Senate must heed evidence on bee killing pesticides

MEDIA RELEASE / January 28, 2014


OTTAWA – The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry begins hearings on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides today. Beekeepers, grain growers and academics have been invited to present evidence.

The hearings come a month after Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) -- bowing to pressure from lobby group Croplife and the pesticide industry -- shockingly punted any action on the bee-killing pesticides until at least 2016. Croplife is led by former Conservative MP and newly minted President & CEO Ted Menzies.

In addition to over 20 scientific studies linking neonicotinoid pesticides with the declining bee populations, scientists again documented the damage inflicted by neonicotinoids on bees and birds this past summer via the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. The EU has already responded with a ban.

The PMRA itself acknowledged in September 2013 that “current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are not sustainable”. That statement followed by their decision to put off any regulatory action for at least two years simply doesn’t make sense.

About 30% of our food depends on bees and other pollinating insects. Not acting now, in 2014, threatens to put the bees (and many beekeepers) out of business. New research is also suggesting the bee-killing pesticides may also be impacting human health!

“I guess it’s who you know that determines policy on toxic chemicals in Canada?” said Sierra Club’s John Bennett. “On the face of the evidence, how else can the PMRA’s decision be explained?”

The Senate hearings will draw attention to what many are calling a second ‘Silent Spring’ -- referring to Rachel Carson’s landmark book documenting the impact of DDT (and essentially leading to its ban).

“This 21st Century ‘Silent Spring’ must be brought to an end now,” said Mr. Bennett. “The government needs to put the interests of the pesticide industry aside and do the right thing -- the stakes are simply too high.”

For more information on the plight of the bees click here.


John Bennett, National Program Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
412-1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B7
John on Twitter / Bennett Blog