(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2004)
According to the CBC, Canada’s national public broadcaster, the City of Montreal is set to ban almost all cosmetic use of chemical pesticides, saying the new rules could be in place in some parts of the city this summer. According to city officials, the new bylaw is one of the strictest in North America. Montrealers will be allowed to use organic pesticides, and the law allows a loophole for golf courses and infestations. “This historic move shows political courage and long term vision in favour of sustainable development. It is one of the most severe by-laws in North America and will go a long way in protecting the health and well being of all Montrealers, especially our children,” says Michel Gaudet, President of the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (CAP). “Since this is a health issue, I urge all the Boroughs of Montreal to implement the bylaw for this year, i.e., May 2004” Alan DeSousa is responsible for the environment on the city’s executive committee. “We hope that people will buy into this and hope it’s a good thing “we don’t want to come with a heavy-handed approach,” he said. People who use pesticides illegally could face fines starting at $100, but DeSousa said he hopes people will comply voluntarily.
Boroughs will get the job of enforcing the rules, but the leader of the opposition at city hall, Pierre Bourque, said that will be a daunting task. “They throw the application to the boroughs–the boroughs, they don’t have inspectors,” Mr. DeSousa said. The city says it might provide some new money for enforcement. Mr. DeSousa said the new rules will be in force by next spring, but some parts of the city could enact them this summer.
CAP has been working towards the Montreal ban. For the past four years, CAP has devoted its services towards the promotion of alternatives to pesticides, has proposed secure alternatives to safeguard health and the environment and has worked with other groups to help the public at large, mainly the municipalities to make a great ecological turn around.