lobby, might think twice before
Dow AgroSciences LLC had 90 days to file a notice of arbitration which
would continue the NAFTA challenge under Chapter 11. Dow spokeswoman
Brenda Harris stated to Canadian Press on November 20th that Dow will
not comment on whether it would pursue its claim until the period
expires on Monday, November 24, 2008.
NAFTA - Chapter 11 - Investment
Cases Filed Against the Government of Canada
"Dow AgroSciences LLC" v. Government of Canada
Legal Documents (all documents are in pdf) Copies of all legal
documents posted in the document archive have been prepared in a
language of operation of the Tribunal or Court in question. The
Government of Canada has not modified or changed them in any way. As
such they have not been translated from the original. They are
provided in Acrobat (pdf) files. To view or download pdf files you
need Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™ a free software that you can download
from the web.
* Notice of Intent - August 25, 2008
According to the Notice of Intent above the law firm representing Dow
AgroSciences LLC is Ogilvy Renault.and the lawyer handling the file is
Paul D. Conlin. He is an expert in Access to Information as well as
international trade (NAFTA , WTO) and investment.
Paul D. Conlin Partner, Lawyer
DIRECT LINE 613.780.8639
Paul D. Conlin focuses on international trade and investment, WTO
disputes, trade remedies, customs law, export controls and government
contracting. He regularly appears before the Canadian International
Trade Tribunal in anti-dumping, countervailing duty, safeguard and
government procurement proceedings. He advises clients on foreign
investment, import and export regulation, as well as NAFTA and WTO
obligations and disputes. He is one of very few lawyers in private
practice in Canada to have argued before a WTO dispute settlement
Mr. Conlin also advises clients on all aspects of federal, provincial
and municipal government contracting in Canada, including teaming
agreements, strategic planning, bid preparation, contract negotiation,
regulatory compliance, contract audits, bid challenges and litigation.
He has advised government and private sector clients and represented
clients in several of the largest dollar-value procurements in Canada
over the past decade.
Mr. Conlin has broad experience representing clients that produce
controlled or strategic products. He assists with developing
compliance programs, responding to customs audits, obtaining security
clearances and export permits, and satisfying other regulatory
requirements. He also advises on Canadian foreign ownership and
control restrictions in regulated sectors such as communications and
March 2, 2009
Court turns down Agent Orange cases
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned down American and
Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange who wanted to pursue lawsuits
against companies that made the toxic chemical defoliant used in the
The justices offer no comment on their action Monday, rejecting
appeals in three separate cases, in favor of Dow Chemical, Monsanto
and other companies that made Agent Orange and other herbicides used
by the military in Vietnam.
Agent Orange has been linked to cancer, diabetes and birth defects
among Vietnamese soldiers and civilians and American veterans.
The American plaintiffs blame their cancer on exposure to Agent Orange
during the military service in Vietnam. The Vietnamese said the U.S.'
sustained program to prevent the enemy from using vegetation for cover
and sustenance caused miscarriages, birth defects, breast cancer,
ovarian tumors, lung cancer, Hodgkin's disease and prostate tumors.
All three cases had been dismissed by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in New York.
The appeals court said that lawsuit brought by the Vietnamese
plaintiffs could not go forward because Agent Orange was used to
protect U.S. troops against ambush and not as a weapon of war against
The other two suits were filed by U.S. veterans who got sick too late
to claim a piece of the $180 million settlement with makers of the
chemical in 1984. In 2006, the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on whether
those lawsuits could proceed.
The appeals court ultimately said no to both. In one case, the court
said companies are shielded from lawsuits brought by U.S. military
veterans or their relatives because the law protects government
contractors in certain circumstances who provide defective products.
In the third suit, the appeals court ruled that the companies could
transfer claims from state to federal courts.
The cases are Isaacson v. Dow Chemical Co., 08-460, Stephenson v. Dow
Chemical Co., 08-461, and Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent
Orange v. Dow Chemical Co., 08-470.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
March 03, 2009
Salmon Arm Observer
Countering lawn-care view
With reference to letters by Trevor Ely of Elements Lawn Maintenance
and mine, both published in the Salmon Arm Observer on Feb. 17, I am
appalled by the content of Ely’s letter.
A retired intelligence analyst, I am currently honorary Canadian
observer on the Pesticide Working Group based in Washington, D.C.
We are repeatedly confronted with self-interested individuals unlikely
to have gone beyond high school, verbally attacking knowledgeable
professionals because the latter have legitimate concerns about the
redundant use of toxic chemicals.
And who are the “activists” who question the chemical industry’s self-
interested pesticide “religion”? More likely than not they are
independent professionals and well-informed laymen. They deserve
respect, rather than contempt. Their science-based views should be
taken into account; it is irresponsible to ridicule them.
By the way, the word “activist” is neutral and applies to pro-
pesticide activists such as Mr. Ely as well.
It is impossible that the science-based opinion of the MDs on this
issue will ever be discredited. On the contrary, it is bound to be
periodically strengthened as a result of further independent research.
