by Larry Powell
Manitoba's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Ron Kostychyn, (r.) is a liar.
Way back in September of 2012 (over 1 1/2 years ago), Kostyshyn promised me he would read a peer-reviewed article I had written. Entitled "Field of Nightmares." It appeared in the well-respected Canadian journal "Alternatives - Canada's Environmental Voice." It documented much of the research which has been done, linking the popular herbicide "Roundup" to adverse effects on the health of livestock, wildlife, crops and even humans. It also placed the official position of the Government of Canada on the record, which was, it was "aware of the research, but, it did not raise immediate risk concerns that would have triggered regulatory action.”
So my story concluded that Ottawa must be letting corporate seduction trump the scientific evidence.
Since Roundup is used in oceanic amounts on crops everywhere, including Manitoba, I was naturally curious. Was Mr. Kostyshyn aware of the evidence? If not, why not?
If so, is his inaction due to the fact he simply does not believe the science? If he does why isn't he doing something? It's not as if he were powerless. The Government of Manitoba regulates the sale, use, transportation, storage and disposal of pesticides.
So I emailed him a link to my story, asking him why nothing is being done.
When I had a chance to interview him later, in person, he said he had been busy and had not seen my email. So I made him promise (on tape) to read my article and get back to me. He said he would!
Following more weeks of silence, I tried to reach him by 'phone, but was kept from talking to him by a staffer in his office, who gave me a lecture for not following proper protocol for interviewing a Minister.
As a result, after all this time, I still haven't heard from him and feel fully justified in now declaring him a liar.
For the record, I don't give a damn that it was my byline on the story in question. That's not the point. The story was important because, of the thousands that had been written about Roundup, it was the only one I've seen that summed up in one place the points I have outlined above.
By refusing to answer my questions, Mr. Kostyshyn clearly feels no obligation to be either accountable or transparent to the people of this province. Meanwhile, both Manitoba and Ottawa continue to embrace prodigious Roundup application without bothering to explain why.
What are we to conclude when a Minister of the Crown so flatly refuses to engage in the least bit of intellectual discussion that might shed some light on where he is coming from? Might we conclude that there is collusion of some sort between our elected officials and the huge, rich, ruthless, powerful and unelected Agribusiness corporations who manufacture these products?
I am not saying there is.
What I am saying is, Mr. Minister, if this is not the reason, what the Hell is?