Liberals Should Hit the Pause Button in Light of New Neonics Study

January 13, 2016

CORNWALL- New evidence published by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) indicates that the Liberal Government’s blanket ban on neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics), supposedly enacted in order to tackle bee mortality, was not warranted.


“Bee mortality has seen a strong decline even before the Liberals took any action” MPP McDonell commented. “According to an earlier report by the PMRA, during planting period there was a 70% decrease in the number of reported yards affected in 2014 compared to 2013, and in 2015 the reduction was 80% compared to 2013. Grain farmers and other users of neonic pesticides have implemented strong measures to prevent exposure that gave tangible results. I had the opportunity to appreciate grain farmers’ commitment to sustainability and good environmental stewardship at today’s local GFO Annual General Meeting in Avonmore”.


The PMRA also identified flaws in studies that pointed to Imidacloprid, a neonic pesticide, as a cause for declining bee populations.


The PMRA authors noted: “These studies have generally been conducted under laboratory situations or in the field with bees exposed to Imidacloprid at doses higher than may normally be encountered in the environment”.


“With these new findings, the Liberal government cannot possibly justify their position on neonicotinoids,” said MPP Jim McDonell. “Doing so will only continue to negatively impact one of the largest industries in this province”.


A related value assessment of neonicotinoid use on corn and soybeans found a $74 to $83 million benefit to the corn industry and a benefit of $37 to $51 million for soybeans. Although these are national values, much of it is centered in Ontario.


Recent findings by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the safety of Imidacloprid have also aligned with the study conducted by Health Canada.


“A sustainable approach to agriculture policy must be formulated on scientific data” MPP McDonell stressed. “Unfortunately, the Liberal government chose to plough ahead without having all the facts, but now they have an opportunity to respect what has been said all along and hit the pause button on their neonicotinoid ban”.


Comments on the first phase of the study will be accepted for 60 days after January 18th and the PMRA intends to publish a final document on the evaluation of Imidacloprid, targeted for a December 2016 release date.