Sep 01 2010

Food or Research – what's your priority?

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To: Colin Mayes
Re: Please Support Bill C-474, Support Canada’s Farmers
Date: Wednesday 01 September 2010

Dear Colin Mayes, MP
I am writing to ask you to vote in support of Private Members Bill C-474 in order to protect Canada’s family farms.

Bill C-474 would support Canadian farmers by requiring that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.”

This Bill is important because the introduction of new genetically engineered (GE) crops can cause economic hardship to farmers.

On June 7, the House of Commons Agriculture Committee heard a clear message in support of Bill C-474 from alfalfa growers represented by the Manitoba Forage Seed Association and Manitoba Forage Seed Council as well as the president of a forage seed company. Kevin Einarson from the Manitoba Forage Seed Association told the Committee, “Bill C-474 is the first step in offering some protection in the future for Canadian family farms. Market acceptance must be made a part of the evaluation process.”

All three of the witnesses stated their opposition to the introduction of GE alfalfa because it is unnecessary and would ruin their markets. The issue is also highly controversial in the U.S. where the Supreme Court ruled on July 21st that it is still illegal to plant GE alfalfa in that country, until the USDA finishes its environmental review.

Farmers are at risk when GE crops are commercialized in Canada without also being approved in our major  export markets. For example, flax farmers in Canada are paying the price for unwanted GE contamination that damaged their export markets. Flax farmers, like alfalfa growers, foresaw that GE contamination would close their export markets. This is why they took steps in 2001 to remove GE flax from the market. Despite this measure, farmers were not protected.

It’s the government’s responsibility to protect Canadian farmers from predictable problems caused by the  introduction of new GE crops that have not yet been regulated in our export markets. Bill C-474 would help our government meet this responsibility.  Colin Mayes, please examine the important testimony from alfalfa growers to the Agriculture Committee. Please vote for Bill C-474 this fall to make sure that alfalfa growers and other farmers do not face the same market harm caused by GE contamination that continues to hurt our flax farmers.

Yours Sincerely,

Priscilla Judd




Ms. Judd,

Thanks for the email.

The reason our Government opposed this bill is that it would have required the Minister of Agriculture to create regulations which would impose an economic analysis on the creation of genetically engineered crops in Canada.

This bill had the further potential to put a chill on research and development in Canada’s agricultural sector.

MP Colin Mayes

1 comment

  1. pj

    Well, at least Mr Mayes MP is honest! He says that an economic analysis would be expensive.

    Since an economic analysis might put a chill on research and development – that means potential liability to the GE seed producers. Apparently, externalities of GE seed production have not been accounted for in the government approval of GE seeds (liability for polluting Organic crops).

    This appears to confirm my allegation in the above letter that growers are at financial a risk of Genetically Engineered Seeds (and likely GMO and other GE products)


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