Jeffrey Lowes, Director of Government Relations for M-REP Communications, claims to have launched a private prosecution against the Minister of the Environment, John Gerretsen personally, and five senior civil servants.
Mr. Lowes argues that Ontario’s ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides is not based on good science, and he has threatened several parties with litigation for supporting such a ban. Now, he alleges that the 2008 Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act and Ontario Regulations 63/09 breach the federal Pest Control Products Act (2002, c 28). His sworn Information allegedly states: “John Gerretsen, Dale Henry, Geoff Cutten, Wanda Michalowicz, Lorna Poff, Violet van Wassenaer on or about the 22 day of April, 2009 at the City of Kingston in the said Region East and elsewhere in the Province of Ontario did fail to exercise their assigned fiduciary responsibilities by not taking reasonable care to ensure that the Ministry of Environment complies with the Pest Control Products Act (2002, c28) and its regulations and did thereby commit an offence contrary to section 70 subsection 2 of the Pest Control Products Act.”
There have certainly been times when I have wished I could take the Minister or his staff to court, but this charge has no chance of success. Among other things, the Attorney General can stay any private prosecution; civil servants aren’t liable for public legislation; the government is not a corporation, and I think Mr. Lowes misunderstands s. 70 of the PCP Act. But it’s interesting that Mr. Lowes is still fighting the battle that the “lawn care” industry lost two years ago.