Coquitlam municipal candidates’ views on GE

Coquitlam 2014 candidates speak out about GE crops in responses to two questions (responses in no particular order):

  1. What is your position on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops, and why?
  2. What are you prepared to do to increase public awareness about genetically engineered crops, as well as herbicide and pesticide use, including neonicotinoids?

Jack Trumley (speaking for Protect Coquitlam): 1. I’m a biologist so my views are pretty clear. I don’t support GMOs. Once you start down this road it becomes a slippery slope trying to stop it. Food is no longer in the public’s control but becomes now in the hands of corporations. Teresa, it wasn’t that long ago that all our foods were organic and the consumer was a lot healthier for it. I know our local farmers are proud and determined to grow the best, the most natural, and most nutritious food available. We need to support their livelihood for future generations.

2 , the science is pretty clear. There is a huge chemical loading into our environment which is negatively affecting not only bees and insects ability to pollinate more than a third of our food supply but it is a ticking time bomb to our own health and natural ecosystems that sustain us. Leadership, education, and consumer activism on these issues are the key.

Bonita Zarrillo: Interesting that you would email me on this as I was on of the few that signed a petition back in the spring of 2013 about labeling genetically modified food in BC. Unfortunately the petition did not get the traction I would have expected.

I am extremely concerned about Monsanto’s control over crops globally and the whole issue of food security. Our food is at risk at so many levels but it is not on the radar of enough voters yet.

As a progressive councilor I would like to raise the profile of this issue and will need voters to elect more progressive councilors in Coquitlam to move it forward more quickly.

Neal Nicholson: I am opposed to cultivation of genetically engineered crops. There are both health and economic reasons for this. On the health front, the introduction of unnaturally produced foods into our bodies carries a significant but unknown level of risk which is unacceptable. Economically, the spectre of oligopolistic control of seed and the inability of the farmer to conserve his/her own seed as his crop produces sterile seed output has thee potential to return the farmer to a position of serfdom. In my community, with little agricultural activity, I have few opportunities to lead discussions on GE crops. My Council considered herbicide and pesticide bans about three years ago. There were not enough sharing my views to support a forceful ban.

Craig Hodge: I have strong personal feelings about genetically engineered foods, but that falls outside of my authority as a city councilor to regulate. However I did support a ban on the use of cosmetic pesticides and I believe that we should allow backyard bee hives as a way to help protect our environment and encourage local gardening and natural food production. I have also supported the creation of community gardens and the protection of farmland here in my community.

Mark Mahovlich: Genetically modified food and pesticides – do not approve of either/or. I have been lobbying Christy Clark on the fact the Provincial govt. is attempting to alter zoning laws for development of generations old farmland. I have personally informed her that this is unacceptable and I do not approve of her actions. We need natural food grown here in B.C., chemical free.

Lou Sekora: I support the UBCM motion. I think that’s the only way to go. What’s in place now, I’ll support it.

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