Council rejects honey bee day, cites too many proclamations

Campbell River city council won’t give the honey bee its day

City council won’t give the honey bee its day.

Clinton Shane Ekdahl, founder of Day of the Honey Bee, wrote a letter to Campbell River council asking the city to join 328 other local governments as well as the B.C, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan provincial governments in proclaiming May 29 honey bee day.

Coun. Ron Kerr presented council with a draft proclamation and asked council to endorse it, but councillors refused.

Coun. Claire Moglove said council needs to be selective in its proclamations otherwise they lose their value.

“I don’t have anything against the honey bee, I’m sure they do a lot of good, however, I’m concerned that we’re proclaiming days for this, that, and the other thing and it diminishes, in my opinion, the significance of these proclamations,” Moglove said. “I think it’s important that we not make these proclamations just because. I think we need to take them seriously.”

Kerr argued the honey bee proclamation was of the “utmost importance.”

Kerr, in his draft proclamation, noted that “honey bees are responsible for a third of the food we eat because they are responsible for 70 per cent of our food crop pollination.”

Ekdahl, who is from Saskatoon, Sask., wrote that honey bees are also critical in dairy, beef and pork production, which is what makes the recent decline of the honey bee all the more alarming.

“In 2013 the national average of honey bee deaths was 28.6 per cent,” Ekdahl wrote. “This same 2013 report confirms that one Canadian province lost almost half of its bees and no province was shown to have a sustainable loss of 15 per cent or lower. The national loss of honey bees is twice what is considered sustainable.”

Ekdahl said while there are many explanations offered for this decline, the most glaring is the irresponsible use of pesticides. Ekdahl’s goal with dedicating one day to the honey bee is to educate people on the loss of the honey bee and how people can change their habits to reverse the trend.

Coun. Andy Adams said while he is aware of the issue, he believes it’s a matter best dealt with by senior governments.

Adams noted that Ekdahl, in his letter, wrote that the B.C. government has already declared May 29 as Day of the Honey Bee and several municipalities have called on the federal government to declare a national honey bee day in Canada.

“I think it’s well taken care of,” Adams said.

Mayor Walter Jakeway agreed with Moglove that the volume of proclamations is getting out of hand but at the same time acknowledged it may be worthwhile to focus some attention towards bees in another way.

“I think we’re getting too many proclamations,” Jakeway said. “My father was a beekeeper so I understand the bee situation quite well. I think we should maybe highlight the importance of bees. I don’t know if a proclamation’s going to do that.”