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#SaveTheBees campaign still buzzing away

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First, I want to thank you for signing our petition to #SaveTheBees. Over 4400 Canadians signed the petition, so know you are not alone in your concern. Please also know we are doing everything we can to raise public awareness -- we won't stop until we win a ban on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

There is a lot to report as much has happened since Sierra Club Canada called for a ban in May.

The latest news flash is we've gone to court! On September 19, Sierra Club Canada and others filed an objection to PMRA's decision to re-license Clothianidin -- a neonicotinoid pesticide made by Bayer. We're using a complex legal action in the hope we can force a reversal of the decision.

Here's what happened over the summer: in July, the Ontario Premier convened a "Bee Health Working Group" to give her recommendations for action to protect bees and other pollinating insects. However, within days of the first meeting, beekeepers in Ontario began reporting bee deaths.

In early August, David Schuit of Elmwood Ontario lost several million bees and Ontario beekeeper Jim Coneybeare was forced to truck his hives several hours north to "bear country" just so they could forage away from neonicotinoid pesticides.

You'll remember that back in the spring, Health Canada's "Pest Management Regulation Agency" (PMRA) concluded neonicotinoids only present a problem "during spring planting" and went ahead on July 13 to quietly re-license Clothianidin (a neonicotinoid manufactured by Bayer) despite demands from beekeepers and Sierra Club Canada to ban bee-killing pesticides (we even sent the Health and Agriculture Ministers 20 scientific studies linking neonicotinoid pesticides with bee deaths).

As we've just witnessed more bee carnage in August, that logic obviously doesn't hold up anymore. Perhaps that's why on September 12th PMRA quietly posted a release with this startling statement:

"Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has determined that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are affecting the environment due to their impacts on bees and other pollinators. This notice outlines our intended actions and provides interested parties an opportunity to comment."

Apparently, the PMRA has been shaken. This has been the most dramatic development in the bee campaign.

The Club also commissioned a film by beekeeper and animator Nathan Carey and has begun a series of showings of "The Vanishing of the Bees" (narrated by Ellen Page). If you would like to organize a showing in your community, click here to send me an email.

Sierra Club Canada worked tirelessly through the summer with allies to build a broad coalition to #SaveTheBees, which includes the Ontario Beekeepers Association, National Farmers Union, Ontario United Church of Canada, Practical Farmers of Ontario, Organic Council of Ontario, Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, Master Gardeners Ontario, Canadian Organic Growers and Farms At Work.

In summary, you could say we have been "Busy as a Bee".

Next Steps

Now I want to ask you to join Sierra Club Canada in taking the next step to convince government to ban bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

You may remember that back in 2012 Environment Canada invited comment on a proposal to kill wolves as part of a so-called "plan" to protect Caribou. More than 20,000 comments (many of them yours) forced the government to back-track. Let's do it again -- for the bees this time!

Since PMRA has invited us to comment on the use of neonicotinoids, let's let them know what we think! We have made it easy -- just click here, fill in the form and click "send." For everything you need (scientific studies, media releases, etc.) visit our #SaveTheBees webpage.

Please note: Be sure to include your full mail address in the body of your submission or the PMRA will invalidate your submission.


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