The Prince Edward Island government introduced legislation yesterday that would ban more than 240 cosmetic pesticides, and both parties in the house say they will allow a free vote on the bill.
If the legislation passes, a significant number of pesticides will be pulled off store shelves in P.E.I. starting April 1.
"This includes 240 chemicals. One of the big ones of course is 2,4-D. That has been on the table for decades," said Stratford-Kinlock MLA Cynthia Dunsford.
In an unusual move, Opposition leader Olive Crane said she will be allowing a free vote on the bill.
"This is a chance to really demonstrate to the public that we take our role in the legislature very seriously and we're going to have a free vote on this," Crane said .
Premier Robert Ghiz said he would open the vote for backbench Liberal MLAs as well, but he hoped they would support it.
Golf courses exempt
The government stopped short of proposing a complete ban. The controversial 2,4-D would still be allowed on golf courses, but Environment Minister Richard Brown says even that will eventually be phased out.
"We're allowing it on golf courses because it's a major industry for P.E.I. and we're working towards getting off it," Brown said. "What we're basically saying is you better find a way to get off it over the next couple of years."
The proposed legislation doesn't say how close a golf course can spray next to someone's residential property, but Brown said golf courses will have to present the department with a buffer-zone plan before being allowed to spray.