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MPs question Government on microbead ban

June 9, 2015

House of Commons Debates, 41st Parl, 2nd Sess, No 227 (9 June 2015) at 14814.



  • Mr. Speaker, 16 communities along the St. Lawrence River are taking action to ban microbeads.

    Found in a variety of cosmetics and toothpastes, these plastic microparticles are contaminating the St. Lawrence River. The NDP has shown leadership on the issue by successfully seeking unanimous consent of the House to have microbeads placed on Canada’s list of toxic substances. However, we have heard nothing since then.

    What are the Conservatives waiting for before they act on our motion and protect our environment?

    [English]

  • Mr. Speaker, Environment Canada has initiated a scientific review to assess the effect of microbeads on the environment. This review builds on the work we have done to reduce the risk of harmful chemicals.

    Since 2006, we have taken action on more than 2,700 substances under the chemicals management plan, and we are on track to assess 4,300 substances by 2020. We are also putting the issue of microbeads on the agenda of this summer’s meetings of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

    [Translation]

    Hon. Leona Aglukkaq

    Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC

  • Mr. Speaker, Montreal is one of the 16 communities along the St. Lawrence standing together to ban microbeads. However, it is up to the federal government to approve personal care products. The minister has yet to act on the NDP motion passed in the House to ban microbeads from these products.

    Given the urgent need to act, when will the government take action and protect our waterways by banning microbeads?

    [English]

    Ms. Hélène LeBlanc

    LaSalle—Émard, NDP

  • Mr. Speaker, as I stated, Environment Canada has initiated a scientific review to assess the effects of microbeads on the environment. Scientists are reviewing the issue of microbeads. This review builds on the work that we have done on the risk of harmful chemicals in our environment. We will also be including the microbead issue on the agenda this month in Manitoba’s meetings of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. Now that is action.

    Hon. Leona Aglukkaq

    Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC

  • Mr. Speaker, the scientific evidence is confirmed. That is why on March 24 the House voted unanimously for the government to take immediate measures to address the environmental menace of microbeads. Since then, no measures have been taken. That is hardly immediate.

    The good news is that my private member bill, Bill C-684, has the solution, which is to simply ban the manufacture or importation into Canada of any personal care product containing microbeads.

    Would the Minister of Environment do the right thing and ban microbeads, as my bill prescribes, before the end of this parliamentary session?

    Mr. Massimo Pacetti

    Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, Ind.

  • Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, Environment Canada has initiated a scientific review to assess the effects of microbeads to the environment. That review builds on the work that we have done to reduce the risk of harmful chemicals.

    This issue will also be included at the meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment later this month in Manitoba. I look forward to working with my colleagues at the federal-provincial-territorial level to address this issue.

    Hon. Leona Aglukkaq

    Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC

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