NEWS RELEASE · 22nd April 2010
BC NDP Caucus
Fleming urges B.C. Liberal government to make poison-free playgrounds a bipartisan issue
Today, in honour of Earth Day, New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming is reintroducing legislation which would take poisonous pesticides off store shelves and prevent the unnecessary use of these toxic chemicals in schoolyards and playgrounds.
“I hope that this Earth Day all members of the legislature can join together to protect the health of our children and our environment,” said Fleming. “It’s time for B.C. to introduce gold standard regulations to keep cancer-causing chemicals out of our environment and the places where our children play.”
Numerous health and environmental organizations including the Public Health Association of B.C., West Coast Environmental Law, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Toxic Free Canada, and the David Suzuki Foundation have expressed support for the ‘gold standard’ regulations contained in Fleming’s legislation.
Mae Burrows, executive director of Toxic Free Canada, hopes that all parties in the legislature will support a provincial cosmetic pesticide ban.
"It's time for British Columbia to follow the example set by Ontario and Quebec with laws that keep toxic cosmetic pesticides out of our playgrounds, neighbourhoods and environment," said Burrows. "This Earth Day I hope all parties in the B.C. legislature can come together on behalf of our children and our environment and support this legislation."
Twenty nine B.C. municipalities have banned the unnecessary use of toxic pesticides; however, municipal laws can’t keep these toxic chemicals off store shelves. Local governments are also powerless to prevent the use of these chemicals on commercial and institutional property. That's why the union of B.C. municipalities has asked the B.C. Liberal government to take action on the issue.
Dean Murdock, a municipal councillor for the District of Saanich, applauded the New Democrat legislation.
"Saanich recently joined 28 other local governments prohibiting the use of cosmetic pesticides on outdoor public spaces and residences. But without a provincial law, these toxic substances will still be sold and used. That's a big risk to the health of our kids, pets and waterways," said Murdock.
Fleming noted that the loopholes in provincial law mean that the provincial government needs to take the lead on banning cosmetic pesticides.
“Communities have made it clear that they want to protect children and the environment from toxic pesticides,” said Fleming. “Adopting my legislation would protect playgrounds and watersheds from cancer-causing chemicals.”
Carole James and New Democrats are advocating for positive environmental solutions, including concrete action to protect species at risk and a Green Fund which would see $150 million a year of carbon tax revenue directed towards climate change solutions and transit improvements in communities across the province.