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Kent County chapter demands glyphosate report

Kent County chapter activist Ann Pohl

Council of Canadians Kent County chapter activist Ann Pohl has called on New Brunswick’s Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health to release a report on glyphosate, a herbicide that the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research against Cancer has deemed “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

CBC has reported, “Glyphosate is a herbicide used widely in the province as a defoliant by a number of companies, including NB Power and J.D. Irving Ltd.” And Radio-Canada International has explained, “The provincial government in New Brunswick has been spraying herbicides on 15,000 hectares of crown land since the 1970’s when it first permitted pulp and paper companies to clearcut natural forest and replace it with plantations. The taxpayer funded programme is to benefit the lumber industry by protecting fast growing softwood trees from encroaching hardwood saplings.”

In her letter to Dr. Jennifer Russell, Pohl states, “We need to see that report on glyphosate that you promised we would have before the spray season begins. We need to see that report now. It is not clear to us if your report has been scrapped, suppressed, or something else has happened.”

She also emphasizes the urgency of the need to release the report by noting, “Dr. Russell, the spray season is upon us. Both CN Rail and NB Power have already publicly released their approved spray plans. Timber industries have already compiled their lists of acreage they want to spray for their monoculture conifer plantations. Their applications for taxpayerfinanced provincial silviculture spraying are being reviewed, and they anticipate approvals within the next few weeks.”

New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant, Minister of Health Victor Boudreau, and Deputy Minister of Health Tom Maston had all promised in December 2015 that the report would be forthcoming, while Dr. Russell had promised the report by this past Spring.

And Pohl highlights her concern that the “no cause” termination of the former Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eilish Cleary was related to her promise to investigate and report on the risks of glyphosate.

Pohl concludes, “Thousands and thousands of New Brunswickers share the concerns I have penned on behalf of our Kent County NB Chapter of the Council of Canadians. Valid population and environmental health research of the risks associated with these compounds is urgently needed. We sincerely hope that the report you have been working on will meet the tests for being valid, in depth and independent. Please send me the report that we are promised.”

To read Pohl’s complete letter, please click here. For additional background about Council of Canadians activisim on this issue, please click here.