The Parti Quebecois wants to ban pesticides to protect bees

The Parti Québécois (PQ) is asking for help for Quebec beekeepers who are facing an unprecedented mortality rate of their bees this year.

The PQ is calling on both levels of government to immediately provide the $12 million in emergency aid requested by the Apiculteurs et des apicultrices du Québec (AADQ), which says it needs the money to fight parasites and other enemies of bees.

The PQ says Quebec must also ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and glyphosate, not only because of their impact on the decline of bee colonies but also because of their harmful effects on other aspects of our environment.

PQ MNA for Gaspé and agriculture and food critic Méganne Perry Mélançon said in an interview with The Canadian Press that it is imperative to protect bee colonies since the decline in the number of pollinators jeopardizes all agricultural production in the province.

Each year, beekeepers see an average of 20 to 35 per cent of their colonies die after winter, but this year the rate is as high as 60 per cent - a level the AADQ finds alarming.

Among the causes that explain this jump are climate change, the abusive use of pesticides and the arrival of a parasite particularly harmful to colonies, the varroa destructor.

The PQ believes that governments must act where they can now by releasing the funds requested by beekeepers and by banning harmful pesticides.

If elected, a PQ government would ban neonicotinoid pesticides and glyphosate within the first 100 days of its mandate, the party said.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 21, 2022.