Green Party candidates urge precaution, safety testing, and labelling of GMOs

Green Party candidates urge precaution, safety testing, and labelling of GMOs

ge election graphicIn mid-September, one of our volunteers emailed a pair of questions to candidates in all 42 Federal Electoral Districts in British Columbia (BC). Yesterday, we posted the responses (or lack thereof) received from the Conservative candidates running in BC. Today we bring you the views of your Green Party of Canada candidates running in BC.

These are the two questions that were asked of each candidate:

  1. If elected, will you give Health Canada the resources and the mandate to conduct a comprehensive, independent, science-based assessment on the safety of genetically engineered foods?
  2. What will you do to increase public awareness in your district of genetically engineered food and toxic pesticides, including neonicotinoids?

The Green Party of Canada has had a focused, unambiguous position on genetically engineered organisms (GMO) for several years. This is not a made-for-election platform. It is a one-pager worth reading: http://www.greenparty.ca/en/policy/vision-green/economy/genetic-engineering

Some key excerpts from their Vision Green:

  • “Require mandatory labelling of all GE foods and food ingredients.”
  • “Maintain the ban on GE wheat and oppose GE alfalfa.”
  • “ …be guided by the precautionary principle, which balances the economic benefits of innovation with public health and ecological integrity.”

In response to our two questions, these are a few highlighted responses from the Green Party of Canada’s candidates running in BC:

Chris George, Green Party candidate in North Okanagan-Shuswap wrote: “In addition to banning neonicotinoid pesticides, we will ensure the quality and wholesomeness of food by strengthening the monitoring of all pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, growth hormones, non-therapeutic antibiotics, and insecticides in food production, processing and storage, with the goal of an orderly reduction in detectable residues of these substances until they reach undetectable limits.”

Kyle Routledge, Green Party candidate in New Westminster – Burnaby is “quite concerned with the lack of regulation regarding GMOs and I feel that much more research must be conducted to determine what the potential long-term implications may be from ingesting GMO food.” This is echoed by Peter Tam, Green Party candidate in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, who “definitely wants an independent and science-based assessment of GMO and GEO and health effects.”

Robert Mellalieu, Green Party candidate in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola would “increase education in schools and through publicly funded advertising about the dangers of chemical foods and the benefits of real food.”

Richard Hosein, Green Party candidate in Fleetwood-Port Kells adds that “We must end federal subsidies to the GMO industry” and “the Green Party will protect and promote the farmer’s right to save and use non-GMO seed without penalty.”

Over on Vancouver Island, Glenn Sollitt, Green Party candidate in Courtenay-Alberni would “support the creation of designated organic agricultural areas that are GM, GE and Roundup free and are showcased as such.” Frances Litman, Green Party candidate in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke summarized the Green Party approach to Canadian agriculture policies as: “reduce the dependence on chemical inputs, rebuild and protect natural soil fertility, value quality produce and support local economies, reduce waste and increase the number of farm families.” Jo-Ann Roberts, Green Party candidate in Victoria added that “We will develop a National Agricultural and Food Policy that would improve food safety and boost nutritional health, provide food security and support local food markets, reduce corporate control of the food supply, improve agricultural research, stop the loss of agricultural land to development, support agricultural stewardship, and assist farmers in climate change adaption.”

Last words on this topic are from Elizabeth May, Green Party national leader, and candidate in Saanich-Gulf Islands who states that “we believe that local organic agriculture must play a role in mitigating climate change, providing food security, restoring soil health, improving human health, protecting water, and providing sustainable livelihoods for citizens. We must restructure our agricultural markets to sustain farming and provide farm families with a fair share of the consumer food dollar. We want to expand local small-scale agriculture and support a rapid transition to organic agriculture rather than subsidizing costly agro-chemicals, industrial food production, and genetically modified crops.”

Several Green Party responses quoted Dr. Lynne Quarmby, Green Party candidate in Burnaby North-Seymour who has said: “The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada are not protecting us from the risks of GMO crops. It is not clear to me that they could protect us, even if properly resourced and mandated. What can be done is to require mandatory labeling of all GMO foods. Canadians armed with knowledge when they shop can regain control of the food that sustains us.”

Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to stay tuned as posts over the next two days will review the NDP and Liberal positions on GE crops and foods in Canada.

Echoing Food Secure Canada’s slogan, we encourage you to “Eat. Think. Vote.”

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