MP Gerry Ritz responds to my email!

June 22, 2010

April: Canadian CP MP Gerry Ritz responded to my email to our Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. Apparently, she forwarded it to him. Funny how my emails get circulated so quickly. I’m posting this as I am an advocate of transparency and the truth. I’m just glad he knows who I am.

Quote: 147942

Ms. April Reeves

Director, GE Free BC

Dear Ms. Reeves:

I am writing in response to your email to the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, regarding the labelling of biotechnology-derived foods. I appreciate being made aware of your further views.

As I indicated in my reply to you of February 19, 2010, Canada has one of the most stringent and rigorous regulatory systems in the world. This extends to crops or foods that are modified or contain genetic modification—all of which must undergo a comprehensive science-based approval process involving both Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Canada’s regulatory system for products of agricultural biotechnology is designed so that every possible precaution is taken. The safety of new products is carefully and cautiously assessed before they can be cultivated by a grower, used in livestock feed or made available to the consumer.

Agricultural products of biotechnology require three separate safety assessments and authorizations prior to commercial use. The CFIA assesses the safety of the end product for release into the environment and for use as a livestock feed, while Health Canada assesses the safety for use as food and its effect on human health.

Over the past number of years, Canada and several other countries have carefully considered the topic of mandatory labelling for products of biotechnology. While broad mandatory labelling policies may be in place in other countries, it should be noted that there are issues regarding the practicality and enforceability of these requirements and the number of claims that may actually appear on food.

I support the principle of providing consumers with credible, useful and clear information about the foods they buy. Recognizing that consumers wanted more information regarding the application of specific techniques of genetic engineering, federal departments and agencies (including the CFIA and Health Canada), along with consumer groups, food manufacturers, grocery distributors, provincial representatives and farm organizations, participated in the development of the National Standard for the Voluntary Labelling and Advertising of Foods That Are and Are Not Products of Genetic Engineering. This standard can be viewed at <> .

It is important to note that Health Canada could require mandatory labelling for foods, including those derived through biotechnology, where there are health or safety concerns that could be mitigated through labelling, or to highlight a significant nutritional or compositional change.

A list of novel foods that have been assessed for safety and approved in Canada can be found on the Health Canada website at <> . For further information about how the Government regulates products of agricultural biotechnology and how the CFIA assesses these products for safety, please visit the CFIA’s website at <> .

The CFIA has three main priorities regarding the commercialization of new crops: to contribute to a safe food supply for Canadian consumers, to determine whether new products pose an environmental risk, and to ensure that varietal identity and, where applicable, agronomic, disease and end-use quality requirements for the various crop kinds are met. As part of the environmental safety review, the potential for cross-pollination with traditional crops is assessed, as is the potential environmental impact of cross-pollination, should it occur.

As noted previously, Canadian laws require that genetically modified crops undergo safety assessments and be authorized before they can be cultivated, used as food, or used as livestock feed. When needed, specific conditions that support the responsible and sustainable long-term use of a genetically modified crop are applied at the time of its authorization for cultivation.

The CFIA is responsible for regulating the environmental release of biotechnology-derived plants, which must undergo thorough safety assessments before they can be commercialized in Canada. These safety assessments consider the following five criteria: the potential of the plant to become a weed of agriculture or to be invasive of natural habitats; the potential consequences of gene flow to wild relatives; the potential to increase the activity of a plant pest; the potential impact on non-target organisms; and the potential impact on biodiversity.

It is also important to note that biotechnology applications can contribute to advancing the sustainability of agriculture by creating solutions not only to increase food production, but also to respond to a number of environmental challenges and risks to human health. Around the world, biotechnology developments in agriculture are already helping to do the following:

• conserve water and adapt to climate change;

• reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizer and improve soil conservation; and

• produce healthier food alternatives for Canadians, such as cooking oils with lower amounts of trans fats.

I trust that my comments are of assistance to you. Thank you for taking the time to share your further concerns.


Gerry Ritz, PC, MP

c.c.: The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, PC, MP


13 responses to “MP Gerry Ritz responds to my email!

  1. One of the serious problems encountered in using genetically modified organisms is that the use of pesticides is increased, rather than decreased, not to speak of the production of huge new weeds.

