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NDP GMO Bill passes vote


April 21, 2010
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

April 16, 2010, Ottawa,
Ont – A private members bill calling for an analysis of potential harm to
export markets prior to approving new genetically engineered seeds has passed
second reading in the House of Commons.



April 16, 2010, Ottawa,
Ont – A private members bill calling for an analysis of potential harm to
export markets prior to approving new genetically engineered seeds has passed
second reading in the House of Commons.

Bill C-474, proposed by
New Democrat Agriculture Critic Alex Atamanenko (BC-Southern Interior), will
move to committee for further study.

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“Despite intense
lobbying efforts by the biotech industry and the Conservative government to nip
this bill in the bud, the opposition parties voted instead to protect the
economic interests of farmers,” said Atamanenko. “I couldn’t be happier that
Parliament has made this historic decision.”

This is the first time a
bill to change the rules on GMOs has passed second reading in the House.

Atamanenko believes that
the government‘s science-only approach to how GMOs are regulated is
irresponsible because it completely ignores market considerations.

“It was the government’s
lax regulatory process that allowed GE Triffid flax to shut out Canadian flax
exports from its key markets that really hurt farmers,” explained Atamanenko.
“For the first time, Parliament has a chance to seriously consider a regulatory
mechanism that will ensure farmers are never again faced with rejection in our export
markets because we allow the introduction of GE technologies that they have not
approved.”

Not everyone is in
favour of the new bill. CropLife Canada recently released a press release
denouncing Bill C-474, describing it as “bad news” for farmers.

“Consumer friendly
products like heart-healthy oils and trans fat replacements are delivering real
benefits to Canadians. Under Bill C-474 it is possible that these benefits
would have been withheld from the public for completely ideological reasons,”
stated Lorne Hepworth, president of CropLife Canada. “Canada’s government has a
responsibility to provide strong, science-based regulations for plant science
technologies as well as a responsibility to give farmers and consumers the
freedom to access the best that innovation has to offer. Bill C-474 would stand
in the way of that and jeopardize Canada’s ability to take full advantage of
new and beneficial technologies.

“Canada should be
working hard to expand market access for our crops as we are doing now in
China, Japan, the United States and other countries, not looking at ways to
make it harder for Canada to benefit from innovation.”