Lawn Companies sue 23 Canadian activists and Government Ministers over Pesticide ban

Lawn companies seek charges against Minister, activists

Thu Jan. 28 2010   The Canadian Press

TORONTO — A group representing dozens of lawn care companies trying to bring charges against Ontario’s environment minister and senior bureaucrats over the province’s controversial pesticide ban is now calling for charges against 23 activists.

Group spokesman Jeffrey Lowes of MREP Communications said Wednesday that information has been laid for criminal charges against 23 individuals.

The additional proceedings – 115 charges under Section 504 of the Criminal Code – were filed with a Kingston, Ont.-area court on Tuesday, Lowes said in a release.

A so-called “private information” against Environment Minister John Gerretsen and senior ministry staff was filed Jan. 20, said Lowes.

The activists worked with the Ontario government to ban pesticides using alleged false and misleading information to undermine the industry, Lowes said.

The documents filed on Tuesday allege the activists knowingly presented false and misleading information about the health and environmental risks associated with pesticide products, knowingly misled the public, lawn care industry and government officials, and impeded access to Health Canada approved pesticide products through fraudulent means.

The legal maneuver, if endorsed by the court, could result in federal charges being filed against Gerretsen and others by police or by a private individual, and there may be sufficient grounds for a criminal charge of fraud, Lowes said.

The action stems from Ontario’s pesticide regulations, which permit the use of azadirachtin, a chemical that is not approved for use in Canada, Lowes said.

“There’s something fundamentally wrong with the whole system,” he said.

“We would be subjected to federal prosecution if we use the products if we abide by the Ontario laws, and if we abide by the federal laws, we would be prosecuted by the Ontario government.”

The government’s reclassification of pesticides is based on a methodology that “was not based in regulatory science,” he said.

Lowes said Feb. 17 has been set for a hearing to set a date for hearing on all of the charges.


9 responses to “Lawn Companies sue 23 Canadian activists and Government Ministers over Pesticide ban

  1. The title “Lawn Companies sue 23 Canadian activists and Government Ministers over Pesticide ban” is premature and inappropriate, as we don’t know, at least until after February 17, whether their representatives will be allowed to proceed. Nobody has been charged so far, so why jump the gun? This is sensationalism at its worst! Moreover, only ONE provincial minister has been mentioned so why use the plural? Again, this is misleading. The group is supposedly representing “dozens” of lawn care companies. However, we don’t know whether this is true. The initiators of the legal action were known to complain about the insufficient support they were getting from Ontario’s lawn care industry for their anti-ban initiative. The reference to azadirachtin, an obscure chemical that is alleged to be not approved for use in Canada, is an act of desperation on the part of the spokesmen for the industry, as the pertinent Ontario Environmental Ministry’s spokesperson has explained the special circumstances fully justifying the temporary registration of this chemical. Abiding by Ontario laws in this connection is unlikely to result in a punitive intervention on the part of the federal authorities. The allegation of provincial “over-protection” of human health is unlikely to result in punitive actions on the part of the federal government. Moreover, the primary responsibility of Canadian governments at both levels is the promotion of the well-being of Canadians at large.

    • Hi Mary, when this came in from The Canadian Press, I called MRP who stated the information was correct and that’s all they could tell me, so I posted it. Where did you find your source? I would like to post more on this but it’s gone quiet. April

  2. I have access to some first-hand information about the proposed lawn care industry’s legal action in Ontario, including the photographs of 23 individuals who are the “culprits”. The only Ontario minister on the list is John Gerretsen, the Minister of the Environment. I have personally seen the repeated complaints of the initiators of the legal action that there is some reluctance on the part of Ontario lawn-care companies to get involved. At least two well-known Ontario horticultural periodicals are not on board. One of them has even terminated the magazine’s relationship of long-standing with one of the promoters of the legal action, as told to me personally by the editor.

  3. Thank you for this Mary! I was a bit skeptical to post this, as sometimes the media and PR groups tend to get a bit over the top to get their stories out. Can you keep us posted with the real truths?

    It’s an interesting issue. I am taking it up because we had 6 horses die, all under the age of 10, from cancer in 2009, and one diagnosed already this year. Horses don’t die without cause. I want to find the cause (so far all I know is 1. Tainted shots, 2. GM corn in their diets, 3. Herbicides and pesticides). Finding the culprit? Could be all 3 or combination of?

  4. I will be glad to send up-to-date information. I personally don’t like GM crops; they have never been proven entirely safe. Significantly, GM crops require a greater use of pesticides. While on the subject of pesticides, please bear in mind that “pesticides” is a generic term including all the “cides”: herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides and algaecides. Weeds are considered pests as well! Therefore, the word “pesticides” doesn’t mean “insecticides” specifically, as is often supposed. Very likely it is chiefly exposure to pesticides that is adversely affecting the health of your horses. I couldn’t really comment about the shots, but I would assume that they are unlikely to be contaminated. After all, the intent is to prevent illness rather than cause it. By the way, the source of information you mentioned is not to be trusted.

  5. Thank you for this Mary. Unless people like you step up, we have no real good source of information.

    After contacting the vet (who did the autopsy) just now about the shot, it appears they had put out a batch that had higher than average mercury levels (apparently there are other sick/dead horses). Asking not to be named, he stated that mercury in some form is in all shots, even human. This batch was not regulated or tested before sending out. This raises the question of ‘intention’ with vaccinations. The horse owner is suing. They (defendant’s lawyers) suggested she keep it quiet. Big mistake.

    Mary, if you want to send me updates you can use my email: april reeves at shaw dot ca. If you want I will post it rather than discuss it in this comment thread. Your choice – I’m open to alternatives. Again, thank you for this.

  6. Posting on your website is completely user friendly. It is actually less trouble than sending out e-mails, so I prefer it. I will keep you up-to-date on the Ontario situation with respect to the upcoming challenge to our pesticide ban, as the outcome is likely to have an impact on the B.C. situation as well.

  7. Thank you Mary. Much appreciated.

  8. April, read what Health Canada has said about pesticides and the ontario college of family physicans report in 2004.

    you and your friends are welcome to visit any time.

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