Grain Farmers Call Enviro Minister’s Comments “Thinly Veiled Attack On Agriculture”

on May 16 | in Ag News | by | with No Comments

From a GFO Release

GUELPH – Based on a number of comments made by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, it is evident that the rush to impose a near-ban on neonicotinoid treated seed is part of a broader strategy to restrict modern farming practices in Ontario. As part of the proposed regulation, treated seed will be defined as a new class of pesticide, Class 12.

In an interview with the Ontario Beekeepers Association, Minister Glen Murray was quoted as saying “this new Class 12 category is intended to deal with the family of neonicotinoids, and as it grows we can actually quickly move others in there”. At a recent Organic Council of Ontario meeting, he made comments that suggest he intends to go after other pesticide use and promoted organic farming as one way to reduce climate change.

Murray is using the veil of bee health to push his agenda. The 2014 Annual Report from the Province’s Apiarist notes that, following the action taken by the federal government through the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), Ontario’s grain farmers were able to contribute to a 70% decrease in in-season bee mortality incidents during the planting season in May 2014. The same study lists nine factors involved in bee health issues across the province, with weather and starvation named the top two. Ontario’s Apiarist is calling for extensive research in Ontario to better understand what is happening to honey bees in the province, advice Murray seems to reject.

“It is stunning that the government has provincial, evidence-based information readily available to them that demonstrates that the proposed neonicotinoid ban will do little to help pollinators, yet Glen Murray continues to push these regulations as a solution to bee health,” says Barry Senft, CEO of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “There’s no reason to believe the Minister can be this misinformed by accident – he isn’t interested in the reality and impacts of these regulations, but rather a broader agenda on modern agriculture.”

Grain Farmers of Ontario is looking to Premier Kathleen Wynne to rein-in the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, recognizing the pace and force with which these regulations are being imposed is irresponsible and the Minister has openly expressed that he has another agenda at play.

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