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Liberal candidate de Jong in favour of province-wide pesticide ban

Liberal leadership candidate Mike de Jong says he would support a province-wide ban of cosmetic pesticides were he elected premier.

The question: "Would you support the enactment of provincial legislation banning the sale, use and application of cosmetic pesticides on private lawns and gardens, as well as public parks and recreational facilities?" was put to the Liberals, NDP, Reform and Green parties by the Surrey White Rock Pesticide-Free coalition.

The citizen's group successfully lobbied for a pesticide bylaw for single family dwellings in Surrey. On Monday, Surrey council gave approval to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides throughout the city.

According to the group, only de Jong, NDP MLA Dawn Black and Green Party leader Jane Sterk responded to the one-question online poll: all three answered yes.

"The BC government has remained silent, even with the Union of BC Municipalities 2008 motion asking the provincial government to pass provincial legislation banning the sale and use of cosmetic pesticides," stated coalition member Andrew Schulz in a press release. "The BC government has failed to protect the health of citizens, particularly the young and elderly, who are most at risk."

A spokesperson for de Jong's campaign said the MLA's reason for supporting the ban is to protect watersheds.

Last year at this time, the Liberal government held a series of public consultations on changing the rules around cosmetic pesticide use in the province. Of the roughly 8,000 groups and individuals who submitted comments -- including the Canadian Cancer Society, David Suzuki Foundation and West Coast Environmental Law -- 88 per cent were in support of a ban.

According to the advocacy group Pesticide Free BC, 170 municipalities across the country have passed full or partial bans on pesticide use.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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