In a vote held on May 5, Canadian parliament defeated Bill C-517, the private member's bill tabled by MP Gilles-A. Perron in April, calling on implementation of mandatory labelling of GMO food.
During Monday's second debate (full text here, several Members of Parliament talked about food safety, precautionary measures and, of course, democracy. Said Perron, in closing, "when 83% of people are in favour, what should we do? We should listen to our constituents and say yes to mandatory labelling for genetically modified foods."
But this dedication to that good, old-fashioned democratic spirit was not enough to trump those against, some of whom toted corporate interest and misinformation in their arguments. MP Wayne Easter from Prince Edward Island stated that genetic modification "happens in … natural breeding" before turning to complaints issued by several organizations. These included the Canadian Seed Trade Association, which counts representatives from Monsanto and Bayer Crop Science among their directors, CropLife Canada, a subsidiary of CropLife International, which is a federation of major players in the plant science industry, including Monsanto, CropScience and Dupont, and Food and Consumer Products of Canada, an association representing the food and consumer products industry, including, yep, Monsanto and Dow Agrosciences.In a letter, quoted by Easter, Maple Leaf Foods (which uses GMOs) and others stated: "this bill will impose hundreds of millions of dollars of unnecessary cost to the agri-food industry without providing any benefit to Canadian consumers."
It seems that in the Canadian House of Commons, the benefits that count are those reaped by multinational corporations.
For the rest of us, however, there is a path around the steadily increasing takeover of our food system. Beyond buying your produce from farmers' markets, you can also check out the info found in our recent interview on The Celsias Show. In the interview, Jeffrey Smith, head of the Institute for Responsible Technology and author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, gives plenty of encouraging info on his fantastic work, and what you can do to not only protect yourself and your family, but also contribute to the growing movement against the genetic tampering of our food. Amongst other things, sign up to Jeffrey's Newsletter, browse their 'Take Action' section, and be sure to download and distribute their new GMO Defensive Shopping List (PDF). Greenpeace also has an excellent guide, specifically for Canadian residents.
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- Open Letter to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown: “GM crops will not feed the world”
- The World According to Monsanto
- A Backgrounder on the Food Crisis: Misery is Profitable
- The Global Spread of GMO Crops
- The Food Revolution - Genetic Engineering, Part I
- GM Crops, Pesticides, and the Poor
- Carbon Credits Used to Fund GMOs?
- Open Letter to Hillary Clinton From a Wellesley College Alumna
- The Health Dangers of Genetically Modified Foods
- Pay Monsanto, or Starve