|Congratulations! In one of our decisive and stunning victories, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld Hudson's by-law 207, which bans pesticide use on public and private property for cosmetic (purely aesthetic) purposes. Campaigns across the country can rejoice! This is a clear case where national/grassroots collaboration has met with unbelievable success. Why are we celebrating?
First some background. In May 1991, Hudson passed a by-law banning the cosmetic use of pesticides within the town's limits, in an effort to protect the health of Hudson residents. Two lawn pesticide companies, Chemlawn and Spraytech, were caught spraying pesticides anyhow, and were charged (the maximum fine was $300). Outraged, the pesticide companies challenged the municipality's authority "to forbid an activity legally authorized by a federal or provincial law." The Quebec court ruled in favour of Hudson.
The companies then appealed to the Quebec Superior Court. The Superior Court supported the earlier decision. Unwilling to let the matter die, the companies, undoubtedly backed by larger chemical manufacturing and distributing interests, pushed the case to the Supreme Court, which granted leave to appeal in November 1999. The case was heard on December 7, 2000.
Their challenge was dismissed, with costs, by the Supreme Court of Canada on June 28th, 2001.
The Sierra Club of Canada, along with other public interest groups, was granted intervener status in the Supreme Court case. This decision goes farther than simply upholding Hudson's bylaws, however. It points out that the relevant pieces of legislation in other provinces have wording that is comparable, with the implication that correctly-worded bylaws enjoy the same interpretation. In addition, while upholding the right of municipalities to protect the health of their residents against environmental threats, there is no explicit mention of pesticides, which opens up the potential for bylaws prohibiting or restricting other activities or substances (MOX plutonium shipments, gmo's, dioxin?) in communities.
We've drafted regionally specific bylaws that activists can take to their local councils to ban or restrict pesticides. If you would like a copy of a bylaw that you can use in your community, check out the links on this page.
You can also contact us for more information, or for one of our lawn signs. Better yet, start your own campaign. For $25, you can get a copy of "Pesticide by-laws, Why you need them, how to get one", and other campaign information and support, including videos, fact sheets, and sympathetic real live people.
Call SCC at 1-800-810-4204, or save us money and email us at email@example.com.
To contact us:
Phone: (613) 241-4611
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