Canadians Against Pesticides - ABOUT CAPS
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On the very day Election 2000 was called, CAPS sent a simple questionnaire to each of the major federal parties to elicit their respective positions on pesticide reform.

Recently, the NDP responded to CAPS questions.

Their reply is very clearly pro pesticide reform. However, they are not willing to take the profound position that CAPS advocates... that of an immediate ban on all cosmetic-use pesticides and an immediate phase-out program on agricultural-use pesticides. They also use wording that offers room to slide out of their pro-pesticide reform platform if elected.

To their credit, they remain consistent to their position as defined by Question Period debate and their many media soundbites expressing opposition to Liberal waffling. They cite NDP Halifax-West MP, Gordon Earle's call for a ban on Dursban following the U.S. announcement of an America-wide ban. They follow that with NDP Environment Critic, Dennis Gruending's August press conference to outline the Liberal inaction on this grave matter.

The NDP response to the CAPS Questionnaire also reinforces the desperate need to implement the Precautionary Principle which states:

"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically".

Their response suggests that, in reference to pesticide residue on food, an NDP government will:

... scrap the Liberal practice of risk management and replace it with the precautionary principle that puts human health first."

The NDP response makes some mention of critical, profound changes to the existing PCPA and they make slim mention of supporting Alternatives to synthetic pesticides, though they do not detail what types of alternatives, nor do they make mention of any funding and educational programs to aid farmers in making a transition from traditional pesticide use to organic methods. They note that:

The NDP believes the PCPA should be replaced with a new law that protects children and encourages the safe development of alternatives.

Notice that they say the "safe development of alternatives" and not the "development of safe alternatives". The sentiment of replacing the PCPA with legislation that "protects children" is applauded, however it would have been preferable to be consistent and echo the sentiment of the Standing Committee's report by suggesting that new legislation would "set as its highest priority the protection of human health (especially that of children) and the environment".

To leave such gaps, especially when the NDP supported the Committee's report, may be telling a greater truth of a NDP government. Perhaps they, too, are high on promises and low on action.

Further evidence of this may rest in the following statement about alternatives to synthetic pesticides:

...we recognize pest control as an important tool for farmers, but feel that farmers, their families and consumers should not be forced to expose themselves to harmful chemicals when there is safer alternatives."

If one reads between the lines, this could be a clever 'out' for avoiding the implementation of any new legislation. As it stands, farmers are free to farm organically... and consumers are free to purchase organic foods. So, in terms of the current legislation, no one is being forced to farm with pesticides or consume these products... just as long as one can depend on the ethics and commitment of organic farmers! From CAPS perspective, this statement says nothing and should be dismissed.

We encourage you to read all of the full NDP response for yourself!

Click here to read their response to our questionnaire.

Click here to read the full MAY 16 report "Pesticides: Making the Right Choice For The Protection of Health and the Environment"