K. Jean Cottam,
March 03, 2009
Salmon Arm Observer
Weighing in on pesticides
Debate: Strong opinions both for and against use of chemicals.
We are in the aftermath of an economic crisis brought on, we are told,
by lack of government regulations and by greed. Apparently, no-one
knew it was coming.
Will we have an environmental crisis next? And will everyone be
In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring wherein she warned us about
the dangers of pesticides. That was 47 years ago. Many
environmentalists and scientists have continued to warn us. They
emphasize the cumulative effects over time and the combination of
pollutants will be our undoing.
In the banking fiasco, the interests of private business trumped the
common good. Governments did not look out for us. The corporate
lobbies are extremely powerful and work full-time influencing
Here, in Salmon Arm, our natural environment is hugely important. Not
only does it make it a pleasant place to live, but also it is
essential to our health and our economy. Last summer, Shuswap Lake had
a large algae bloom that, apparently, was a surprise to those
government agencies that are responsible for the health of our lakes.
The total collapse of many lakes in Canada is well documented. Look at
Lake Winnipeg. No-one knows how close our lake is to the tipping
point. We do know that pollution of many kinds is the problem. We must
err on the side of caution.
It is too bad that private pesticide applicators think they must
continue spraying 2,4-D. Isn’t this another example of business
interests taking precedence over the public good? It is very
unfortunate that our council let us down on this. Where’s the
liability? The accountability?
2,4-D has been in use for over 40 years. Would it be approved today as
a new product? It is in Agent Orange. Health Canada’s approval doesn’t
mean much to me. Bees in North America are dying off in huge numbers.
No one knows why. Pesticides are implicated.
And no one knows when the total of all the pollutants going into our
lake will be too many and it turns, suddenly, toxic. We can tell our
grandchildren that those disgusting dandelions and plantain were so
horrific that we had to poison the lake.
The runoff from sprayed lawns goes right into our low-tech, inadequate
storm sewers and right into the lake. There are pesticide bans in 152
other Canadian municipalities, as well as all of Quebec, Sweden,
Denmark and Norway.
How come Green Velvet and the others didn’t think it would come here?
How about a proactive and educational approach on their part? It is
incumbent on them to dissuade customers from using deadly sprays and
introduce them to alternatives. And it is up to all of us to just stop
using known poisons for our convenience.
Judith “Molly” Bell
Wednesday March 4th, 2009
N.B. residents want pesticide ban, according to poll results
By Ryan Ross
Cosmetic pesticides may help lawns look nice, but a recent survey
shows most New Brunswickers want them banned.
The Canadian Cancer Society, New Brunswick Lung Association and the
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment released the
survey results which showed 79 per cent of people surveyed support a
provincial ban on cosmetic pesticides.
Conservation Council of New Brunswick science advisor Inka Milewski
said she wasn’t surprised by the survey results.
“We have been working on this issue for a very long time.”
Several municipalities around the province have already implemented
pesticide bans, including St. Andrews and Shediac, she said.
“This is the trend towards these bans and the province needs to get on
board and take some leadership with this.”
Milewski said the province is slated to make an announcement on
cosmetic pesticide use this spring and she hopes they will initiate a
“Ideally the ban should have been in effect 10 years ago or longer.”
Quebec initiated a ban on cosmetic pesticide use in 2006 and Ontario
included the sale of pesticides for lawn care and landscape purposes
in the ban they instituted in 2008.
The scientific journal “Canadian Family Physicians” conducted a survey
of studies on the effects of pesticides and concluded most showed a
link between pesticides and cancer, she said.
“Children are the most vulnerable to pesticide exposure and it just
makes sense to remove these from their environment.”
Milewski said there is also evidence of links between pesticide use
and effects on the nervous systems.
Even if signs are posted warning of pesticide use the chemicals linger
for a long time and can drift when sprayed, she said. “It’s just
something that shouldn’t be used.”
Milewski said the government should do more to educate the public
about the risks of pesticide use so they are aware of the dangers.
“I think part of the problem is this evidence is not as widely known
or advertised as it should be,” she said.
Miramichi public works director Frank Duffy said the city doesn’t have
a ban on pesticides, but they only use them in extreme cases.
“I think there was maybe one or two occasions where we have.”
City workers either pull weeds out or cut them off instead of spraying
them, but they did have a few places where there were too many for the
staff to handle by hand, he said.
“It just got to the point where it was impossible to do.”
Duffy said manually removing weeds does a take a lot of work.
“It places a much larger demand on our workforce when we do that.”
But the public works department tries to be a good corporate citizen
when it comes to cosmetic pesticide use, he said.
“Like everybody else we’re concerned about the environment.”
Ipsos Reid conducted the survey Dec. 5-9, 2008 and sampled 438 New
Brunswickers. The poll is considered accurate with plus or minus 4.7
per cent 19 times out of 20.
March 3, 2009
Cornwall Standard Freeholder
Time to stop the use of roadside spraying with herbicides
To the Mayors of Stormont Dundas and Glengarry:
I urge you to place a moratorium on the use of herbicide spraying
along SDandG roadsides. Given that the province of Ontario has
established the health risks associated with herbicide spraying, it
only makes sense to stop the practice along our public roads. It is
well established that pesticides poison the air we breathe, the water
that we drink and the soil that we grow our food in. Rural roadside
spraying sends the poisons directly to the air, water and soil.
