Skip to content

Fredericton, Kent County & Moncton chapters challenge Minister’s support for glyphosate spraying

The delivery of 13,000 petitions to the New Brunswick Legislature against the herbicide glyphosate, May 18, 2016.

The Council of Canadians Fredericton, Kent County and Moncton chapters in alliance with Stop Spraying NB (SSNB), Écovie and other groups are working to stop herbicide spraying on Crown/unceded land and on NB Power dams and rights of way.

On December 2, 2016, Green Party leader David Coon wrote, “I had the great fortune to be in Tracadie on November 18th to accept some 7,000 signatures on a petition organized by members of the group Stop Spraying NB (Arretons l’arrosage Nouveau-Brunswick) to stop spraying glyphosate on Crown land in New Brunswick. Last November, Restigouche MLA Gilles LePage and I presented petitions in the Legislative Assembly to stop herbicide spraying signed by 13,000 New Brunswickers.”

Coon highlights, “This brings to over 20,000 the number of New Brunswickers who are calling for a halt to herbicide spraying as a taxpayer-funded forest management practice.”

On December 6, 2016, Coon tabled “Petition 3” in the Legislative Assembly.

And on December 21, 2016, the provincial Minister of Energy and Resource Development rejected the arguments in Petition 3 in a three-page document.

Now Stop Spraying NB has effectively and succinctly countered the main points in the Minister’s letter.

Among the counter-arguments:

1- Minister: “A very small portion of Crown forests gets treated annually. The use of herbicide is very selective and generally done once or twice during the forest’s lifecycle.”
SSNB: “In fact there are 13,000 hectares of forest plantation sprayed in NB annually, at a cost of over 2 million taxpayer dollars. New Brunswick is ranked second after Ontario in the the amount of glyphosate used for forest management. In 2014, 28% of the glyphosate used in forestry in Canada was sprayed in New Brunswick alone.”

2- Minister: “Making sure our forests are productive is vital to having a competitive and viable forest industry.”
SSNB: “The Province of Quebec’s forest industry has remained competitive in the world market without the use of herbicides, and it has used selective cuts to promote a sustainable forest with enhanced biodiversity.”

3- Minister: “On May 16, 2016, The World Health Organization , in conjunction with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reiterated its findings that glyphosate is unlikely to to pose a carcinogenic or genotoxic risk to humans from exposure through diet.”
SSNB:  “The word ‘unlikely’ does not inspire  confidence. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer stated that glyphosate is a probable cause of cancer.”

4- Minister: “Glyphosate herbicides continue to be safely used in forestry and agriculture around the world as stated in a recent review by the Acting Chief Medical Officer, and supported by Ontario’s Chief Science Officer and Senior Scientist.”
SSNB: “[The Acting Chief Medical Officer] did not look into safety of glyphosate but simply looked at what other jurisdictions do and how much New Brunswick uses.”

5- Minister:  “I can assure you that the Government and the forest industry are continually evaluating ways to minimize the amount of herbicide needed to effectively control competing vegetation.”
SSNB: “Why won’t the government and forestry sector invite environmental groups, forestry experts, woodlot owners and local community stakeholder groups to the table to discuss alternatives to spraying?”

Stop Spraying New Brunswick concludes their letter, “SSNB and its allies are requesting a meeting with the Minister as soon as possible to further discuss issues surrounding the use of glyphosate.”