Banishing bans

Brian
Brian Jones
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The way things are going, anything you like or need could be banned tomorrow, so you'd better enjoy it while you can.

Canada has a culture of banishment. The latest frenzy occurred when the Liquor Control Board of Ontario banned the sale of the Crystal Head vodka because its bottle is shaped like a skull and, in the LCBO's view, presents an inappropriate symbol of death to its customers - unlike, say, thousands of other brands of bottled mayhem and destruction.

The way things are going, anything you like or need could be banned tomorrow, so you'd better enjoy it while you can.

Canada has a culture of banishment. The latest frenzy occurred when the Liquor Control Board of Ontario banned the sale of the Crystal Head vodka because its bottle is shaped like a skull and, in the LCBO's view, presents an inappropriate symbol of death to its customers - unlike, say, thousands of other brands of bottled mayhem and destruction.

The LCBO seems not to realize it is in the business of selling one of the most deadly substances on Earth.

But that's the thing about bans. They don't need to follow logic.

They only need to be endorsed by people who have the power to implement them.

Green is good

Municipal politicians in St. John's want to ban the use of pesticides by city residents.

The favoured catchphrase of banners is "the cosmetic use of pesticides," as if the desire for a fine-looking lawn is frivolous and facile. Perhaps the city councillors who favour banning pesticides would prefer that most yards in St. John's look as if they should surround a Detroit crackhouse.

Their use of the term "cosmetic" reveals this debate is about propaganda, not facts.

The poor old lawn has taken a beating in recent years.

First, it became a symbol of suburban indulgence.

Now, it's polluting Mother Earth and harming her children. For something so green, it's deceptively unGreen.

Be brave. Go ahead and say it: "I like my lawn." I like that it is smooth and soft. I like that it is good to play on, or to just sit on. I like that it resembles a mini-park.

For the record, I don't use pesticides of any kind, "cosmetic" or otherwise, on my lawn.

I prefer the manual method of weeding. It is labour intensive, but it works better. You get down on your knees and cut the weeds out. Yes, "weeds" - sure, dandelions are a legitimate plant and they have a right to exist, but not on my lawn, dammit.

But, not being a city councillor, I am not arrogant or authoritarian enough to demand other people do it my way.

Misleading argument

Too often, environmentalists hurt their own good cause by making outlandish claims.

Does anyone believe anything the David Suzuki Foundation says anymore?

Apparently, that weed killer you brought home last weekend contains bottled apocalypse that will lay waste to life on Earth as we know it.

Similarly, St. John's city council apparently wants citizens to believe residential pesticides are harmful to their health and to their children's well-being.

Coun. Sheilagh O'Leary goes further. She apparently believes, and wants you to believe, that Health Canada's approval of residential pesticides available in stores is erroneous and unreliable, because its endorsement is based on research it receives from the businesses that produce them.

What the. ...? Shocking. Scandalous. Unbelievable. Suzuki-esque.

Also untrue. And further proof this issue is about politics, not science.

O'Leary is apparently unfamiliar with the concept of independent, third-party verification.

According to Health Canada, pesticide producers submit their research data to the agency, which then checks it against other research that has been conducted on the substance, to see if the company's safety claims are valid.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization use the same method.

O'Leary doesn't seem to recognize the subtle but important difference.

If you told her, "Being environmentally conscientious, I like to drink tap water rather than bottled water," she might reply, "So, you like to drink."

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by e-mail at bjones@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Health Canada, David Suzuki Foundation U.S. Environmental Protection Agency World Health Organization The Telegram

Geographic location: St. John's, Canada, Detroit

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Recent comments

  • William H. Gathercole
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    THE HORRENDOUS CARNAGE ...

    The CARNAGE caused by the PROHIBITION of pest control products has been HORRENDOUS. THERE ARE NO VALID ECONOMICAL ALTERNATIVES TO CONVENTIONAL PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS !

    Overall, the idea that pest control products are causing irreversible health and environmental problems is little more than NONSENSE.

