Not all in support of cosmetic pesticides after Manitoba pulls back restrictions

A recent poll shows a divide over Manitoba’s recent move to ease restrictions on cosmetic pesticides.

A survey commissioned by the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg asked Manitobans if they favour or oppose keeping the existing restrictions on cosmetic pesticides in Manitoba.

Of the Manitobans surveyed, a little more than half (52 per cent) said they are in favour of keeping the existing restrictions on cosmetic pesticides in the province. Winnipeggers tended to be slightly more in favour than rural Manitobans.

On the flip side, 34 per cent of the respondents were opposed to keeping the existing restrictions, while 14 per cent said they didn’t know or had no response.

This comes after the government passed a bill in early November removing restrictions on the use of cosmetic pesticides in some areas, such as private lawns and municipal parks.

Josh Brandon, with the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, said the polling shows the provincial government may be out of step with the public opinion on the issue.

“We were disappointed that they decided to go ahead with this. And I hope that now that the new polling numbers are out, government will reconsider,” Brandon said.

The government, on the other hand, says it has the support of Manitobans. A spokesperson for Environment, Climate and Parks told CTV News in public consultation by the government, 70 per cent of Manitobans wanted the current restrictions pulled back.

But, Brandon said repealing the pesticide ban may come at a cost.

“In order to protect especially kids from the serious concerns around respiratory ailments, developmental issues, neurological issues even, we need to reduce pesticide usage to an absolute minimum,” he said. “The cosmetic pesticides are used for aesthetic purposes on lawns, there are alternatives.”

The provincial spokesperson said all the pesticides approved by Health Canada go through a rigourous testing process and are continually reviewed.

“Our government is committed to protecting the environment, and we rely on science to inform the proper use of cosmetic pesticides,” the spokesperson said in a statement emailed to CTV News. “We recognize Heath Canada as the foremost expert in this field to evaluate pesticides sold and used in Manitoba.”

METHODOLOGY

Social Planning Council of Winnipeg commissioned Prairie Research Associates to survey 800 Manitobans (513 in Winnipeg, 287 outside of Winnipeg) between Oct. 3 and Nov. 7.

The survey has results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 per cent. 

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