One of the challenges for any government is what is referred to as “getting your message out”.
For example, with so many different media stories in circulation last week, the announcement regarding the potential ban of certain single use plastics may have been missed.
What was announced?
In summary, a list of plastic items that the government hopes to ban by the end of 2021.
What is on the current list?
The following plastic items:
As is often the case with most government announcements, concerns have already been raised.
In order to legally facilitate this ban, the government has suggested it will add these plastics to the “toxic substances list” that exists under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
Unfortunately, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada has pointed out that these types of plastics are not toxically harmful in the same manner that substances such as mercury, asbestos and lead are.
This creates a challenge for the government with the classification.
Another concern that has been raised stems from trade related issues.
An outright ban on these plastics may contradict principles of the recently renegotiated NAFTA deal, now frequently referred to as the CUSMA (Canada United States Mexico Agreement).
There is some debate on the legitimacy of these trade related concerns, however it is clear that some consultation will be required.
The broader level of concern being heard more from a local level is understandably from the food and beverage industries and more so given that there is currently a pandemic and we are currently witnessing a greater public safety related reliance on single use plastics compared to more normal times.
It has also been communicated to me that, during a crisis, single use plastic may be necessary in a range of areas, from seniors care homes to helping to feed wildfire firefighters and other emergency responders.
It is critically important that alternatives to single use plastics are readily and affordably available considering there will be a significant uptake in demand.
As many of these alternatives will likely be made from wood or cardboard, I see a long-term economic benefit to parts of my riding, and to British Columbia in general, given that our forest industry could play an active role in this.
Consultation will be important, as will a timeline that respects the pandemic and the ability for alternative products to become readily available.
My question this week:
What are your thoughts on this proposed ban of single use plastics?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.