(July 29, 2016)
The Pallister government’s announcement it would review Manitoba’s cosmetic-pesticide ban sent a groan through the local environmental community.
All the hours spent on a monumentally slow process that began in 2009 led to a report from the Manitoba Roundtable for Sustainable Development in 2011, to the “Tomorrow Now” Green Plan of 2012, to an announcement of a four-point strategy in 2013 and to royal assent to the legislation June 12, 2014 — leading finally to the ban coming into force Jan. 1, 2015 — appears to have been wasted.
Even though the legislation was anemic in comparison to that in other provinces (such as Ontario and Quebec, which had done this years earlier), it was a victory of sorts — not for the eco-lobby, as some would complain, but for good science, common sense and the public interest.
It took five years to implement a ban that looks as if it will be turfed within two years, thanks to a change in our provincial government.
It is hard to believe it really was “change for the better” in the face of announcements such as this one.
The Pallister government will not be the first to be accused of political patronage and cronyism, of taking care of its friends before taking care of the public interest — and in opposition, the Progressive Conservative party certainly levelled enough accusations of its own on that score.
It could, however, be the first to make decisions that were pragmatic rather than partisan, based on scientific evidence and common sense and not on ideological voices in their heads.