Dr. Josette Wier continues her battle against pesticides
Posted on February 28, 2015
Dr. Josette Wier, a doctor and an activist against pesticides, was born in France. She is 68 years old. She has a 120 Acre plot at Smithers, northern BC. She wishes to plant organic grain there, but has not managed the economics of it yet, so presently leases the land for hay. She does not earn anything from it – but gives the hay away freely. She intends to try out experimental crops in small lots to see what works and what does not. She is not aiming to get her products certified organic right now, because it is an expensive proposition, but would like to grow her crops as if they were organic.
There is a shortage of information and knowledge on what can be grown there sustainably. The region’s history of settlements is barely a century old, where settlers came, cleared the forest and created the farm land. Nobody has tried growing human cereals, though some have grown animal feed there. There was a government funded study in an experimental farm decades ago, to see what can be grown there. But, the Government has shut that down quite a while ago. The information thus collected is apparently lost or lying in someone’s barn without any effort to preserve. Reportedly a research student in the University of Northern British Columbia, UNBC, is trying to find that information and is lamenting at the difficulty of finding, preserving and building on that knowledge base.
Josette has a few more things that sets her apart. She has been battling pesticide use in Canada, as an activist and a litigator, for 15 years or so. She took the provincial Government followed up by taking the Federal Govt to court for practice of injecting arsenic based pesticide into hundreds of thousands of BC forest trees to fight the pine beetle attack, and for spraying RoundUp by the logging corporations. After several years of court battle , she eventually won both her cases, and the practice was halted. But this happened only after EPA had withdrawn approval of the practice in USA due to proven harm to environment.
Josette however does not consider it a victory, since the BC Government does not seem to know what to do with the hundred thousand trees that still stand with arsenic and Glyphosate in them, and are poisoning woodpeckers, mice, insects and a whole lot of the food chain. During this long battle, she came to learn a lot about the harmful effects of Glyphosate.
As if that was not enough, Dr. Josette Wier has come across a new challenge in the last few years in Smithers. Her district voted itself to want to be GMO free through a resolution in 2013. However, an Alberta farmer has landed on her town, bought a large plot, and has started planting and growing GM RoundUp Ready Canola, and spraying RoundUp, more than the recommended limit, on his property bordering Josette, causing pesticide trespass onto her property over the fence, as well as using RoundUp on crown property ditches which is illegal even in Canada.
Further, he appears to be using it more often and in larger quantity than recommended by the producer (Monsanto) and seller (Croplife). Also the new farmer apparently does not follow best practice guidelines recommended in Croplife brochure, about informing bee keepers and neighbours before spraying, so the neighbours could take precaution.
Josette says she and her family is genetically inclined to fall prey to Cancer more easily than others. She has officially complained to the district board. But nothing much happens.
It appears that the use of Glyphosate is approved by Health Canada based on study by the maker of the product, provided the user follows the guidelines provided in the package. The strange thing is – there seem to be no oversight or regulator, to ensure that the guidelines, however questionable, are being followed.
Josette has filed a case with the Farm Industry Resource Board on this issue as well as given written letters to the farmer in question, advising him of the recommended practice per CropLife and Monsanto documentation and requesting him to maintain a buffer, use the herbicide no more than recommended level and keep neighbours and bee keepers advised ahead of time. None of these requests are being followed.
I am planning to create a two part video, 15 minutes each, of Josette’s talk, and plan to drive to her place in summer, a 12 hour drive, for a look sea and taking pictures (right now there is a lot of snow on the roads and is not a good time to drive there).
This video was created based on my talks with her.
A few notes:
She is asking for a buffer around her property where no herbicide is sprayed. This is better than no buffer. But we know that is insufficient as the spray drifts in the air. Also, it may get into the underground water, and also go in agricultural runoffs and contaminate the neighbourhood anyway.
The issue here, is another example where we may be having a Government that appears determined to poison the countryside for the sake of a handful of Auber-powerful corporations. Is this an onset of fascism? Are we having a Government of the Corporations, for the Corporations and by the Corporations, while maintaining a thin and crumbling facade of democracy and rule of law?
If any of you know the student of UNBC that is searching for the missing documents about the experimental farm in Bulley-Nachako regional district, that was shut down by the Government, I would request you to pass me her contacts so I can catch up on that story.
This is not the only battle on Josette’s plate. She has the pipeline and the other toxic agendas to fight against too. My heart goes out to this spirited doctor, and member of CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment).
For those that might want to offer a suggestion for Dr. Wier – send me a note.