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Historic NDP GMO bill passes crucial vote

MP Alex Atamanenko, B.C. Southern Interior

A private members bill to protect farmers by calling for an analysis of potential harm to export markets prior to approving new genetically engineered seeds has passed second reading in the House of Commons. Bill C-474, proposed by New Democrat Agriculture Critic Alex Atamanenko (BC-Southern Interior), will move to committee for further study.

“Despite intense lobbying efforts by the biotech industry and the Conservative government to nip this bill in the bud, the opposition parties voted instead to protect the economic interests of farmers,” said Atamanenko. “I couldn’t be happier that Parliament has made this historic decision.”

This is the first time a bill to change the rules on GMOs has passed second reading in the House.

Atamanenko believes that the government‘s science-only approach to how GMO’s are regulated is irresponsible because it completely ignores market considerations.

“It was the government’s lax regulatory process that allowed GE Triffid flax to shut out Canadian flax exports from its key markets and hurt farmers,” explained Atamanenko. “For the first time, Parliament has a chance to seriously consider a regulatory mechanism that will ensure farmers are never again faced with rejection in our export markets because we allow the introduction of GE technologies that they have not approved.”