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CAPE Pushing for Pesticide Ban in B.C.

By Britt Karlstrom

Having scored pesticide bans in the Maritimes, Ontario and Québec, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) is now campaigning to win a province-wide prohibition on toxic lawn products in British Columbia. If successful, the initiative will protect over4.5 million Canadians.

CAPE has been active on a number of fronts.

In February, the Canadian Cancer Society released a CAPE-sponsored scientific poll showing the vast majority of British Columbians embrace a lawn-pesticide phase-out.

“In addition to recognizing the health risks, more than 70 per cent of British Columbians support a phase out of cosmetic pesticide use on public and private properties,” said Barbara Kaminsky, CEO of the Cancer Society’s B.C. and Yukon division.

Perhaps most striking, support for a phase-out does not differ between rural and urban areas. No matter where they live in the province, people want these poisons removed.

CAPE has been busy encouraging its members – and those of two dozen other organizations – to send letters and e-mails to the B.C. government supporting a ban. “A whole range of groups – including Sierra Club Canada, Prevent Cancer Now, Learning Disabilities Association and the Wilderness Committee –are generously participating in our campaign,” said CAPE Executive Director Gideon Forman. “And we’re delighted that labour groups such as the CAW, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees are supporting this initiative.”

To date, CAPE supporters have sent B.C. Premier Christy Clark 2,500 letters and e-mails in favour of the ban – with more coming each day.

CAPE has also run a province-wide media campaign, publishing pro-ban opinion articles in seven papers including the Vancouver Sun and the Medical Post.

The organization’s work is starting to pay off. Last May, Premier Clark and Opposition Leader Adrian Dix promised to bring forward pro-ban legislation, and in June, the B.C. government set up a special committee to consider the ban’s scope.

“We’re encouraged that the Premier supports a ban. But until it’s actually passed, we’re asking everyone to send her an e-mail supporting a ban,” said Forman. “We want B.C.’s legislation to be even more health protective than the superb law we won in Ontario.”

No matter where you live in Canada, please take a moment to email B.C. Premier Christy Clark aone-sentence e-mail: “I support a lawn-pesticide ban.” The premier’s e-mail is: premier@gov.bc.ca

Britt Karlstrom works with local groups and municipalities on CAPE’s B.C. pesticide ban campaign

Also in the Winter 2012 Issue of An Ounce …

Published: February 3, 2012