Political Letter Writing
Can we elicit a response from either the Federal government or the Provincial government with respect to the banning of Neonicotenoid pesticides?
Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides with a common mode of action that affects the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death. They are used on almost all North American corn and canola crops, as well as on numerous other crops. A number of recent studies have suggested that exposure to neonicotinoids at sub-lethal doses can have significant negative effects on bee health and bee colonies. However, there are concerns for non-bee wildlife and for human health too.
Here’s what you might consider as you draft your letter:
1. Evidence for the risk to wildlife from Neonic use, including but not limited to bees.
• e.g. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/david-suzuki/pesticides-killing-bees_b_6064398.html
• but there are many such sources…
2. Indications of risk to humans.
3. What the Province of Ontario announced in response to public concern in the autumn of 2014.
4. What the European Food Safety Authority found in 2012-13 and what the member countries of the European Union did in response.
5. Who, in Canada, has jurisdiction for regulating pesticide use.
• The federal law is the Pest Control Products Act
• The following Health Canada regulatory agency makes the decisions about what is allowable: Pest Management Regulatory Agency http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/branch-dirgen/pmra-arla/index-eng.php
• However, the provinces regulate licenses and other aspects of usage and storage: https://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/pesticide-licences-and-permits
• (Accordingly, there is both federal and provincial jurisdiction).
Assignment. Write a letter to a federal or provincial politician.
• Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
• Health Minister Rona Ambrose,
• Leader of one of the other federal parties, confirming their party’s commitment,
• Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne,
• Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray,
• your own Member of Parliament for your riding.
This letter should clearly (a) identify the issue you are writing about, (b) identify briefly the evidence for banning Neonicotenoids, (by reference to its effect on organisms and/or ecosystems), and (c) request that the government respond appropriately (and you can be more specific about what response you think is appropriate).
Do not make your letter essay length! Do not send an email! Here is one internet guide to assist you in drafting your letter: http://www.johncobrien.com/uploads/How_to_write_a_letter_to_a_politician_v_1.2.pdf
A well-crafted letter on one page should be sufficient. Please ensure you have the correct mailing address and of course, provide a return address.
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