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Moncton chapter questions Premier Gallant about glyphosate on CBC Radio

The Council of Canadians Moncton chapter asked New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant on CBC Radio today about the spraying of a carcinogenic defoliant on Crown lands.

CBC explains, “Gallant appeared for a live interview for nearly an hour on Tuesday and took questions from New Brunswickers on the phone as well as ones from social media.”

And NB Media Co-op reports, “[Pamela] Ross, who serves as Chairperson of the Greater Moncton chapter of the Council of Canadians, phoned into the 40-minute program to ask why the province is not promoting the use of workers to thin the forests instead of allowing the spraying of glyphosate, an herbicide that the World Health Organization has flagged as a probable cause of cancer. She noted that when the province hands out hundreds of thousands of dollars to big companies to subsidize call centres, it routinely argues that the government will get the money back through increased consumer spending and income tax revenue [but] ‘when it comes to the forestry, the province chooses the opposite theory, they say that it’s too expensive to hire workers’.”

“Gallant responded that when it comes to the use of glyphosate, the province makes decisions based on the best available evidence. ‘The evidence before us is that Health Canada says that, for the time being, that it (the spraying) can continue and that will continue to be the position of the government barring that it would change’, he said. He added that call centres are an important industry employing thousands of New Brunswickers.”

In an interview following the broadcast Ross said, “I think Premier Gallant’s answer was weak.”

Sustainable Energy Group co-ordinator Sam Arnold then asked the premier about the “apparent inconsistency” between the need to tackle climate change and his government’s promotion of the Energy East pipeline.

Gallant responded, “Climate change is the largest challenge that we face as a generation. …We have to prioritize growing the economy. Too many Canadians, too many New Brunswickers want to work, they want to be able to have a job and we have to do whatever we can as governments to enable that. …The Energy East Pipeline is a project that could help us create thousands of jobs, it could help increase our GDP, increase revenues for the province that we can then invest in things like education and health care.”

Afterwards, Arnold commented, “Basically, what he said is he wants to prioritize the economy while climate change comes in second.”

For more about Council of Canadians chapter actions in New Brunswick on the issue of glyphosate, please click here. For our campaign web-page on the Energy East pipeline, click here. To read the complete NB Media Co-op article by Bruce Wark click here. The audio of today’s CBC program can be heard here.