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Thou Shalt Not Name the Irvings

J.D. Irving slams public broadcaster for inclusion in medical officer leave story - Interview

by Miles Howe

Thou Shalt Not Name the Irvings

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) -- A recent story by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reporter Jacques Poitras, has New Brunswick-based J.D. Irving Limited upset. The story in question, published on December 3rd, breaks the news that Dr. Eilish Cleary, the province's chief medical officer, has been put on leave by the New Brunswick government. In the story, Poitras only mentions the Irving name once, and then only in passing.

According to the story, no one appears quite sure why Dr. Cleary has been put on leave, least of all Dr. Cleary herself. Poitras does, however, draw the link between the doctor's upcoming study on the potential health impact of glyphosate applications and her untimely, enforced, leave of absence.

It is here, in being named in the article as a company that does apply glyphosate on its Crown Land tree plantations, that J.D Irving Limited appears to take exception. To be sure, J.D. Irving does apply glyphosate on its tree plantations. But, then again, so do numerous other companies in New Brunswick. And while forestry related applications of glyphosate have recently been attributed to the province's falling white tailed deer populations, it isn't clear how big a player J.D Irving actually is in the world of New Brunswick glyphosate, especially when one takes into account the potential of agricultural applications as well.

So then, is there an inference in the Poitras piece, in naming the Irving empire, that J.D. Irving Limited might have had something to do with pressuring the provincial government to send Dr. Cleary on leave, especially when she was about to start work on glyphosate? Hundreds of commentators on the CBC piece seem to think so. But Mary Keith, spokesperson for J.D. Irving, thinks Poitras led them down the path to that conclusion by citing her company.

J.D. Irving is demanding a retraction of the article, as well as an apology from the CBC itself.

In the following interview, we speak with J.D Irving spokesperson Mary Keith. Enjoy.

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