A last-ditch attempt to possibly bring an end to the controversial spraying of Glyphosate in New Brunswick sputtered out on the floor of the provincial legislature on Friday.
“Due to the extended urgency of this issue I’m requesting an emergency debate,” said Green Party Leader David Coon, who’d introduced the topic on the final day of this sitting in the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly.
But it was short-lived as Speaker Daniel Guitard ruled that Coon had months to discuss the controversial spraying of the herbicide over the past several months.
Coon questioned why the Blaine Higgs government hasn’t delivered on its Throne Speech commitment to create an all-party committee that would look into the banning of herbicide spraying in the province.
“We’ve asked questions in the house on a number of occasions about what the Minister of Environment is doing, did he sign the permit is he going to modify the regulations?” explained Coon while talking to reporters following the day’s proceedings.
The province has modified the licences to spray Glyphosate and is working toward a 30 per cent reduction of spraying along NB Power’s power lines and a total ban on spraying Crown Lands in designated watersheds.
“He (Coon) cannot stand up now and think he’s going to take the lead on it. Myself and my colleague Mike Holland have made some moves on spraying, while not on the health side of it we’ve done it on the habitat side,” said Environment Minister Jeff Carr.
“We will continue to improve regulations for this year and the following year.”
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The advocacy group Stop Spraying New Brunswick says the decision was a move in the right direction but want to see the file move along faster, toward a complete ban, something that’s being done in neighbouring Quebec where the province stopped issuing licences for forest spraying in 2001.
“We all thought at least if they could stop signing spray licenses this year, that doesn’t mean they committed to a ban but at least they would have stopped for a year,” explains Dr. Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy, the Chair of the group.
The Liberals support a ban but say it’s a decision that cannot be taken lightly. The party’s environment critic pointing to the need for more research on the topic.
“We need to look at academic studies and make sure that the science is with any decisions,” said Cathy Rogers.
The World Health Organization has classified Glyphosate as a “probable carcinogenic” and more than 30,000 New Brunswickers have signed a petition calling for a total ban.