Postby Oscar » Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:38 pm


Friday, November 14, 2008

Even the humble honeybee faces their wrath - by Larry Powell

ROBLIN MB. Nov.14th, 2008.

Who has more control over the affairs of our nation? Our democratically-elected representatives? Or huge, far-away corporations?

If you think that's an odd question, consider this.

A plane sprays a canola field.

The U.S. chemical giant, Chemtura Corp. is now suing Canada for $100 million.

Why? Because Canada stopped Chemtura from peddling its poison, Lindane, here. Lindane is a cancer-causing fungicide used as a seed treatment.

A settlement to that dispute is now being worked out in some shadowy back room somewhere.

As if that isn't enough, Dow AgroSciences, makers of the weed killer 2-4-D, is suing Canada for $2 million, plus costs.

Why? Because Quebec had the nerve to ban cosmetic pesticides like Dow's to protect the health of its citizens. Imagine that!

Armed with the NAFTA free trade agreement, Dow alleges, what Quebec did hurt its sales!

So I guess a Corporation's lust for profit trumps any move by a duly- elected government to protect its children from cancer and neurological disorders!

There is actually a clause in this twisted agreement that allows the likes of Dow to sue foreign governments if they do something that allegedly damages their bottom lines.

And quite a bottom line it is!

Based in Indiana, Dow has annual sales exceeding $50 billion dollars.

Ontario has also banned cosmetic pesticides. But the ban won't come into effect until spring. Question is, will the Dow lawsuit now place a chill over the province's will to carry through? Stay tuned!

A few years ago, U.S.-based Ethyl Corp. sued Canada under NAFTA for not allowing it to sell M.M.T. here. That's a fuel additive which is also a neurotoxin. We were able to keep that insidious product out. But we had to pay Ethyl Corp. about $10 million dollars for the privilege.

Bowing to mammoth corporations like these, this witch's brew of an agreement has hung nothing less than our national sovereignty out to dry.
But in other cases,rather than standing on our hind legs and resisting this nonsense, our own governments and agencies seem all too prepared to bend over and accept the tyranny of these corporations.

At least France, Germany and now Slovenia and Italy had the courage to ban the chemical clothianidin, (an invention of the German chemical giant, Bayer CropScience) because it kills honeybees.

Canada's own Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency (P.M.R.A.), however, approved the same product for use in Canada four years ago.
Not only is the "P.M.R.A." now refusing to ban clothianidin, it approved a similar product "Movento" (another Bayer brainchild) just this summer. It is now suspected of having the same harmful result!

For example, the headline in the October 9th edition of the Manitoba farm paper, Co-operator reads, "New systemic insecticide (Movento) worries beekeepers."

Meanwhile, honeybees (which pollinate up to one third of our food crops, thus ensuring their very suvival) continue to vanish all over the world, including Canada.

An earlier edition of the Co-operator reported that commercial honey producers in Canada lost over a third of their colonies last winter!

On Oct 16th of this year, a regulatory information officer with the PM.R.A., Iullia Popa, told "Paths Less Travelled," in an email, "The current scientific consensus is that neonicotinoid residues do not pose a serious threat to honey bees or other pollinators." (Neonicotinoids is a "family" of pesticides to which clothianidin belongs.)

In reality, the internet is full of articles by scientists, implicating both clothianidin and similar products in the deaths of honeybees.
For example, in the spring of last year, an adviser to the prestigious "Institute for Science in Society," Prof. Joe Cummins, wrote an article entitled "Requiem for the Honeybee."

Part of it reads,"Neonicotinoid insecticides used both in sprays and seed dressing may be responsible for the collapse of honeybee colonies."
Cummins is a geneticist at the University of Western Ontario.

While other factors such as viruses and mites are also suspected, studies which do not also implicate pesticides, are rare.

Ms. Popa assured me her agency had conducted "rigorous pre-market evaluation processes" into neonicotinoids. So I asked for the data that went into those "processes."

That was over a month ago. I'm still waiting.

In the States, an environmental group has taken the Environmental Protection Agency, E.P.A. (the American equivalent to the P.M.R.A.) to court to force it to release similar studies done there. At last report, the EPA was continuing to suppress that information, as well.

Sadly, I fear the re-election of the Harper government, a loyal servant of these chemical giants, will only ensure that little will change.

Lary Powell
Roblin, MB

Please also read in older posts - "It's the Pesticides, Stupid!"

See: ... es-stupid/
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