DOW Launches NAFTA Challenge to Pesticide Ban
You know all those people you see on TV who march and protest against the WTO, the World Bank, Free Trade, Globalization, etc.? This is why:
Environmentalists in battle to be heard in pesticide case
NAFTA can block their participation and take arbitration proceedings behind closed doors
Look out, Ontario.
Dow Chemicals has filed a claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement seeking compensation for a Quebec ban on lawn pesticides. Dow says that the ban amounts to an unfair “expropriation” of the company’s Quebec pesticide business.
Although the NAFTA claim is focused on the Quebec ban, don’t be surprised if Ontario comes into the sightlines now that a similar province-wide ban came into effect last week.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m incredibly ambivalent on the issue of cosmetic pesticide bans. I am not at all convinced that lawn weedkillers pose even a marginal threat to anybody’s health or safety, but even if they do, such bans are so limited in scope and have so many exceptions that they only distract from the much broader issue of chemical use in our society – particularly in agriculture.
Frankly, I’m far more concerned with the pesticides on the food I eat than whatever my neighbour is spraying on his grass. I’m not planning to graze on his lawn.
That said, our duly elected representatives are following the will of the vast majority of people in this province who support a cosmetic pesticide ban. This sort of preventative policy was even upheld by Canada’s Supreme Court, which ruled that governments have the right to act proactively so as to minimize potential health risks.
The idea that a corporation can challenge such regulations just because it’s bad for their business is precisely the sort of outrage that makes some people dislike things like corporations and free trade agreements. You might just as well have American gun manufacturers complain that our gun control laws are depriving them of profit for no good reason. After all, guns don’t kill people…