Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Bennett demands to see own pesticide email before commenting

When The Tyee asked Bill Bennett about an email dismissing supporters of a ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides as "politically motivated left wing conspiracy theorists," he demanded to see it before he would comment.

"Show me the email," he said. "You said I sent an email, show it to me."

Assured that The Tyee had a copy of the messages, the most recent of which Bennett sent yesterday, and could present them given a couple minutes, he said, "I want the whole email. I want the context of the email. I don't want you just to throw something at me . . . I'm not going to respond to something I don't have in front of me. I don't know about the email you're talking about."

As a BC Liberal caucus communications person moved to end the interview, Bennett appeared to suddenly recall the exchange with Bill Wells, a retired agrologist who lives in Kaslo. Said Bennett, "Did you read his email to me? Did you think it was insulting and patronizing?"

But when asked if he had found it insulting and patronizing, Bennett walked away from the question.

Bennett, the MLA for Kootenay East, chaired the legislature's Special Committee on Cosmetic Pesticides which recommended against a ban. Following is the complete text of the exchange as forwarded to Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall by Wells, with only the email addresses removed:

From: Bill Wells

Sent: May-24-12 10:39 AM

To: Bill Bennett

CC: Michelle Mungall

Subject: Not going to ban cosmetic pesticides . . .

Mr. Bennett,

I read where you are just Not going to ban cosmetic pesticides . . . no matter what knowledgeable land management professionals, citizens, medical doctors, or anyone else has to say about it. Do I have that right?

You must realize that your kangaroo report sending the message that pesticides are benign and nothing to worry about is an embarrassment to BC in general, and to any thinking person who can sees the membership of your 'panel'.

For over twenty-five years as a member of the BC Institute of Agrologists (much of the time as councillor from Kootenay Boundary Branch), I witnessed the chemical and genetic engineering industries aggressively attempt (and succeed) to manipulate agricultural practice toward their benefit. And of course the home-gardeners are a large potential market bloc too, so that market is pandered to by the 'lawn care profession', who attempt to convince unsuspecting home-owners and smallholders that what they must have are monocultured lawns kept green by a wide variety of killing chemicals -- many which to not mix together well, not to mention other lasting problems.

I am retired now, but I can still read a paper and type a ltter. I read how disrespectfully you and your committee treated at least one very knowlegeable and experienced medical doctor -- knowledgeable and experienced about effects of chemicals from home-gardening poisons.

Since I am now retired, and am in a position to express not only my scientific opinion that products like Killex and Round-Up have no place in home-gardens, in public places, and near domestic water sources, but I'm in a position to express my personal and moral disappointment that a committee of the BC Legislature would be so prejudiced in reaching their 'decision' that they ignore and humiliate those who would come to them to provide them with actual facts and knowledgeable guidance.

Your committee came to a wrong and disgraceful conclusion.

Willilam H. Wells, retired PAg


From: Bennett, Bill

Sent: Sunday, May 27, 2012 05:53 PM

To: Bill Wells

Subject: Fw: Not going to ban cosmetic pesticides . . .

Dear Sir,

I am pleased to hear that you can read and encourage you to put your skill to work reading the Special Committee's Report. Perhaps even an old dog can learn a new trick!


Bill Bennett

MLA Kootenay East


From: Bill Wells

Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 09:15 AM

To: Bennett, Bill

CC: Mungall, Michelle

Subject: Re: Fw: Not going to ban cosmetic pesticides . . .

Dear Mr. Bennett,

I have read your report. I don't know what dog you refer to. I try to teach my old dog the new trick of staying off lawns where somebody has sprayed a bunch of herbicides, as many labels actually do suggest. As for me, I'm learning new tricks every day. One is to be evermore cautious and vigilant of snake oil sales departments.

The majority's finding that they rely on the PMRA's "impressive" scientific scrutiny would be fine if the PMRA was free from excessive influence by the ag chemical industry, had it's own independent scientists working in independent laboratories, and if the Harper government weren't busily reducing funding for a wide range of scientific inquiry and environmental protections.

But it looks like you and the likes of MR. WILLIAM GATHERCOLE and his friends have won the day. Most of my acquaintances and professional colleagues hope this is only a temporary victory for you.

Bill Wells, Kaslo, B.C.


Subject: Re: Fw: Not going to ban cosmetic pesticides . . .

Date: Wed, 30 May 2012 10:12:52

From: Bennett, Bill

To: Wells, Bill

And a commie under every rock and the grassy hill in Dallas and all corporations are evil and all that jazz. Sorry, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I'll take the 350 scientists at Health Canada over the politically motivated left wing conspiracy theorists any day.

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

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus