P.E.I. Green leader spreads illegal pesticide

Environment officials were absent Wednesday when P.E.I. Green Party Leader Sharon Labchuk spread an illegal pesticide on her lawn.

Sharon Labchuk wants to prove point about corn gluten use

Sharon Labchuk spreads the illegal pesticide corn gluten on her lawn. ((Maggie Brown/CBC))

Environment officials were absent Wednesday when P.E.I. Green Party Leader Sharon Labchuk spread an illegal pesticide on her lawn.

Labchuk invited officials from the Environment Department, and the media, to her house in Millvale.

"I informed them that today at 11 o'clock I intended to break the law, by spreading a product that was illegal under the Pesticide Control Act," said Labchuk.

The pesticide was corn gluten, which Labchuk describes as benign, but can be used to control weeds. She has the support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in that view.

"The substance is common in many food/feed products and in dietary supplements for humans and animals," the EPA's website notes.

"It provides a safer alternative to toxic chemicals commonly used for weed control on lawns."

Labchuk said corn gluten was one of a number of natural pesticides banned under the act.

"My objective here today was to be charged under the Pesticide Control Act, and bring this to court to challenge the law, and to hopefully have the law struck down," she said.

Labchuk said the Green Party will continue to push to get corn gluten and the other products it considers safe off the banned list.

Environment Minister Richard Brown had no comment on Labchuk's actions.