Is a Weak Law Better Than No Law At All?
In a move that stunned many activists, the city council of Calgary, Alberta, voted NOT to ban lawn and garden pesticides — thereby not joining much of the rest of the nation of Canada in banning products like weed ‘n feed and Roundup.
The councilors’ rationale is that the city wouldn’t have the resources to police the ban if it were enforced. So therefore the council did nothing.
Not that Calgary is any of my business, I guess, but I think the council misses the point here. The fact is that a law, any law, won’t stop EVERYONE from breaking that law, but it will stop most people. If a bylaw banning pesticides had been passed, it’s fair to say that pesticide use would have been reduced by, say, 98 percent.
In Hudson, Quebec, where the first-ever ban on pesticides was enacted in 1991, the town has never fined anyone for pesticide abuse. Everyone knows a few people in town who are breaking the law, but the residents generally take comfort in the fact that their town is virtually pesticide free.
Calgary’s action is akin to taking down speed limits — just because not everyone obeys them.
It was just a bad decision.