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World bee day: Canadian bees seek political asylum in Europe

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Spring has sprung, along with the first delectable flowers of the season.

As proud Canadian bees, we are getting busy with the job at wing: gathering nectar and pollinating plant species.

But for years now, our frenzied dance has brought us into contact with the poisons that you humans use to coat your seeds or spray your fields. The name of this poison is neonicotinoids, but we busy bees have a hard time making out that word over the drone of the hive, so we have a buzz word for it: neonics.

Every year we lose millions of our colleagues to these substances, which according to scientists, aren’t even necessary for your farming. If you weigh the pros and cons of these pesticides in relation to the fruit of our labour from coast to coast, it’s not even close: 70% of cultivated plant species depend on us, as do many fruits and vegetables, honey, wine and numerous other yummy foods.

We’ve done all we can to warn your leaders, but to little avail. Our protectors – the beekeepers, with whom we produce the honey you love so much, our environmentalist friends and a host of scientists – have brought the message forward for us: ban these harmful neonics at once to ensure our survival, safeguard our biodiversity and protect your food supply.

Human friends, wake up! As for you, Honourable Minister of Health, and your colleagues in Ottawa: why is it taking you so long to do the right thing for the future and at long last ban the use of these substances? What’s with the bee in your bonnet? (He’s not one of ours; we checked).

Fortunately, our European cousins have convinced their union of 27 countries to ban neonics, effective this year. While we love our Canadian homeland, we don’t think that it’s fair that the simple act of gathering nectar should sign our death warrant.
That’s why we’ve decided to apply for political asylum with the European High Commission for Bees’ Rights. It stings – yes, stings – to have to ready ourselves for this forced migration, but what else can we do?

We call on you to stand shoulder to wing with us by ​signing the petition​ prepared by our friends at Équiterre so that our appeal to the Canadian authorities is heard. It will be only once neonics are banned that we’ll be able to remain in the best and most beautiful country in the world, free to buzz around for the benefit of all.

National Federation of Canadian Bees