  2. It’s nice information.. thank’s my friend..

  3. Minister Gerry Ritz is demonstrating that he is in the back pocket of the GMO industry. Once genetically modified seeds get into the environment there is no turning back, the legacy of ten of thousand of years of mostly women caring for seeds and passing them on to future generations will be destroyed as gmo contaminates the wild plants and Monsanto and Bayer then force all farmers to pay them money, even if the farmers did not plant GMO on their farms but gmo got there from wind drift or seeds falling of trucks and trains. Farmers should be looking to SUE these Corporations for contaminating their wild seed stocks. It is sad to see what has happened to the old Reform Party of Canada which got watered down by joining up with the (progressive Conservatives), it is now just as corrupt as the Liberal party.

    • I certainly agree with Russ Browne’s assessment of Ritz–indeed he is in back pocket of the GMO industry–and the danger to the environment presented by GMOs. However, his blame of the hijacked Progressive Conservative Party of Canada is grossly unfair.

  4. I was a delegate to the PC convention of 2003 when the Party was hijacked by the Reform Party of Canada transformed by Harper et al into a right wing monstrocity. The Reform Party did not get watered down by Progressive Conservatives. The shoe is on the other foot!

  5. The Progressive Conservative Party was destroyed by Harper et al. Since it was destroyed how could it possibly water anything down!

  6. The point is the Reform party stood for more direct democracy and a triple E senate, what happened to all that, as I said there policies got watered down once they joined up with the Progressive Conservatives.

    The Progressive Conservatives under Mulroney did not stop Canada’s debt from growing which was largely started by Pierre Trudeau and the Liberals who changed Canada’s debt from a public debt to a private debt (bankers). The debt is now over 600 Billion dollars and is threatening to ruin Canada.

    Western debts in general are headed for implosion as they will eventually consume 100% of GDP to service them.

    Economist Martin Armstrong has been predicting this mess since the 1980’s with his over 32,000 variables AI supercomputer and his models show that after late 2015 things are going to get very bad for the USA and that means Canada too since they are our largest trading partner.

    Conservatives, Liberals, Republicans, Democrats and New Democrats are all part of the problem, they all believe in big government and borrowing against our children’s future with no intention of paying anything back… all the legacy of Karl Marx and his big government philosophy which bankrupted China and the Soviet Union and is now going to bankrupt the West (Socialism).

    Income tax should be eliminated as it gives a blank cheque to government and hinders capital formation in the private sector which is needed to create jobs. Examples such as the recent revelation that a Liberal Senator’s husband has been caught hiding 1.7 million dollars offshore to avoid paying taxes illustrate the problem.

    Professional politicians at the trough for life should also be outlawed. People with strong business experience that know how to run a business are what is needed not more lawyers and bureaucrats that only seem to know how to create debt. We need serious reform. Read more here…

    • Yes, I do agree this discussion is not about political parties, especially those which are extreme right wing like Harper’s conservatives. This discussion is about GE crops.

  7. A single senator’s financial wrong doing is the reason for abolishing democracy in Canada, says Russ Brown. What about all those business people who are banking offshore, etc., and not paying their Income Tax? Shouldn’t this be a very good reason for politicians to control and if necessary punish businessmen? So abolishing Income Tax is your agenda and let the business people do whatever they damned well please. I never heard anything as blatantly arrogant and self-serving. It is high time our politicians came down hard on delinquent businessmen!

  8. Politicians have run us into debt, anyone who works full time is paying a good chunk of their paycheque each month to service that debt. There is a strong correlation with income tax started as a supposedly temporary tax to pay for world war 1 and the debt. It is not enough for politicians and their owners the bankers to extract income tax, sales taxes, fees etc. , they then have to start hunting down people as is happening in the USA now. The system is broken, the higher the tax rates go the more the people will attempt to stop government from stealing their money. France is a prime example, they are chasing people with money and driving them out of the country which is causing the velocity of money to implode which will lead to higher unemployment. How about you reveal who you really are hatescrap.

  9. Why is WordPress not allowing making corrections of typos after a comment has been submitted? I belatedly noticed that my “intelligence” above was missing the first “i” but wasn’t able to do anything about this!

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