    Nonetheless, the EnviroManiacActivists conspire towards NEEDLESS, SENSELESS, and MALICIOUS prohibition of FEDERALLY LEGAL, SCIENTIFICALLY SAFE, TOTALLY IRREPLACEABLE, and ABSOLUTELY INDISPENSABLE pest control products. Conventional pest control products are SCIENTIFICALLY SAFE !

    Overall, when they are used properly, there are NO harmful irreversible effects to health and the environment !

    Prohibition has been particularly DEVASTATING to the Professional Lawn Care Industry in the Province of Quebec !

    As a sad consequence of the prohibition imposed in the Province of Quebec by EnvironmentalTerror, OVERSIXTYPERCENT of the Professional Lawn Care Industry has now been ANNIHILATED !

    On April 22nd, 2009, Ontario legislated a NEEDLESS, SENSELESS, and MALICIOUS prohibition against « cosmetic pesticides » which is also DESTROYING the Modern Professional Lawn Care Industry.

    The Ontario Professional Lawn Care Industry has lost over 300,000,000 DOLLARS in the 2009 season.

    By early summer 2009, Professional Lawn Care customers were OBLITERATED BY ATLEASTTWENTYFIVEPERCENT !

    By autumn 2009, up to FORTYTOSEVENTYPERCENT were ANNIHILATED !

    By late 2009, OVER 5,000 HAPLESS VICTIMS were UNEMPLOYED ( full time employees and summer students ).

    Several dozen companies exited the market by late 2009.

    Eventually, SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY BUSINESSES will FAIL or suffer BANKRUPTCY within thirtysix months after prohibition.

    The prohibition of pest control products has also RUINED municipal green spaces !

    Because of the prohibition imposed in many jurisdictions, Green Spaces are overrun by invasive weeds, and LOOK LIKE GARBAGE DUMPS !

    The CARNAGE of implementing and enforcing prohibition is costing from 200,000 DOLLARS to 1,000,000 DOLLARS PER YEAR for every municipality !

    So far, the CARNAGE of PROHIBITIONENVIROTYRANNY across Canada has cost the public well over 30,000,000 DOLLARS.

    It is abundantly evident, and not surprising, that NOT A SINGLE EnvironmentalManiacActivist has ANY recognized expertise, training or background in matters concerning pest control products or the management of Green Spaces !

    The opinions of EnviroManiacActivists in matters concerning turf management and weed control are TOTALLY VALUELESS and UTTERLY WORTHLESS.

    GREEDY and AVARICIOUS EnviroManiacActivists concoct programs and legislation that reward them with SAFE, SECURE, GUARANTEED, and WELLPAYING ENVIROTERRORJOBS. ( i.e. employed within the movement. )

    Many EnviroManiacActivists and their avaricious organizations have become MILLIONAIRES ! Their pretentious prohibitionist rants have been rewarded with MILLIONS OF DOLLARS from government and private donations !

    In January 2010, the Green Space Industry outlined the list of charges against the McGuintyOntarioEnviroTerrorRegime and the Ministry of the Environment. Additionally, individual EnviroManiac members of EnvironmentalTerrorOrganizations are also facing fraud charges under the Canadian Criminal Code. The legal challenge is being organized by Jeffrey Lowes and M-REP Communications.


    William H. Gathercole and Norah G

    National Organization Responding Against Huje that TERRORIZE, HARM, and THREATEN the Green Space Industry (NORAHG)

    William H. Gathercole, Founder

    For a free Force Of Nature enewsletter report, contact force.of.de.nature@gmail.com

  • Wayne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    The nanny state will ruin us all. Many of the tree huggers who want to ban the use of lawn chemicals would faint dead away if they ever had to work on a farm and would be marching in the street to protest that lettuce now cost $10.00 a head if there were no chemicals used. I like my grass and I pay a local company to send licenced persons to use the correct chemicals to keep it green. There is a person nearby who has a sign on his lawn that says no chemicals used for our childrens safety . The place is a mess of dandelion, chickweed and brown patches.
    If you want to actually do something cosntructive...don't drive the lexus to work, give up your gym and spa memberships ( the building consume electricity and there are chemicals in the water ). Stop playing golf ( wanna guess how they keep the greens so green) and let the average guy enjoy his wee bit of lawn

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Enron, BP, Goldman Sachs, and the list goes on wouldn't lie because they are too honest. I was going to say get a life, but instead get a brain!

