Ontario groups says Premier McGuinty should heed concerns raised by Canada's Auditor General

    OTTAWA, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - Agricultural and landscaping groups that have been
encouraging the Ontario government to take a second look at proposed
regulations to ban urban pesticide use are hopeful Premier Dalton McGuinty
will take note of concerns raised by Canada's Auditor General and take steps
to protect the province from preventable economic and environmental losses.
    "Canada's Auditor General has identified that Canada could suffer
significantly if invasive pests are not properly controlled. Ontario farmers
know that pest control is an important element of economic success for our
sector and we are hoping that Premier McGuinty will finally see the validity
of the concerns we are raising," said Bette Jean Crews, president of Ontario
Federation of Agriculture. "The proposed regulations are not science-based and
will discourage innovation, jeopardizing farmers' ability to continue to
produce a safe and affordable supply of healthy foods."
    "The Ontario government says they have addressed concerns about invasive
species in their legislation, but they haven't. These arbitrary regulations
create an environment of uncertainty and make it unlikely that Canada will be
seen as a place to invest as newer and more effective pest control products
are made available in other countries," said Pierre Petelle, director of
regulatory affairs at CropLife Canada.
    "The proposed regulations put Ontario farms at an increased risk of pest
infestations from non-agricultural land and at the same time send a negative
message to the public about the adequacy of the federal regulatory system,"
said Richard Blyleven, a farmer and chair of Agricultural Groups Concerned
about Resources and the Environment (AGCare). "If farmers are going to
successfully meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population, we need
access to every tool in the toolbox. That includes today's safe and effective
crop protection products."
    "If the pesticide regulations go through as they are, Ontarians will soon
notice the difficulty of keeping their lawns and gardens free of insects and
weeds," said Tony DiGiovanni, executive director of Landscape Ontario. "There
will also be thousands of trained, licensed professionals whose livelihoods
will be affected in very serious ways."

    The four associations represent more than 40, 000 Ontario farm families,
20, 000 lawn care professionals and nursery operations in Ontario, and the
manufacturers, developers and distributors of Canada's $1.4 billion pest
control products industry.

For further information:

For further information: Neil Currie, Ontario Federation of Agriculture,
(519) 821-8883; Nadine Sisk, CropLife Canada, (613) 230-9881 Ext 3224; Lilian
Schaer, AGCare, (519) 837-1326; Gavin Dawson, Landscape Ontario, (905)

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CropLife Canada

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