Has the government sprayed glyphosate on Woodwynn Farm?

Apr 10, 2019 | 41-4, Environment, Governance, Video | 9 comments

[UPDATE]

I have received a response from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

BC Housing has entered into a lease agreement with a local farmer to harvest hay. The lease has a strong covenant to comply with environmental laws and a related indemnity not to use or permit to be used any harmful or hazardous substance. The reported chemical used by the farmer at Woodwynn Farms, glyphosate, is approved for use in Canada by Health Canada.


Last week the upper field at Woodwynn Farm in Central Saanich went brown. From what I have seen and the photos I have been sent it looks pretty clear, the owner sprayed a herbicide on the farm. The owner is BC Housing and the provincial government.

I began receiving messages from my constituents expressing their horror that the government would apply a herbicide to the farm.

So in Question Period this week I asked the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to provide clarification. Unfortunately, as you will see, she did not have an answer and promised to get back to me with an answer.

[Transcript]

A. Olsen:

Woodwynn Farm is an iconic farm in central Saanich. It’s about a 200-acre contiguous piece of agricultural land. It has massive potential. It has had its fair share of controversy over the decades, since I’ve been at the local government table and now in provincial politics.

Thousands of people drive by the farm each week. It’s, frankly, a very important part of our community. Many of us who’ve lived in the community a long time have gone by there and noticed and known the Holsteins that used to graze underneath the Garry oaks next to the road.

Last weekend I noticed that the upper field was brown, completely dead. The field further to the south, part of the farm operation — still lush and green. I’ve been receiving messages from my constituents asking whether the government has treated the property with glyphosate — Roundup, as it’s known — or another herbicide.

My question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: did B.C. Housing, the owner of Woodwynn Farm, spray that property with this or any other herbicide?

Hon. S. Robinson:

I want to thank the member for the question and for drawing my attention to this matter. I just became aware of this concern, and I will commit to getting more information and sharing the details with the member as soon as I have more information.

Mr. Speaker:

Saanich North and the Islands on a supplemental.

A. Olsen:

Taking a closer look at the farm — and I’ve had photos sent to me — it’s very clear. Where you get to the side of the field, it’s green, and then there’s just this massive dead field. It has very much all of the signs of a field that’s been sprayed with glyphosate. We know that there are an awful lot of challenges with it. There’s a lot of evidence of the harmful impacts.

Woodwynn was either organic or was on the way to becoming organic. The future of it was to achieve organic status. It runs next to ḰENNES, an important watershed within Saanich and Central Saanich.

I know that First Nations communities have got a huge interest in that land.

I recognize that the minister has just become aware of it, and I would just ask if the minister would also, in her response back to me, at some point, be able to acknowledge whether or not the local First Nations were also consulted on this.

Hon. S. Robinson:

As I said, I will get more details and certainly share them with the member.


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9 Comments

  1. Jarrett

    Hi Adam. I love your posts, read them all.
    Thank-you so much for your service, Jarrett

    Reply
  2. Michael

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/health-canada-herbicide-glyphosate-roundup-1.4975945

    Health Canada has approved glyphosate for agricultural use. It is routinely sprayed on millions of acres around the world every year, including thousands of acres right here on Vancouver Island. Please let Health Canada take care of the science and stay in your own lane. A better question would be, when does BC Housing intend to start programming and services at Woodwyn, what will they be, and how much will they cost taxpayers?

    Reply
  3. Michael

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/health-canada-herbicide-glyphosate-roundup-1.4975945

    Health Canada has approved glyphosate for agricultural use. It is routinely sprayed on millions of acres around the world every year, including thousands of acres right here on Vancouver Island. Please let Health Canada take care of the science and stay in your own lane. A better question would be, when does BC Housing intend to start programming and services at Woodwyn, what will they be, and how much will they cost taxpayers?

    Reply
    • Jan Steinman

      Health Canada is out-of-touch with the science.

      There is evidence that glyphosate increases the risk of cancer by 41%, as determined by the UN. A court has awarded a plaintiff $289,000,000, finding that glyphosate had caused his cancer, and Germany has banned the chemical.

      With Canada’s and US’s cozy relationship between government and industry, it is no surprise that Health Canada is on the side of industry. I would not take that as evidence that glyphosate is harmless. Too bad we can’t sell canola to Germany any more.

      Reply
    • Jan Steinman

      Yes, and the National Energy Board keeps saying pipelines are safe, too, yet every week there is news of another one leaking or bursting or spilling.

      If you believe everything the government tells you, great. But the scientific evidence is at odds with Health Canada on numerous things from glyphosate to fresh milk — along with the regulators in several other governments, including Germany.

      Reply
  4. John

    Actually RoundUp has been deemed carcinogenic by the World Health Organization. You can choose to trust Monsanto. I choose to be healthy and avoid chemicals when I can.

    Reply
  5. Sheila Hawkins

    just because it has been “deemed safe” does not mean it is safe. Many examples of this ( DDT, tobacco, asbestos, etc etc. ).
    Research as to effects of Roundup are sparse ( aside from industry-funded), but they evidence is accumulating that this chemical has wide-ranging toxic effects fo which we are just beginning to understand.
    e.g. see following article:
    https://mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/new-cause-concern-over-weedkiller-glyphosate-295385

    Reply

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