Last updated February 25, 2014
Important. Act Now!
After this, you won't see this annoying page
Deadline for comment is May 10th
Have you already commented?  If so, then continue to the Diary
(Ooops!  This link has been pointing to an April page, not the May page -- Sorry.)

The NFU made public comments May 4th.  How valid are their points?. 
Let's examine them.

Whether you are a beekeeper in Canada or the in the U.S.A., your comments are needed to end the protectionist exclusion of U.S.A. mainland queens from all of Canada.

An emotional, politically-connected group of beekeepers have been using unsubstantiated, unscientific, irrational alarmist arguments to deny essential supplies of queens and package bees, not only to their own region, but also to all of Canada.  Assuming they are convinced of their own arguments, they are free to legislate in their own provinces, where they can find support, but they will not do so. They wish to control all of Canada, most of which has indicated a desire to import U.S. queens.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is now aware of the questionable legality and the inappropriateness of this prohibition, and the speciousness of the arguments for prolonging it, and has published an intention to change the regulations (regarding queens only) in the Canada Gazette.  Nonetheless, the battle for justice is not over.  Although this group is small, they are influential, and tireless.  It is time for those who oppose them to write and phone, and to match them in lobbying efforts -- or lose the opportunity.

If continuation of the border closure were put to a vote, and if every beekeeper participated, I am sure that the idea would be defeated by 80 votes against to every 20 in favour, but unfortunately the majority of beekeepers do not participate in the politics, and the discussion thus far has been dominated by a small minority.

Don't let a minority of vocal and provincial-minded beekeepers have their way.  Please, for the sake of the Canadian industry, take a minute to write to CFIA, your member of parliament and your MLA to call for an end to this embargo.  If you are in the U.S.A, please write or call both the CFIA and your congressman.  Even a few well-chosen words count.

Do something now.  Pick up your phone and call (613) 225-2342, extension 4005 or write a letter and fax it to (613) 228-6630.  Don't worry about spelling or grammar.  Say what you think, the best you can. Be sure to mention Canada Gazette, Part I, Vol. 138, No. 15 April 10, 2004.

If you need inspiration, here's my letter to CFIA regarding the long overdue proposal to permit importation of mainland queens, and here's a form letter in your choice of PDF (better for printing) or html which you can use if you are not inspired or confident in your writing skills.

If you are not sure, or if you believe any of their malarkey, please take some time and check out the references, particularly Bill Wilson and Eric Mussen's comments.

The hypocrisy of continued border closure is damaging Canada's reputation and Canada's bee industry.  Whatever you do, do not delay.  Write or phone NOW.  Contact:

Dr. Samira Belaissaoui, Animal Health and Production Division,
Canadian Food Inspection Agency,
59 Camelot Drive,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Y9
tel.: (613) 225-2342, extension 4005
fax: (613) 228-6630

Or call the above number and/or your legislative representative


Be sure to mention:

Canada Gazette, Part I, Vol. 138, No. 15 April 10, 2004.

Honeybee Importation Prohibition Regulations, 2004



As for me, personally, I used to believe that the border closure might be beneficial to the industry as a whole.  I could see that some individuals clearly were benefiting, but also that many good beekeepers had left the industry when bees became expensive and hard to find, but I did not know what to think.

After a while, I began to wonder, though, and after spending a great deal of time studying, consulting, managing mites in my own 4,000 hive outfit -- and personally examining and working with bees at numerous locations in the U.S. A. -- I can see that any benefits of restricting trade are of limited value and that the costs to all of us are much higher than any value received.

Also, I can see that most of the arguments in favour of continued border closure are -- at best -- simply ignorant speculation and, at worst, are deliberate lies and fear mongering designed to deceive and manipulate the anxieties of uninformed but well-meaning people.

  • Doesn't it seem curious that each of the threats that has come along and been used to scare us into accepting a closed border and making us pay double for imported stock and to restrict our choices has turned out to be readily manageable, and with little cost?

  • Does it not seem odd that one of the approved countries -- New Zealand -- was sending varroa into Canada for a year or more before anyone figured it out -- and yet, NZ was permitted to keep shipping -- although varroa was still the big reason we excluded US bees (after tracheal mites -- the original excuse -- were proven manageable)?

  • Does it not seem odd that Australia found that it has Small Hive Beetle (SHB), and can still continue to ship to Canada from regions close to the infestation -- and SHB is another excuse used to bar US shipments?

  • Does it not seem odd that virtually all the international experts on Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) say that AHB is not a candidate to become established in Canada, or a threat to Canadian populations, yet AHB is used as a bogeyman?

  • Does it not seem odd that Ontario beekeepers claim to be worried about dilution of their locally developed stock (and good stock it is too) by imports of US bees, yet do not seem to be concerned about the ongoing dilution by New Zealand, Australian, and Hawaiian stock that is imported annually?

Have you already commented?  If so, then continue to the Diary