  • Frankie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Of course I am in favor of treating Mother Earth in a more kindly manner than our species has been in the habit of doing ... it is after all, the only Planet we've got ... and it's got to do us for awhile!
    But, it never ceases to amaze me, the amount of sheer hypocrisy that goes along with the currently fashionable Environmental Movement ... a movement that 40 years ago existed only on the fringes of Hippy Culture but now has become Big Business. That alone should be enough to tell you what is it's prime motivator ...
    As for green grass vs dandelion? Well, the truly informed would realize that it doesn't have to be either one or the other actually ... there are plenty of nice, soft, green ground covering plants out there to make a nice lawn from ... like clover for instance ... and you don't need to mow it much!
    As for the banning of the vodka because of the skull shaped bottle ... that is just ridiculous! Ahhh the illogic of it all is just astounding!

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    ''Does anyone believe anything the David Suzuki Foundation says anymore?''

    The answer is yes. But its not based on the premise you purpose outlandish claims by environmentalists. True, they can be alarmist. So too can claims from corporations who act primarily in their own self interests. The oil and tobacco lobbies are two that immediately come to mind.

    Ask yourself, whose interests are better served by downplaying the negative impact of the checks and balances meant to ensure environmental safety?

    Your prejudices against David Suzuki and Sheilagh O'Leary seem to cloud your judgment and diminish the validity of your argument. How is the fear-mongering you accuse environmentalists of perpetuating any different from the fear-mongering of any corporation or lobby, big or small? Fact is, there is no difference.

    Their mantra seems to be that they know what's best for us and we better not tell them what to do. Their ''do-as-we-say-and-nobody-gets-hurt'' policy is great. Until somebody gets hurt. Or the environment is negatively impacted. Just ask British Petroleum.

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    At first I thought it could have been for spite against Newfoundland


    = = =

    Why?

  • Bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Mr Jones says that the use of the term cosmetic reveals this debate is about propaganda and he would apparently rely on the supposed facts from Health Canada. Regarding pesticides and their health and environmental effects, I would believe the facts from the David Suzuki Foundation rather than the propagandish stuff coming from Health Canada.
    Facts not propaganda:Over 140 municipalities and the entire province of Quebec and Ontario have now placed restrictions on the cosmetic use of synthetic lawn pesticides.
    The predominant research and medical health organization opinion supports a ban on the cosmetic use of most of the toxic chemical pesticides presently used on lawns and gardens in our province.
    Health Canada has a record of not adequately protecting the health of Canadians from toxic chemicals and other substances. Look at cigarettes and tobacco for example, the best Health Canada can do is require messages on the packs of smokes stating that they are dangerous to your health. Health Canada has very little credibility as a regulator of pesticides Ontario and Quebec after years of their officials and commissions reviewing the pertinent research and investigating the pesticide issue have passed legislation banning most of the dangerous pesticides to which we continue to expose our children, ourselves and the environment in this province.

  • Gordon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Great article. I too had a good chuckle over banning the vodka. At first I thought it could have been for spite against Newfoundland, but realized, they do sell Screech in Ontario. The comments on Suzuki and O'Leary are dead on. I have no problem with environmentalists bringing legitimate concerns forward. When they outright lie to make their points (like Al Gore), it ruins their credibility and makes having an educated discussion, well, a waste of time.

  • mom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    The latest frenzy occurred when the Liquor Control Board of Ontario banned the sale of the Crystal Head vodka because its bottle is shaped like a skull and, in the LCBO's view, presents an inappropriate symbol of death to its customers - unlike, say, thousands of other brands of bottled mayhem and destruction. Adults are the ones buying this product and they should be able to make their own decisions regarding their purchases. If this was a product available to all ages there may be some sense in this decision.

  • William H. Gathercole
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    THE HORRENDOUS CARNAGE ...

    The CARNAGE caused by the PROHIBITION of pest control products has been HORRENDOUS. THERE ARE NO VALID ECONOMICAL ALTERNATIVES TO CONVENTIONAL PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS !

    Overall, the idea that pest control products are causing irreversible health and environmental problems is little more than NONSENSE.

    Nonetheless, the EnviroManiacActivists conspire towards NEEDLESS, SENSELESS, and MALICIOUS prohibition of FEDERALLY LEGAL, SCIENTIFICALLY SAFE, TOTALLY IRREPLACEABLE, and ABSOLUTELY INDISPENSABLE pest control products. Conventional pest control products are SCIENTIFICALLY SAFE !

    Overall, when they are used properly, there are NO harmful irreversible effects to health and the environment !

    Prohibition has been particularly DEVASTATING to the Professional Lawn Care Industry in the Province of Quebec !

    As a sad consequence of the prohibition imposed in the Province of Quebec by EnvironmentalTerror, OVERSIXTYPERCENT of the Professional Lawn Care Industry has now been ANNIHILATED !

    On April 22nd, 2009, Ontario legislated a NEEDLESS, SENSELESS, and MALICIOUS prohibition against « cosmetic pesticides » which is also DESTROYING the Modern Professional Lawn Care Industry.

    The Ontario Professional Lawn Care Industry has lost over 300,000,000 DOLLARS in the 2009 season.

    By early summer 2009, Professional Lawn Care customers were OBLITERATED BY ATLEASTTWENTYFIVEPERCENT !

    By autumn 2009, up to FORTYTOSEVENTYPERCENT were ANNIHILATED !

    By late 2009, OVER 5,000 HAPLESS VICTIMS were UNEMPLOYED ( full time employees and summer students ).

    Several dozen companies exited the market by late 2009.

    Eventually, SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY BUSINESSES will FAIL or suffer BANKRUPTCY within thirtysix months after prohibition.

    The prohibition of pest control products has also RUINED municipal green spaces !

    Because of the prohibition imposed in many jurisdictions, Green Spaces are overrun by invasive weeds, and LOOK LIKE GARBAGE DUMPS !

    The CARNAGE of implementing and enforcing prohibition is costing from 200,000 DOLLARS to 1,000,000 DOLLARS PER YEAR for every municipality !

    So far, the CARNAGE of PROHIBITIONENVIROTYRANNY across Canada has cost the public well over 30,000,000 DOLLARS.

    It is abundantly evident, and not surprising, that NOT A SINGLE EnvironmentalManiacActivist has ANY recognized expertise, training or background in matters concerning pest control products or the management of Green Spaces !

    The opinions of EnviroManiacActivists in matters concerning turf management and weed control are TOTALLY VALUELESS and UTTERLY WORTHLESS.

    GREEDY and AVARICIOUS EnviroManiacActivists concoct programs and legislation that reward them with SAFE, SECURE, GUARANTEED, and WELLPAYING ENVIROTERRORJOBS. ( i.e. employed within the movement. )

    Many EnviroManiacActivists and their avaricious organizations have become MILLIONAIRES ! Their pretentious prohibitionist rants have been rewarded with MILLIONS OF DOLLARS from government and private donations !

    In January 2010, the Green Space Industry outlined the list of charges against the McGuintyOntarioEnviroTerrorRegime and the Ministry of the Environment. Additionally, individual EnviroManiac members of EnvironmentalTerrorOrganizations are also facing fraud charges under the Canadian Criminal Code. The legal challenge is being organized by Jeffrey Lowes and M-REP Communications.


    William H. Gathercole and Norah G

    National Organization Responding Against Huje that TERRORIZE, HARM, and THREATEN the Green Space Industry (NORAHG)

    William H. Gathercole, Founder

    For a free Force Of Nature enewsletter report, contact force.of.de.nature@gmail.com

  • Wayne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    The nanny state will ruin us all. Many of the tree huggers who want to ban the use of lawn chemicals would faint dead away if they ever had to work on a farm and would be marching in the street to protest that lettuce now cost $10.00 a head if there were no chemicals used. I like my grass and I pay a local company to send licenced persons to use the correct chemicals to keep it green. There is a person nearby who has a sign on his lawn that says no chemicals used for our childrens safety . The place is a mess of dandelion, chickweed and brown patches.
    If you want to actually do something cosntructive...don't drive the lexus to work, give up your gym and spa memberships ( the building consume electricity and there are chemicals in the water ). Stop playing golf ( wanna guess how they keep the greens so green) and let the average guy enjoy his wee bit of lawn

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Enron, BP, Goldman Sachs, and the list goes on wouldn't lie because they are too honest. I was going to say get a life, but instead get a brain!

