From a report by blogger Karen Stephenson
Feb 10, 2011 — Bill C-474, a Private Member’s Bill introduced in November 2009 by Alex Atamenenko, NDP Agriculture Critic and MP for BC Southern Interior, called for an amendment to the federal Seeds Regulations Act to require “an analysis of potential harm to export markets” before federal permission for sale of any new GM (genetically modified) seed.
February 9, Atamenenko’s bill was voted down 178-98. All Conservative MPs voted against it, as did 40 of the 58 Liberals who voted.
In a Canadian Biotechnology Action Network press release, Maureen Bostock, who speaks for the National Farmers Union, stated, “It’s outrageous that instead of being at the vote in Ottawa, most Agriculture Committee members are actually in Guelph listening to the President of Monsanto Canada.”
Biotech industry tried to prevent debate
C-474 had gone further than any other Bill on genetic engineering, but last December the biotech industry attempted to prevent debate in the House of Commons; however, by an obscure parliamentary tactic the NDP secured a 5-hour debate that took place February 8. Such a debate on genetic engineering had never happened in the House of Commons before. Every MP who had concerns of their own or from their constituents presented them to the House.
Implications of C-474 defeat
Hamilton East MP Wayne Marston (NDP) asserted, “GM seeds will lead to economic disaster for our farmers.”
Jean Crowder, NDP MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, said, “GE will destroy our export market” because our export markets do not want crops grown from GM seeds, which are considered “contaminated.” Canada’s flax exports collapsed because of GM flax seeds.
Peter Julian, NDP MP for Burnaby-New Westminster stated that “the purity of our seeds is fundamentally important.” He called C-474 a “simple piece of legislation” and was disappointed that “not a single Conservative member has responded to their constituents … they are only listening to the biotechnology industry.”
MPs who spoke shared concerns that if C-474 did not pass, Canada’s wheat and alfalfa exports will collapse just like flax.
Terry Wilson, founder of the Canadian Awareness Network, wrote in his blog, “We are seeing how Canadian politics work very clearly here. The multi-national corporations getting their way, and the Canadian people getting shafted.”
GM seeds burned
Kevin Proteau, founder of Locals Supporting Locals stated in a telephone interview with the blog Suite101, “Many Canadians are aware of the dangers of GM seeds and recognize that countries worldwide want nothing to do with crops grown from these seeds.”
Natural News reported on July 19, 2010, six months after the devastating earthquake, that 10,000 Haitian farmers marched in protest against Monsanto and burned hybrid corn seed. “A 200,000-member national coalition is encouraging Haiti farmers to burn all Monsanto seeds already distributed, and has called on the government to reject additional shipments.”
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