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Making up for lost ground

Re: Pesticide ban's foes get louder (March 25). Unfortunately, it appears yet again that the Free Press has chosen not to present a balanced article. I am also surprised that an industry that stands to lose profits is given so much clout in a debate that concerns Manitobans' health.

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Over half of Canada's population is protected from cosmetic pesticides. Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh is only attempting to make up for lost ground to provide Manitobans with some of the protection afforded to the majority of the population.

It would be ideal for our food crops to be pesticide-free as well. But the nature of our food system is that it is perceived to rely on these synthetic inputs to meet the demand. To change the structure of our very troubled food system is beyond the scope of this movement.

AMANDA KINDEN

Winnipeg

ñü

Oh, Manitoba, please don't follow the other provinces down that rabbit hole.

Here in Ontario, farmland and golf-course owners are allowed to use these chemicals but individual homeowners are not. Our municipal government quit using weed killers, and now every spring all the boulevards and public trails are shamefully packed with dandelions and other weeds that then bloom and spew their seeds to all and sundry.

All of that rubbish about a thick, healthy lawn not growing weeds is just that, total rot.

My very dear friend and a native of Manitoba purchased a product containing 2,4-D during his last visit home and then gifted it to me. Liquid gold to this gardener. If I were to use it, I would use it sparingly because that is the correct way to handle these products, and of course I would do so under cover of darkness so that our green police don't arrest me. I would not be wholesale spraying large tracts of land as is the practice of golf courses, whose sole purpose for doing so is to provide a weed-free playing surface.

If your province bans these chemicals, it should make it across the board and prohibit their use on all non-agricultural property. Golf courses could simply raise their par ratings to compensate for the additional obstacles weeds would provide.

LORI CRANK

Oakville, Ont.

ñü

Doctors are pleased the government is listening to the vast majority of Manitobans and moving ahead with a ban on lawn and garden pesticides. We believe the pesticide debate must always reference the science.

A systematic review done by the Ontario College of Family Physicians in 2012 found that people exposed to these chemicals are at greater risk for reproductive and behavioral problems and respiratory illness.

For example, the doctors found that reduced IQ and attention problems like ADHD were more common in children who had higher pesticide exposure during pregnancy. As well, they found that exposure to pesticides is associated with obstructive and restrictive lung diseases, including asthma.

GIDEON FORMAN

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Toronto

ñü

At one time I farmed in a manner known as "conventional," that is, with synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. During that time I became aware that there was a growing body of scientific evidence proving that these chemicals were not only toxic but were becoming part of the food chain.

So I find it interesting that the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers is challenging the government's decision to restrict use of these chemicals for cosmetic application. They seem to reason that the old studies are invalid, since their are no new studies.

But science understands these chemicals are dangerous to have around in any sort of concentration. The only argument is at what concentration do they start to impede a healthy lifestyle? Oh, and today I'm an organic farmer. By convention.

WAYNE JAMES

Beausejour

Reeking of jealousy

Re: Indulging Brian Pallister (Letters, March 26). Both respondents reek of jealousy in their remarks about Pallister. Here is a guy who made it on his own and has worked his way up to becoming the next premier of Manitoba, hopefully.

Whether he has a seven-car garage or a 19-car garage is no one's business; he paid for it himself and deserves it.

These writers most likely feel that he should have given them some of his success, for that is the thinking of the lefties, that no one gets ahead.

Where was their concern when Theresa Spence was wasting taxpayers' money and still is? Where is their mockery of David Suzuki, one of the most hypocritical people on the planet, leaving one of the biggest carbon footprints while preaching restraint?

DAVID YASKIW

Winnipeg

Sending wrong message

While there is some good information presented in Carolin Vesely's March 26 feature, Lullabye and goodnight ..., the large picture of the baby sleeping on his side sends the wrong message to your readers.

Since 1999, Health Canada has advised babies be put on their backs to sleep. Babies who sleep on their backs have a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Since the launch of the Back to Sleep campaign in 1999, SIDS rates in Canada have dropped by 50 per cent.

LINDA UHRICH

Mount Carmel Clinic

Winnipeg

ñü

Babies and parents and sleep are never the best combination. What parents need to know is that all babies are different and there is no formula for getting every baby to sleep. We need to have reasonable expectations for newborns and even older infants and toddlers who may never be so-called good sleepers.

Yes, it is absolutely helpful to establish a routine, create a calm and relaxing sleep environment and pay attention to your child's cues. But even if you do all those things, it does not mean there is something wrong with your four, six or 18-month-old if they do not sleep through the night.

It also does not mean parents are failures. Paying $300 (or more) might help you but it might not. The good news is that in our community, we are lucky to have plenty of resources and supports available for parents. And guess what? They're free.

CHELSEA McCLELLAND

Winnipeg

Most destructive species

So now it's the wild boar (4 wild boar shot near western lake, March 23). I'm not disagreeing about the boars' way of life, as mentioned in the article, but they can never hold a candle to the destruction, pollution, etc., that humans have inflicted on planet Earth -- and keep on inflicting.

As to the boar spreading disease, let's take a look at all the meat recalls that have been taking place. Maybe we should be more concerned as to what is going on in the human kingdom and cut the wild kingdom some slack.

NANCY KASUBA

Beausejour

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 28, 2013 A15

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