Environment Minister Responds to Herbicide Question April 8, 2015

Hon. Mr. Kenny:

In response to questions asked by the member for Fredericton South that were taken under advisement, I would like to report to the House today.  With regard to the member’s question, Health Canada is the leading authority in determining the safety of pest control products. All registered pest control products used in New Brunswick have undergone a comprehensive evaluation by Health Canada. Glyphosate is currently under routine reevaluation by Health Canada. The Department of Environment and Local Government is closely following this process and will follow the recommendations of Health Canada. Thank you.

Mr. Coon:

I do not think most New Brunswickers want to rely on Stephen Harper to make a decision to protect their health from herbicide spraying. In New Brunswick, the Pesticides Control Act gives the minister particular powers specifically to protect the health and environment of New Brunswickers. Under the Act, the minister has the power to reject permit applications to spray herbicides or any pesticides aerially. He should use that authority. The Pesticides Control Act gives the Health Minister the ability to recommend that the Environment Minister take such action to protect the public health in this province. That includes addressing cosmetic pesticides or the use of this herbicide for cosmetic purposes. When the minister’s party was in power before, it took very positive action, without worrying about what the federal government was doing, to ban the use of 2,4-D for cosmetic purposes, and it is no longer used over our forests. It should take that action now for glyphosate.

Mr. Speaker:

Time, member.

Hon. Mr. Kenny:

I agree with some of the comments from the member opposite, specifically those with regard to the federal government. However, I will say that we are going to follow the recommendations in this specific case. As minister, I am aware, and the department is well aware, of the issue with the chemical. We have done some good things in the past, and we will continue to move forward with these processes. We will leave them to do their job, and, when we see what the outcomes are, we will take it from there. Thank you.