Ban support cut in half
Re: OK with ban on cosmetic pesticides (April 29). Results from a poll of Manitobans on pesticide use published in the Winnipeg Free Press are not surprising, given that respondents haven't had to manage pest infestations in their homes and gardens without urban pesticides.
In fact, we saw similar results in Ontario -- 80 per cent of Ontarians originally supported the pesticide ban when it was brought forward in 2009.
However, since that time, support has been cut almost in half -- to 49 per cent -- as Ontarians have experienced the devastation pest infestations can have on their properties and in their communities when they don't have access to safe and effective tools.
Given this logic, it won't take long for the majority of Manitobans to oppose a ban if one is put in place.
Manitobans should know that pesticides are one of the most stringently regulated products in Canada, and only those products that meet Health Canada's strict health and safety standards are registered for sale and use.
In addition, British Columbia did a thorough review on pesticide use last year and found that scientific evidence does not warrant preventing British Columbians from buying and using approved pesticides.
It's no surprise that a scientific poll shows a majority of Manitobans want the province to ban toxic lawn and garden pesticides. With a flurry of non-toxic products on the market, there is no need to threaten our children's health with noxious chemicals to improve the appearance of a lawn.
Pesticides have been consistently linked to illnesses such as childhood leukemia, ADHD and asthma. Pulling pesticides from store shelves will ensure the safety of all Manitobans.
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Member states of the European Union have just voted to ban that "devil family" of bee-killing pesticides known as neonicotinoids. It is now illegal to apply the stuff anywhere over that entire continent.
While Europe has finally seen the light, oceans of it continue to be applied with abandon on food crops in North America. The seeds of crops such as corn and canola are now shot full of it before they even go into the ground!
I guess authorities here and chemical giants like Bayer (which make these poisons) don't want us to know certain things. For example, when Italy acted on its own a few years ago and banned it, pollinator populations bounced back the following season, with little or no effect on crop production.
A year ago, during corn-planting season in Ontario and Quebec, there were well over 200 separate complaints from beekeepers of honeybee kills. Regulators have responded by promising to "review" the complaints and possibly "tighten up" the warning labels on the products. Scary.
In the U.S. last year, commercial beekeepers report they lost up to one half of their hives.
Authorities described honeybee losses in Canada during the winter of 2010-11 as "drastic" and "extreme." The following winter, for some reason, they were much better. Still, given the Wild West mentality that prevails in this country and the resurgence of corn (treated with you-know-what) as a livestock feed on the Prairies as well as in Central Canada, it's hard to imagine how that state of affairs can last.
Equalizing cottage values
Re: 'Done deal' offends Whiteshell cottagers (April 29). Offended? As a cottage owner outside the park, I am offended that these folks would complain at all. They have had it too good for too long. Cottage values outside Whiteshell Provincial Park are much lower than for those inside the park. A big reason is the lack of property and school taxes.
The province should have all cottages inside the park assessed at market value (like the rest of us) and have each owner pay a grant equal to the rate that non-park properties pay for property and school tax. This would be equitable and fair for all cottage owners and could generate much-needed additional revenue.
A strategic move
Re: Province blasts diversion protest (May 1). I have a suggestion for Lake Manitoba-area farmers. The next time they are thinking of protesting the NDP government's refusal to provide compensation for flood damage its decisions created, get a group of aboriginals to man the barricades.
Transportation Minister Steve Ashton and any other of his NDP cohorts would never dream of going to court to get an injunction to have aboriginals removed from a blockade.
Race to the bottom
There seems to be a common theme in recent headlines: the Harper government's use of the foreign workers program, which creates incentives for employers to steal Canadian jobs by replacing Canadians with migrant workers, and the death traps of offshore manufacturing plants, as in Bangladesh.
In both cases, there is a race to the bottom and exploitation of desperate foreign workers. We ask the poorest of the poor to subsidize corporate profits by providing cheap, expendable and compliant labour.
Re: Crazy weather fools crocuses (May 1). T.S. Eliot tells us that April is the cruellest month. News flash: This year, it's been postponed to May.
The Cube stage may indeed be ultra-modern and edgy (Modernist Cube hard to solve, April 30). Unfortunately, it is also very, very ugly.
Please, just tear it down and put the grass and trees back.
Due to an editing error, a May 1 letter from Oz Pedde incorrectly took issue with an April 25 letter from Lawrence Sutherland. In fact, Pedde's letter disagreed with an April 19 letter by Harold Shuster about the false equivalency between the Holocaust and supposed Israeli apartheid.