  • Frankie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Of course I am in favor of treating Mother Earth in a more kindly manner than our species has been in the habit of doing ... it is after all, the only Planet we've got ... and it's got to do us for awhile!
    But, it never ceases to amaze me, the amount of sheer hypocrisy that goes along with the currently fashionable Environmental Movement ... a movement that 40 years ago existed only on the fringes of Hippy Culture but now has become Big Business. That alone should be enough to tell you what is it's prime motivator ...
    As for green grass vs dandelion? Well, the truly informed would realize that it doesn't have to be either one or the other actually ... there are plenty of nice, soft, green ground covering plants out there to make a nice lawn from ... like clover for instance ... and you don't need to mow it much!
    As for the banning of the vodka because of the skull shaped bottle ... that is just ridiculous! Ahhh the illogic of it all is just astounding!

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    ''Does anyone believe anything the David Suzuki Foundation says anymore?''

    The answer is yes. But its not based on the premise you purpose outlandish claims by environmentalists. True, they can be alarmist. So too can claims from corporations who act primarily in their own self interests. The oil and tobacco lobbies are two that immediately come to mind.

    Ask yourself, whose interests are better served by downplaying the negative impact of the checks and balances meant to ensure environmental safety?

    Your prejudices against David Suzuki and Sheilagh O'Leary seem to cloud your judgment and diminish the validity of your argument. How is the fear-mongering you accuse environmentalists of perpetuating any different from the fear-mongering of any corporation or lobby, big or small? Fact is, there is no difference.

    Their mantra seems to be that they know what's best for us and we better not tell them what to do. Their ''do-as-we-say-and-nobody-gets-hurt'' policy is great. Until somebody gets hurt. Or the environment is negatively impacted. Just ask British Petroleum.

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    At first I thought it could have been for spite against Newfoundland


    = = =

    Why?

  • Bob
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Mr Jones says that the use of the term cosmetic reveals this debate is about propaganda and he would apparently rely on the supposed facts from Health Canada. Regarding pesticides and their health and environmental effects, I would believe the facts from the David Suzuki Foundation rather than the propagandish stuff coming from Health Canada.
    Facts not propaganda:Over 140 municipalities and the entire province of Quebec and Ontario have now placed restrictions on the cosmetic use of synthetic lawn pesticides.
    The predominant research and medical health organization opinion supports a ban on the cosmetic use of most of the toxic chemical pesticides presently used on lawns and gardens in our province.
    Health Canada has a record of not adequately protecting the health of Canadians from toxic chemicals and other substances. Look at cigarettes and tobacco for example, the best Health Canada can do is require messages on the packs of smokes stating that they are dangerous to your health. Health Canada has very little credibility as a regulator of pesticides Ontario and Quebec after years of their officials and commissions reviewing the pertinent research and investigating the pesticide issue have passed legislation banning most of the dangerous pesticides to which we continue to expose our children, ourselves and the environment in this province.

  • Gordon
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Great article. I too had a good chuckle over banning the vodka. At first I thought it could have been for spite against Newfoundland, but realized, they do sell Screech in Ontario. The comments on Suzuki and O'Leary are dead on. I have no problem with environmentalists bringing legitimate concerns forward. When they outright lie to make their points (like Al Gore), it ruins their credibility and makes having an educated discussion, well, a waste of time.

  • mom
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    The latest frenzy occurred when the Liquor Control Board of Ontario banned the sale of the Crystal Head vodka because its bottle is shaped like a skull and, in the LCBO's view, presents an inappropriate symbol of death to its customers - unlike, say, thousands of other brands of bottled mayhem and destruction. Adults are the ones buying this product and they should be able to make their own decisions regarding their purchases. If this was a product available to all ages there may be some sense in this decision.