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This article was published 2/6/2016 (1532 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Progressive Conservative government will review a provincial law that bans the use of cosmetic pesticides.
Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox offered few details of what the review would entail — only that one would occur — prompting the NDP to wonder whether the Tories plan to cancel the ban altogether.
"We need to have those discussions. We also need to ensure that whatever we do is in the best interests of Manitobans," Cox said Thursday.
Before that happens, though, she said her department would work to ensure the current ban is better enforced.
"We want to make sure that people are educated on the distribution of the cosmetic pesticides," she said.
'We want to make sure that people are educated on the distribution of the cosmetic pesticides'‐ Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox
Cox would not tip her hand about the nature of the review, when pressed on it by reporters after question period.
Asked what prompted the desire for a review, she would only say she’s been hearing from Manitobans on the issue.
"It’s been something that’s been obviously out front and centre recently," Cox said. "We do want to give Manitobans an opportunity to participate in that discussion."
Asked whether the PCs would perhaps relax the law at the request of municipalities, she said: "I can’t say that. I’m just saying that we do need to review it in consultation with stakeholders like AMM (the Association of Manitoba Municipalities), Manitobans and continue on from there."
As a strong opponent of the regulations surrounding the ban, the president of the AMM welcomed the news the law would be reviewed
Chris Goertzen says the cost of the products approved for weed control and their effectiveness are the main sticking points for the AMM.
"We want reasonable regulation and reasonable rules that are safe and cost effective — and right now with the costs associated with cosmetic pesticides ban, it becomes almost impossible for municipalities to provide the appropriate service," Goertzen said. "It is 10 times the cost and much less effective."
The pesticide ban, which came into effect last year, is blamed by some for causing an unsightly explosion of dandelions in Winnipeg this spring. Goertzen, who is also the mayor of Steinbach, said his municipality has seen a large increase in weeds around the city.
"At the same time we want to be safe, so what we want is to see this reviewed and we want to meet with the minister on that," he said. "I think most municipalities will welcome the review."
According to a recent CBC report, the banned pesticides are still easy to obtain locally.
The distribution process needs more scrutiny, Cox admitted.
"We need to make sure that people are protected, first and foremost in Manitoba, and that the retailers are doing their due diligence and being responsible."
NDP Sustainable Development critic Rob Altemeyer (Wolseley) said he is concerned a review of the ban on pesticides for cosmetic use could lead to its removal.
"They could get just get rid of it," Altemeyer said in response to Cox’s comments. "If the minister has said she is going to do something with a piece of legislation and she gives no indication of what she is going to do —of course I am concerned about that."
However, Altemeyer said he could get behind strengthening the bill.
"If the government is looking at ways to strengthen the legislation, that would be a very positive step. If we can have more people aware of how to properly use these potentially dangerous chemicals — then that’s a good thing," he said.
He said it is up to the new government to educate retailers and enforce the ban.
"All of the retailers were educated when the bill came out, so it does it fall on this government now to either enforce the good legislation we put in place or weaken it," he said.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Updated on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 6:39 PM CDT: Updates with writethru
9:13 PM: Corrects reference to Chris Goertzen as mayor of Steinbach
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