All municipalities should follow Laval’s example, says enviro-group
At a time when the federal government no longer seems to be defending the common good in the glyphosate issue, Vigilance OGM activists are calling on the municipal level to take concrete actions to reduce our collective exposure to pesticides. Some 500 flags were symbolically installed in Laval to challenge the mayors, elected and candidates of the next municipal elections to seize the issue on their territory — as the City of Laval was able to do.
Dotted with flags indicating their claims, Bernard Landry Park was the place of an original staging surprising the visiting Lavallois.es. Activists from Vigilance OGM were there to offer their compliments to the City of Laval which, last April, took the step to ban pesticides on its territory, especially those based on glyphosate and neonicotinoids; but especially to invite the rest of Quebec’s municipalities to follow suit.
Vigilance OGM is a non-profit organization concerned about what we put on our plates on a daily basis and about the impact of the production methods of genetically modified crops on human and environmental health. Vigilance OGM is working to germinate a GMO-free Quebec.
Although it accounts for more than 80% of total sales, it is not only people in the agricultural sector who use these products. Institutions, municipalities and even individuals can use it to maintain parks and gardens. However, exposure to these chemicals is not insignificant and studies show their link with the appearance of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, cancers, cognitive disorders and other health problems (INSERM, 2021). Therefore, Vigilance OGM is asking municipalities to legislate to prohibit these uses that unnecessarily expose the population.
A broader movement
Last May, Vigilance OGM launched a call for citizen mobilization to ban the use of pesticides for aesthetic purposes and to improve the analysis of drinking water in Quebec. Two demands are among the 15 listed in the manifesto Sortir du glyphosate in order to quickly get Quebec out of its dependence on pesticides. Since then, groups have emerged here and there to claim these issues: some get in touch with their elected representatives while others write open letters or question local candidates in the next elections in order to increase the pressure.
Lost confidence in Health Canada
“I have lost confidence in Health Canada. Since then, I have been involved locally to bring about real changes that limit our exposure to pesticides. I think we should not expose ourselves unnecessarily to pesticides for the maintenance of our parks and gardens, just as I think we should not increase the limits of glyphosate residues on our food,” says Chloé Tremblay Cloutier, activist for Vigilance OGM.
Boyer: City of Laval initiative
Quebec has more than 150 municipalities that have regulated the use of pesticides on their territory.
In recent months, many municipalities have adopted or announced their intention to reduce the use of pesticides in their territory. This is the case of the City of Laval.
“I want to send a message to the other mayors, mayors and mayoral candidates of other cities in Quebec: make this commitment. On the one hand, it is an environmental issue, to have a healthier living environment, to preserve the fauna, flora and biodiversity. But it is also, above all, a question of human health, of the health of the population, ”said Stéphane Boyer, deputy mayor and candidate for mayor of Laval, at the press conference.
According to Stéphane Boyer, this is the first step in getting out of pesticides. Although the deputy mayor does not have a specific plan or deadline, he says he wants to work with farmers to change their practices to reduce or even eliminate their use of pesticides.
“[These products] have made it possible to have higher agricultural yields, to lower the cost of food and to make certain advances. But we are no longer in the sixties, we have come much further. There are new practices that exist, new technologies that exist that allow agriculture to be much healthier with fewer chemicals while maintaining good food quality,” he added.