Here is some comments from Rob Fleming, another one that is really not grasping the reality of pesticides and how they can be used safely.
It is as if Gideon Forman and Josette Weir meets with these people before the meetings and coaches them on misinformation.
I wonder what his position is on windmills and human health effects.
LETS ALL DO WHAT THEY DO IN PLACES LIKE HOLLAND ROB.
R. Fleming (Deputy Chair):
Just picking up on some of the answers I could decipher there, the last comment in particular, which was the affirmation again that the precautionary principle informs the legislation. The definition around cost-effective and other things, which is not standard and is not lifted from the Rio declaration, provides maybe some room for interpretation here. Another commonly attributed description to the precautionary principle is the no-regrets principle — another way of explaining it.
That is not, in my understanding, the way that Health Canada makes its decisions and recommendations on some of these products. If it did, as we heardfrom previous testimony, Health Canada would not have made mistakes where it has pulled products that it once certified as safe from the market, from the shelvesin stores that Canadians access regularly. As we heard previously, that hashappened with dozens and dozens of products. I would make that suggestion andinvite comment.
What I think are often held up as examples of use of the precautionary principle by governments and policy-makers are the steps that countries — like Sweden and Holland and Germany and, indeed, now six provinces in Canada and some states in the U.S. — have taken where products that you, Health Canada,certify as safe to use are restricted and banned from certain areas.
There are U.S. jurisdictions that have laws that prohibit products that inCanada can be used virtually anywhere. You cannot use them, in certain U.S.states, where there are playgrounds and other public areas where children may be exposed. That, to me, is an example of other jurisdictions creating laws based on the precautionary principle, whereas Canada at the federal level does not do so.
Again, I think the definition was quite apt from Dr. Delorme — that what we in fact use here is best described as the precautionary approach. So there is consideration of harm. There is obviously a thorough risk assessment. There is review of scientific literature that is supplied by industry.
That's what informs the list of pesticides that are available in Canada and your advice as an agency to political decision-makers.
R. Fleming (Deputy Chair):
Thank you for that response. I was also goingto add your list. Is it fair to add the courts in this country as one of the things thatmight trigger a review? I know that you're now being required to reviewchemicals that may pose a risk to amphibian life and ecosystem biodiversity, onthe basis of a court decision which Health Canada intervened and opposed.