As you may recall, it was realized many years ago that there was no
way to kill every last mosquito when DDT was used, and the same can be
said of trying to kill plants -- there will always be some problem
plants such a parsnip so we need to educate the public rather than try
to kill the plants.
Provincial and municipal jurisdictions all over Canada are taking
steps to eliminate this health hazard, which is paid for at public
expense now and with future health costs, so I urge you to join the
growing list of progressive municipalities that have eliminated the
use of these herbicides.
Please refer to an excellent source of science-based information that
can be found at the David Suzuki website to assist with your research.
Please keep me informed of your decision on this matter.
John Towndrow, Cornwall
Tuesday 3rd March 2009
No right to know what is being sprayed in our streets?
URBAN cosmetic spraying with pesticides/herbicides (Substances
designed to kill living organisms) is usually done every spring as
well as now in late autumn, when weeds are dying back.
No warnings required, before or after. By the time the yellow rings
appear around lamps, hydrants, public seats, verges and edges, it’s
I asked HSE what the rules are for this, after discovering that my
local council, TVBC, did not know what the sub-contractors had used.
Contractors have to tell sprayers what they are using. They are not
obliged to record what was used.
Even if they were, neither council nor public have any right to this
So I asked HSE if they considered the situation the same as for
residents and bystanders with farm spraying. They said ‘yes’.
The situation is not the same.
We are paying for it, in our streets and towns.
But we have, apparently, no rights at all in this matter.
Margaret Reichlin, MacCallum Road, Upper Enham.
Warning Industry Propaganda Below
March 03, 2009
Salmon Arm Observer
Research not scientific
Re: K. Jean Cottam letter, Salmon Arm Observer: Feb.18.
Ms. Cottam is a retired social servant with a PhD in Eastern European
history, not science. She has written letters to the editor of almost
every newspaper in Canada to expound upon her anti-pesticide views.
Cottam asserts that Al Schneider (see City delays pesticide ban plan,
Salmon Arm Observer, Feb.10) is wrong in his statement concerning the
use of corn gluten meal (CGM), and she maintains that the product has
only to be applied in the spring. However, Schneider was correct when
he said that three to four applications are required per growing
season. In addition, CGM must be applied for two or three consecutive
years, in conjunction with a sound lawn maintenance program. CGM does
not control existing weeds: it acts solely on seedling roots by
inhibiting the growth process. The verdict is not out on CGM’s
effectiveness as a pre-emergent herbicide, most of the Canadian data
compiled in field trials thus far is not promising.
The independent research on the effects of pesticides – to which
Cottam refers – has been peer-reviewed and discounted as not
scientific and/or inconclusive. Cottam gives a distorted view of
science, and draws her own conclusions in order to better support her
The service industry, Health Canada, and the federal Pest Management
Regulatory Agency (PMRA) are not affiliated with the manufacturers of
pesticide products. The PMRA has approximately 350 qualified
scientists on staff, and is certainly able to make informed decisions
on the toxicity of the pesticides they review.
Although Cottam states that Integrated Pest Management “has been
largely discredited,” in fact, IPM is based upon a body of
scientifically sound horticultural guidelines and practices related to
Elements Lawn Maintenance
March 03, 2009
Salmon Arm Observer
Freedom of choice
Politicians and doctors seem to believe people don’t have the ability
to educate themselves and make informed decisions.
Now they have banned cosmetic spraying of pesticides for homeowners.
You can buy the product at your local stores, but don’t use it.
Gardening is a cosmetic industry and a source of enjoyment for a lot
of people. It is a personal choice if a landscape is kept to a certain
standard. People can educate themselves on the products available and
make a decision on what product will work best for them. People spend
a lot of money on their landscapes and have the right to protect their
They have the right to try the organic products available if they
believe that they will work. They do not have the right to impose
their beliefs on others.
The tourists love Salmon Arm for the lush appearance of the landscape.
Townhome complexes work hard to keep their landscapes free of issues.
And yes I am one of those professionals they hire. My husband,
employees and I work very hard to maintain many complexes in Salmon
Arm. We use a minimal amount of product on the lawn and hardscapes.
What we use is cost effective and has no adverse effect on the
environment regardless of what council believes.
I am offended that council feels what they believe in should be
imposed on my business and the public. I have the right to walk around
on my weed free lawn just as a golfer has the right to hit that little
white ball around without a weed ruining his shot. I have the right to
buy flowers from a florist that has been sprayed with these same
products. If council feels that the public is not smart enough to read
the label when using the products, then I invite them to make those
How many other products are these same people going to want regulated.
I don’t want my tax dollars spent imposing the belief system of some
self-appointed experts. I prefer my tax dollars to be spent on
children’s education or local policing; leave the regulating to the
regulatory agencies my tax dollars already pay for.
Salmon Arm Property Maintenance Ltd.