Sometime this spring or summer, some shiftless suburbanite will be dragged into court in shackles and put before a judge, charged with the despicable offence of spraying a banned pesticide upon his or her lawn or garden.
It could happen in any one of the seven provinces — Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland (and Labrador) — that have declared the domestic use of pesticides illegal.
It could happen in any one of the multitudinous municipalities, including St. John’s, whose elected officials have ruled that to spray pesticides on a lawn or garden is to poison the Earth and endanger generations yet unborn.
Hopefully, for the sake of drama and entertainment value, the poor embattled suburbanite will have a lawyer who is eager to lambaste the ecocrats for their shoddy logic, incessant fear mongering and limitless willingness to boss other people around.
The lawyer could do well to submit Exhibit A: the report released earlier this month by a British Columbia legislative committee tasked with examining whether B.C. should follow the lead of other provinces and ban the cosmetic use of pesticides. The committee’s short answer: no.
Far be it from me to tell any lawyer how to defend his or her alleged perp, but a good start would be to quote from page 53 of the report by B.C.’s special committee on cosmetic pesticides: “The committee concluded that despite the intensity of arguments in favour of a ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides and a general misunderstanding of the risks associated with chemicals, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support a province-wide ban on pesticides for cosmetic use. The majority of the committee supports using science-based evidence and will not restrict access to products that are approved for safe use in Canada.”
“Your Honour,” the lawyer could well surmise, “politicians will never let the facts get in the way of a good ban.”
Another quote, from page 47 of the B.C. report: “From our perspective, the scientific evidence does not, at this time, warrant preventing British Columbians from buying and using approved domestic-class pesticides for lawn and garden care. In other words, we are not prepared to say to consumers, ‘You can no longer go into any store, under any circumstances, and buy 2,4-D.’”
The 2,4-D referred to, of course, is the herbicide dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, the superstar/chief villain of the domestic pesticides controversy.
The suburbanite’s lawyer will face a tougher task if his/her client has a jury trial. Those 12 people will likely have been exposed to the toxic effects of years of propaganda by ecocrats. (“Pesticides poison future generations,” etc.) The alleged perp’s lawyer will have to reach for some heavier artillery and aim for overkill, so to speak.
Exhibit B: the April 10 ruling by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that there is no scientific basis on which to ban the domestic use of 2,4-D.
The EPA determined 2,4-D is not a threat to human health, the environment or wildlife.
Its conclusion was a response to a request by the Natural Resources Defense Council to have 2,4-D banned in the U.S. The council is an environmental group based in New York City, and has 1.3 million members. That’s a lot of people not spraying dandelions.
The lawyer could also mention, in more than an offhand way, the World Health Organization has maintained for more than 15 years that 2,4-D is not a threat to human health, does not cause cancer and does not imperil future generations.
Even so, the law is the law. The alleged perp could still be found guilty.
Brian Jones is a desk editor at
The Telegram. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.