Glyphosate meeting leaves questions unanswered

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Upwards of 150 people attended an open house in Petitcodiac last night (Wednesday, Sept. 6) to get answers about the use of glyphosate-based herbicides in the region.

The open house was organized by J.D. Irving Ltd after a meeting scheduled in August between the forestry company and village council was cancelled by Mayor Jerry Gogan, who said at the time that he wanted J.D. Irving scientists on hand to answer questions from council and the public.

As the CBC reports, that didn’t really happen this time around, either.

While J.D. Irving did have some of its scientists at the meeting — including forest managers, a human toxicologist, and an aquatic toxicologist — the company’s representatives declined to answer questions in an open mic, Q&A format, instead opting for an open house format with one-on-one discussions between its staff, village officials and members of the public.

The CBC reports that “dozens of people complained that in their quest for answers to particular questions, they were directed elsewhere in the room, only to have their questions redirected once again.”

With so many people in the room seeking answers, many complained it was difficult to carry a conversation given the size and din of the crowd.

“Nobody seems to be getting their answers,” Mayor Gogan told CBC.

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When attendees asked for the format of the three-hour meeting to be changed, Gogan said that he raised it with J.D. Irving representatives but was told “some of them aren’t comfortable with presenting in a question-answer session because they are prepared for this type of format. They are not prepared for a question and answer format.”

Several village councillors, members of the Conservation Council, and concerned citizens from the region and the Stop Spraying New Brunswick group were at the meeting.

Despite frustrations with the format, Teri McMackin, a member of our board of directors, said the meeting wasn’t a waste of time. “It was not ideal, but I believe it was effective in sending the message loud and clear: there is no social licence for this activity,” McMackin said.

A J.D. Irving representative told the CBC that if another meeting was scheduled with a Q&A format, that the company would be “open to participating.”

Stay posted to this space for more on this story as it develops.

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