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Despite public support for a BC pesticide ban, Clark waffles on promise

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark backtracked today on her promise to introduce a province-wide ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides, despite public support for such a ban.

"I'm sure that the leader of the opposition is not asking me to ignore entirely the work that the legislative committee did," Clark said responding in question period to NDP Leader Adrian Dix about whether she supports a ban.

"It was a very rigorous examination of the evidence that was out there," she said. "Now that they have just recently completed their work, we are going to be taking that information that they've gathered into consideration as we get closer to a decision."

That's a much different position than the premier took a year ago when the NDP proposed a ban and she told reporters, "I've supported this for years now . . . We are going to do it."

Clark appointed a legislative committee to explore how to proceed, but the committee split on party lines and the government majority recommended not making any major changes to how pesticides are used or regulated in the province.

Dix pointed out that while running to become premier Clark said banning cosmetic pesticides from lawns, parks and playgrounds would help ensure families are raised in safe environments. "These dangerous pesticides are proven to increase the likelihood of childhood cancer and other illnesses and have no place near our homes," he quoted her saying, asking again if she still supports a ban.

"This is a government that reflects the views of the citizens and that listens to them, that gathers that information," Clark said. "We're working hard to try and reflect the views of citizens across the province. That was why I appointed the bipartisan legislative committee to look into it, to make sure that we did have the diversity of views and to make sure that citizens had input."

According to the committee's report, people who responded to the body's e-questionnaire overwhelmingly supported a ban by a margin of 4,982 to 2,268.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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