Letter: Polluted Fletcher column sabotages thoughtful discussion

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Re: Polluted logic plagues pesticide bylaws (Opinion, Oak Bay News, Jan. 31)

Speaking of polluted logic, what a strange opinion piece by Tom Fletcher. He complains about bylaws restricting pesticides, going after Saanich bylaws in particular, as “politically correct rubbish.” I haven’t seen those bylaws, but I’m delighted to live with their effects. Many would agree.

Language throughout the piece is derogatory and belittling, sabotaging any rational, thoughtful discussion. But Fletcher clearly doesn’t want rational discussion; he wants to mock and ridicule. He describes the “sprinkling” of permitted pesticides and the “hit list” of restricted pesticides. Please.

He attacks the “precautionary principle,” suggesting that actual evidence of harm isn’t needed to impose restrictions. We’re talking about our families, neighbours, and pets here. Shouldn’t we err on the side of caution? The scientific consensus was these pesticides were likely carcinogens. Only very recently the consensus was changed to probably not carcinogenic.

Even if not cancer causing there can be ill effects, such as drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea in pets exposed to plants still wet with glyphosate spray. 2,4-D adds convulsions as well. Extreme poisoning is much worse. As there is potential for harm, what’s wrong with the precautionary principle? Many will be glad to know that they can walk around their neighbourhood without inadvertently exposing their children or pets to garden chemicals that may sicken them.

And Mr. Fletcher tries to defend DDT of all things, by shooting down Rachel Carson and talking about bird population numbers 50 years ago. Really? The harmful effects of DDT are pretty well established.

Insect numbers around the globe have been declining for years. Bird numbers around the globe have been declining for years. Amphibians everywhere are in trouble. These are bad signs about the systems that support us. Maybe a little more of that precautionary principle would be smart about now.

Ann Tiplady

Oak Bay

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