The NDP says recently proposed legislation around a province-wide pesticide ban is confusing and doesn't go far enough, while their Liberal counterparts maintain that it's a balance between health and choice. The province recently announced proposed legislation that would allow only those with a certified licence to spray pesticides on lawns or gardens.
NDP environment critic and Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming told The NOW the legislation is confusing for consumers, and adds a level of uncertainty for retailers as well.
"You can go in and buy the product, but you have to promise that you will phone a licensed applicator to put it on your lawn or your garden bed," he said. "It's rather like saying to a minor that they can buy cigarettes if they promise that they're for their parents. What is the point?"
Last week, Fleming put forward the party's fifth attempt to institute an outright ban on the sale and use of pesticides.
Six provinces across the country have instituted bans, including Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
About 40 municipalities across B.C. - including each city within the Tri-Cities - has some form of a municipal pesticide ban in place.
The authority to ban the sale of those products, however, lies with the province.
"The Tri-Cities has been one of the most active communities on this, and in every region in the province there's a strong appetite to have a consistent law," Fleming said. "Perhaps it's to give the illusion that [the Liberals] are doing something, when in fact, they're doing almost nothing."
Coquitlam Burke Mountain MLA Doug Horne was part of a special legislative committee that examined the issue. The group heard from residents across the province about the type of legislation they wanted in place.
"The real concern is the use of pesticides in the wrong way and the use of pesticides by untrained people," he said.
"It's not about telling people what they can and can't do on their own property, as much as making certain that they do it safely when they do do it."
Horne conceded there is merit to both sides of the debate, but said ultimately, leaving the choice open to B.C. residents was paramount.
"It's an issue that definitely divides people," Horne said. "I hear from people saying, 'Don't tell me what I can do on my own property,' and I hear from people who have a genuine concern about the long-term effects of pesticides and other chemicals in our environment. There's merit to both arguments. It's about finding a place where people are safe."