Barrett to Ag Minister on neonics: “Why won’t you speak up for farmers?”

March 26, 2015

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s agriculture minister was short on answers when pressed on the 80 per cent neonic ban on corn and soybean acreage that was recently announced.

“The evidence for your ban is at best circumstantial, and has not been proven in controlled scientific studies – certainly not from Health Canada’s Pest Management Agency, where the true expertise lies,” said MPP Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“Your approach is derived from ideology – it’s irresponsible and intimidating,” Barrett accused. “Minister, why did you allow emotion to trump science?”

In his answer, the minister admitted there are other factors beyond neonics, including, the last two harsh winters, the varroa mite and hive management .

In his supplementary question, Barrett referred to the Ontario Pollinator Health Blueprint and the consultation the government asked for, but yet none of this seemed to be a factor in the unchanged position of the government. The blueprint recommends increased communication between farmers and beekeepers, work on bee nutrition and habitat, and reasonable limits on insecticide use.

Barrett charged an obviously-fazed minister with, “Your proposed regs are anti-agriculture, and you are supposed to be the Minister for Agriculture, to represent farmers. You are at the Cabinet table, why won’t you speak up for farmers?”


For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]