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N.B. advocacy group gives PC Party failing grade for not banning herbicide spraying

Click to play video: 'N.B. group calls on province to stop glyphosate spraying' N.B. group calls on province to stop glyphosate spraying
WATCH: An environmental group is issuing poor grades all around. Stop Spraying New Brunswick gave all political parties barely passing grades as part of its annual review on glyphosate spraying in the province. Nathalie Sturgeon has that story. – Sep 2, 2021

The New Brunswick group that campaigns against the use of herbicide spraying in the province is giving Premier Blaine Higgs and his government a failing grade.

Stop Spraying New Brunswick (SSNB) slapped the PC Party with an F for not making any movement on its efforts to ban glyphosate and other pesticides.

SSNB held a news conference on Thursday to share its grades for all the provincial parties.

Read more: N.B. glyphosate hearings bring out difference in opinion on forestry, agricultural uses

It gave the Liberals a D for the campaign promise it made in 2020 to phase out spraying on Crown land over four years. Both the Green Party and People’s Alliance received a C+ for being vocal about a ban on pesticide spraying, but falling short on any concrete action.

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“The citizens of New Brunswick just don’t want this and we’re pretty loud about it. Things need to change and I hope they are getting the message,” said SSNB chair, Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy.

In June, the Standing Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship held hearings on the use of glyphosate and other pesticides. Recommendations by the all-party committee are expected to be released later this month.

SSNB board member Kim Copps said she hopes those meetings are not what the government considers public consultation.

“The committee hearings, which featured hand-picked presenters did not equal public consultation. The public has been very clear about their wish for sustainable forestry practices and public consultation,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Recommendations to come on glyphosate spraying in N.B. after hearings wrap up' Recommendations to come on glyphosate spraying in N.B. after hearings wrap up
Recommendations to come on glyphosate spraying in N.B. after hearings wrap up – Jun 26, 2021

Estimates given during the hearings suggested 90 per cent of global glyphosate use was in agriculture. But in New Brunswick, agriculture accounts for just 11 per cent of glyphosate usage.

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According to a 2016 report from the chief medical officer of health, forestry accounts for 61 per cent of glyphosate usage in the province, while industry makes up another 27 per cent.

SSNB is calling on the province’s political parties to collaborate and move on banning the practice of glyphosate spraying on Crown forests, which is half of New Brunswick’s land base.

The government said it was aware of the grading given by SSNB on Thursday.

“The group also appeared before the all-party Standing Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship. Government anticipates a report from the committee to the legislative assembly.”

–With a file from Silas Brown 

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