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Dossier: Helping to remove pesticides from agriculture

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The issue of pesticides has received unprecedented media coverage in Quebec these past few months, which has led to the creation of a parliamentary committee (CAPERN) to look into the issue this fall. The committee, made up of members of the National Assembly, will be tasked with examining the impacts of pesticides on public health and the environment, exploring innovative solutions currently and potentially available, and looking into the issues surrounding the lack of independence for agronomists, as well as pesticide industry interference in public research on agriculture.

Équiterre has been calling for a transition toward agriculture that is less dependent on synthetic pesticides for a number of years. It will be closely involved in the process surrounding this committee’s work.

ÉQUITERRE’S DEMANDS FOR PESTICIDE-FREE AGRICULTURE

Given that:

  • Quebec has missed its targets for pesticide reduction for more than 25 years
  • There is an increasing body of scientific research confirming the dangers to human health and the environment posed by a number of commonly used agricultural pesticides
  • Pesticides are increasingly present in our waterways and our food
  • The federal government's pesticide approval process lacks credibility and transparency
  • Quebec has the authority to restrict and prohibit the sale and use of pesticides on its territory
  • Serious issues have been raised by conflicts of interest among researchers and pesticide consulting firms in Quebec
  • Studies, backed by concrete examples, show that it is possible to farm profitably and productively, all the while reducing pesticide use

Équiterre feels that the parliamentary committee must attack the source of the problem, namely the industry that is contaminating the transparency of pesticide research and encouraging the use of even more pesticides, as well as public policies that support pesticide-dependent production. Quebec has the power to control the sale and use of pesticides on its territory, and the committee must identify ways to effect a definitive shift towards reducing synthetic pesticide use in Quebec agriculture.
 

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