Readers buzzing over Arnason column on the politics of neonics

Our Brandon-based reporter, Robert Arnason, has proven he’s not one to shy away from the hornet’s nest when it comes to tackling challenging stories. This week, it’s his work on bees and neonics in Ontario that’s really got our readers buzzing via social media.

Arnason wrote an opinion piece for his blog stating, “Ontario’s debate over neonics is no longer about neonics.” Rather, he says, it’s become a question of who controls Ontario’s agricultural policy.

Arnason quotes Patrick Lynch, an Ontario crop adviser, who said, “it’s preposterous that outside groups are crafting agricultural policies in Canada.”

“The Sierra Club, a U.S. environmental club, made no bones about it, in fact they’re bragging about it, that they got neonics banned in Ontario,” Lynch said. “I do not like a group from the U.S., no matter who they are, telling the Ontario government, my government, what to do.”

The article ends with Lynch asking, “what is the next issue that’s going to come about, (where) an environmental group will tell us what to do?”

But that only started the discussion on social media.

A reader named “RobertWager” was among the first to comment: “Farmers, this is your wake up call. If you don’t get directly involved in the discussion the anti’s will set farm policy.”

A reader calling himself “richard” counters with: “The old adage ‘humans will always do the right thing but only after all other possibilities have been exhausted’ has proven itself yet again…. a victory for the environment…. followed by the usual invective from vested interests….”

That prompted “hyperzombie” to question the notion of a “victory for the environment:” “You better think that through, if neonic seed treatments are banned, farmers will go back to foliar sprays of organophosphates, not a win for anyone, ’cept spray plane owners.”

Hyperzombie goes on to say: “Neonics as a seed treatment only kill pests that consume the plant. Organophosphates kill all the insects that are in the spray area, huge difference.”

“Bill” was quick to reply: “Yes and the last time I checked pollen and nectar are part of the plant and bees are insects and they do consume it. …”

To which “hyperzombie” replied: “You know what really kills bees… spraying the crap out of the environment with insecticides.”

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