Keeping House: UBCM makes key resolution on GMOs

Part 1 of 2: Alex Atamanenko shares information on GMOs and why the UBCM resolution is important.

I was pleased to see the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) pass a motion to make BC a GE free area in respect to all plant and animal species.  This is an important statement, especially in light of the pending commercial release of GE (Roundup Ready) alfalfa and the trademark GE Arctic Apple.

Our BC municipalities have been quite progressive on this important issue.  In 1999 the UBCM resolved to petition the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of British Columbia, and their respective Ministers’ of Agriculture to take immediate and decisive action to halt the growing monopolization of our food production industry and the introduction of “terminator seed” which could spread plant sterility among all seeding plants, potentially creating a global catastrophe; and that the UBCM urge the government of Canada and of BC to act immediately to prevent any Canadian corporation from patenting, and thus controlling and monopolizing, any seed stock of any variety in Canada and elsewhere in the world.

Resolutions in 2006 and 2009 saw the UBCM request that the federal government label GE organisms. A 2012 motion was passed to ask that the BC government legislate the prohibition of importing, exporting and the domestic production of fruit and plant material containing GE DNA constructs and to declare BC as a GE Free province in respect to all tree fruit products.

Some may question why UBCM delegates would pass this type of resolution at their Convention.  Part of this is in response to the fact that 14 BC communities have now passed individual resolutions declaring themselves a GE Free zone including our communities of Nelson, Rossland, Kaslo and New Denver. Furthermore 10 Official Community Plans of Regional Districts have come out against GE crops.

Currently, there are only 4 GE crops grown in Canada: corn, soya, canola and sugar beet.  Approval has been given by the federal government for GE alfalfa.  Alfalfa is used as pasture and hay for animal feed as well as for nitrogen fixation in the soil and is also manufactured into pellets for export.  It is a vital crop in organic farming. Forage Genetics International is waiting to begin selling GE alfalfa seeds in Canada pending approval of a so-called “co-existence plan”. The US government deregulated GE Alfalfa in 2011 and the USDA is finding its adventitious presence in a growing number of sites they have tested, making it clear that co-existence is nothing more than an absurd industry talking point. Any release of GE alfalfa in Canada can only be viewed as a willful attack on non-gmo and organic farmers.

Recently a farmer in Washington State had his export shipment rejected because of the presence of GE alfalfa.  In 2009 Canadian farmers were hit hard when flax shipments were rejected by EU markets due to its contamination with GE flax.  There is a strong economic argument against allowing GE alfalfa or the non-browning GE arctic apple into BC – once crops are contaminated by GE traits, both conventional and organic farmers lose money.  It is that simple.

GE Free BC and Greenpeace Vancouver are sponsoring a fall and winter tour to spread awareness, educate, and share concerns about genetically engineered foods.  The speaker’s tour, Genetically Engineered Foods and Human Health, will feature Dr. Thiery Vrain, retired Ag Canada genetic engineer and Dr. Shiv Chopra, ex-scientist for Health Canada and tireless defender of the world’s food supply.

We are fortunate that the tour is coming to Osoyoos – Nov. 26, 7 p.m. at the Watermark Beach Hotel, to Grand Forks – Dec. 5,  at 7 p.m. at the Seniors Centre (City Park) and to Kaslo – December 14, at 6 p.m. at St. Andrews Heritage Hall.

I hope that constituents will be able to attend one of these important events.

(In part 2, I will cover GMOs in more in detail and include more reasons why we should be putting a stop to this “madness”.)

Alex Atamanenko, MP

BC Southern Interior

Just Posted

UPDATE: Accident closes Hwy 22 near Castlegar

Highway not expected to reopen until Sunday.

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Métis Flag flies in Trail on Louis Riel Day

Area students, officials and public attend flag raising at Trail City Hall

Early Trail borrowed a couple of names from the U.S.

Place Names: Connection between Trail and Butte, Montana

First Past the Post is the only option

Letter to the Editor by Dieter Bogs of Trail

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read