New appointments to the province’s Ontario Pesticide Advisory Committee (OPAC) have got at least one farm group calling foul — yet again — on Ontario’s government.
The committee’s purpose is to “annually reviews the content and operation of the Pesticides Act and its regulations and recommends changes or amendments” to the minister of environment and climate change. OPAC also reviews all Ontario government publications on pesticides and pest control, reviews and makes recommendations on the classification of all new federally registered pest control products prior to their sale and use in Ontario, and advises the minister on matters relating to pesticide classifcations and pest management.
Announced late last week, the lieutenant governor in council rounded out the OPAC to 17 members, two of whom are also part of the Ontario Beekeepers Association. Tibor Szabo, a commercial beekeeper, and Jim Wilson, a falconer, according to a supplied bio, are both members of OBA — Szabo as president and Wilson as a director. (See all the appointments, here).
The appointments were met with serious criticism from the Grain Farmers of Ontario, who said that appointing two “highly vocal anti-pesticide organization” members to a council in the midst of hammering out new regulations regarding the use of neonicotinoid-treated soybean and corn seeds creates “grave concern” for the agriculture industry.
GFO’s released statement says that the group is “gravely concerned that (MOECC minister) Glen Murray’s anti-agriculture activist agenda poses one of the most serious threats farming has seen in Ontario and these new appointments to OPAC demonstrate his desire to surround himself with people who are as anti-agriculture as he is.”
“We have a Minister of Environment and Climate Change being advised by someone who is on record lobbying for greater restrictions on farmers,” says Mark Brock, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario, referring to Tibor Szabo with OBA. “It’s not appropriate for someone calling for a ban on pesticides to reasonably evaluate these important tools — but this is the type of person Glen Murray wants to hear from. If this continues, and Kathleen Wynne doesn’t gain control of Glen Murray’s agenda, family farming and grain farming in Ontario will suffer devastating consequences.”
You can read a short bio of each member of OPAC by clicking here.