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

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read