PETER TABUNS and GEORGE SMITHERMAN really wanted pesticides Banned.
Peter Tabuns is just playing both sides of the debate.
George Smitherman picked sides long ago.
REMEMBER WHO YOU’RE VOTING FOR IN OCTOBER.
Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
Premier Dalton McGuinty will mark Earth Day this morning by announcing a province-wide ban on the sale and use of lawn and garden pesticides.
Keeping a promise made during last fall’s election campaign, McGuinty is replacing municipal restrictions in more than 30 Ontario municipalities, including Toronto, with one single law, which will take effect next spring. The severity of the existing restrictions vary from municipality to municipality.
The ban would apply to the so-called cosmetic use of pesticides – which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides – now used on private lawns, fruit trees and gardens.
The new legislation would allow for spraying in event of emergencies such as an outbreak of West Nile virus.
However, as McGuinty emphasized last Wednesday in a speech to an agricultural conference at Queen’s Park, farmers need not fear the ban.
“I want to take this opportunity to reassure you that what we’re doing with the cosmetic banning of pesticides will stay in backyards, and not affect your back fields,” he told the annual Premier’s Agri-Foods Summit.
During last fall’s campaign – three weeks after the City of Toronto’s pesticide ban took effect Sept. 1 – McGuinty promised Ontario would follow Quebec with new provincial restrictions on the cosmetic use of pesticides and herbicides.
“We are determined to get it done here,” the premier said Sept. 24 in Stratford.
“There is a growing concern about the potential harmful effects of these products on human health.”
The measures, to be unveiled by McGuinty and Environment Minister John Gerretsen this morning at a home near Avenue Rd. and St. Clair Ave. W., would not apply to golf courses, farmland or managed forests.
As well, the premier is expected to announce that Ontario’s law would echo Massachusetts legislation requiring pesticide manufacturers to reduce the toxins they use in production.
“We will be the first province in Canada to put in place a new law that would require that industry reduce over time its toxic emissions,” McGuinty said last year.
Gerretsen was tight-lipped when asked about the changes yesterday, but sources say the government will reveal a draft list of individual products and chemicals to be banned.
The final list of outlawed pesticides will be determined by regulation after the province consults on the draft before next spring.
“We always said it was a priority. It’s had tremendous support across the province,” the environment minister said.
Health Minister George Smitherman said it makes sense to take action. “There’s a lot of consciousness being raised about environmental health issues … this is a really exciting step forward,” said Smitherman.
Progressive Conservative MPP Bob Runciman (Leeds-Grenville) said his party might support the legislation provided it’s not public relations “puffery which this government is renowned for.”
NDP MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth) said there’s no need for Ontario to take three years, as it did in Quebec, to phase in the ban.
“Cities have been doing this. There have been links between the use of herbicides (and) pesticides and human disease. Why don’t we phase out the stuff that’s unnecessary?” said Tabuns.
With files from Jim Byers and Rob Ferguson
That seems to be nailing what’s happening here right on the head. Ontarians and children certainly deserve real action from their environment minister. If the health of Ontarians and our environment is truly to be taken seriously, then we should have serious legislation that will improve the health of Ontarians, and this legislation certainly does not cut it.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The matter before the House is Bill 64. The debate having concluded, I will now put the question. Mr. Gerretsen has moved third reading of Bill 64. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All those in favour will say “aye.”
All those opposed will say “nay.”
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.
The division bells rang from 1205 to 1235.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): All those in favour will rise one at a time and be recorded by the Clerk.
Bradley, James J.
Broten, Laurel C.
Brown, Michael A.
Cansfield, Donna H.
Flynn, Kevin Daniel
Ouellette, Jerry J.
Van Bommel, Maria
Wynne, Kathleen O.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): All those opposed will rise and be recorded by the Clerk.
Runciman, Robert W.
The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 56; the nays are 17.
Official Records for 18 June 2008