Anti-pesticide movement within Ontario pesticide advisory committee

GUELPH, ON (May 21, 2015) – Two members of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association, a highly vocal anti-pesticide organization, have been appointed to the Ontario Pesticide Advisory Committee (OPAC) in the midst of the most unworkable proposed pesticide regulations in its history. 

The Ontario government appointed Tibor Szabo and Jim Wilson of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association to sit on the influential committee that advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on classifications for pesticides and annually reviews Ontario’s Pesticides Act.

Tibor Szabo, President of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association, is known to have a clear bias against pesticides used by farmers to combat pests and protect their yields. He has publicly called for a ban on systemic pesticides and when asked to provide comment on the Federal Government’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s dust exposure controls, he told the National Post, “to monkey around with the instance of application and think it’s going to do something, it’s a joke. It’s so stupid I don’t even know how anyone could take that seriously.” Interestingly, Ontario’s Apiarist noted in their 2014 Annual Report that this ‘monkeying around’ contributed to a 70% reduction in planting season honeybee mortalities in the province.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is gravely concerned that Glen Murray’s anti-agriculture activist agenda poses one of the most serious threats farming has seen in Ontario and these new appointments to OPAC demonstrate his desire to surround himself with people who are as anti-agriculture as he is.

“We have a Minister of Environment and Climate Change being advised by someone who is on record lobbying for greater restrictions on farmers,” says Mark Brock, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “It’s not appropriate for someone calling for a ban on pesticides to reasonably evaluate these important tools — but this is the type of person Glen Murray wants to hear from. If this continues, and Kathleen Wynne doesn’t gain control of Glen Murray’s agenda, family farming and grain farming in Ontario will suffer devastating consequences.”

Grain Farmers of Ontario continues to call on the provincial government to work with farmers on the proposed neonicotinoid regulations, prior to implementing them, to avoid an irreparable blow to agriculture that the Conference Board of Canada has predicted will follow a neonicotinoid ban in Ontario. 

Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Contact:

Mark Brock, Chair – 519-274-3297; cropper01@hotmail.com

Meghan Burke, Communications – 519 767-2773; mburke@gfo.ca

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.