February 20, 2017
Action Closed: Bill C-474
This Action is Now Closed: Bill C-474 was defeated Feb. 9, 2011
But a real debate on GM has now begun! Thank you for your action!
The year-long debate and pressure to support Bill C-474 resulted in increased pressure to stop GM alfalfa. Tens of thousands of Canadians sent letters to their MPs, met with their MPs and sent petitions. While the Bill itself did not pass, everyone's actions led to a motion for a moratorium on GM alfalfa that almost passed in May before the election shut down debate. Click here to take action to stop GM alfalfa.
Bill C-474 Vote results:
History on Bill C-474
Bill C-474 would have supported Canadian farmers by requiring that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.”
This Bill was a critical opportunity to stop dangerous GE crops.
Bill C-474 began a real debate over the impacts of GE crops. If the Bill was passed it would have stopped GE wheat and GE alfalfa.
The Bill was introduced by Alex Atamanenko, the NDP Agriculture Critic and MP for British Columbia Southern Interior.
Missing in Action, February 9, 2011 : Many members of the Agriculture Committee including Liberal Agriculture Critic Wayne Easter are missing from the House of Commons this week. They will miss tonight's vote on Bill C-474 because they are touring universities to find out how they can support the industry: “That the Standing Committee on Agriculture & Agri-food conduct a study on the status of the Canadian biotechnology sector, in which it travels to the universities across Canada where this technology is primarily being undertaken, and that it recommend, where necessary, legislative, policy and regulatory changes in order to foster an innovative and fertile biotechnology industry in Canada." Today, the day of the final vote, the MPs will be in Guelph listening to the President of Monsanto Canada and touring the University.
What do farmers think about Bill C-474?
- My future and Bill C-474 - Letter to MPs from Yukon farmer Tom Rudge, Feb 5, 2011.
- Letter from Marc Loiselle, Saskatchewan farmer, to his MP, Feb 6, 2011.
- Quotes from the testimony of Manitoba alfalfa growers and associations at the Agriculture Committee hearings on Bill C-474, June 7 2010.
- Farmers Speak out at Guelph Forum: Facing the Negative Impacts of Genetic Engineering, Press Release, February 7, 2011.
- CBAN Briefing to Members of Parliament.Genetically Engineered Organisms: The Need to Support Bill C-474 & Know the Economic Risk to Export Markets February 2011.
- New Article! A win for Bill C-474, Common Ground Magazine, by Lucy Sharratt, CBAN Coordinator, January 2011.
- September 2010: Bill C-474: Concrete change to challenge Monsanto's GM crops.
More info and analysis below...
Victory for Democracy in Canada on Genetic Engineering! December 2, 2010: Your actions are working! Despite biotech industry attempts to shut down debate, last night in the House of Commons, the New Democratic Party secured a new 5-hour debate on Bill C-474 and the impacts of genetic engineering for Feb 8 2011. This type of debate on genetic engineering in the House of Commons has never happened before! Now every MP will have a chance to participate in the debate on Bill C-474. Write your MP today and ask them to represent your concerns in the debate.
Thank you to everyone who continues to take action. Your voice is being heard! Approximately 1500 people have written to their MPs and another 6000 signatures on petitions have been collected. Hundreds of people have sent replies from their MPs to CBAN - thank you for your patience in waiting for CBAN to respond to your questions. Bill C-474 is concrete action and a unique chance to bring genetic engineering and the concerns of farmers into the spotlight. Nov 7, Kelowna BC: 150 people rally in favour of Bill C-474.
Hearings Cancelled Oct 27: The motion to extend hearings on Bill C-474 was defeated in the House of Commons thanks to Liberal inaction. The motion was defeated 134 yea, 139 nay because many Liberals were not in the House to vote, including Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff! The Conservatives voted to end the debate over Bill C-474 to protect the biotech industry and the Liberals let this happen. Click here to see how your MP voted on October 27 - Did they vote for the extension?.
The Liberals have indicated they will not support Bill C-474! Now that the debate has been cut short, it will be easier for the Liberal Party to find a way to justify their position against Bill C-474. The Liberals and Conservatives are now working together to stop Bill C-474. Liberals and Conservatives jointly introduced a motion in the Agriculture Committee to start a new pro-biotech study: “That the Standing Committee on Agriculture & Agri-food conduct a study on the status of the Canadian biotechnology sector, in which it travels to the universities across Canada where this technology is primarily being undertaken, and that it recommend, where necessary, legislative, policy and regulatory changes in order to foster an innovative and fertile biotechnology industry in Canada.” Tell the Liberals to support Bill C-474.
Even More Information
“Bill C-474 is the first step in offering some protection in the future for Canadian family farms. Market acceptance must be made part of the evaluation process and incorporated into the Seeds Regulation Act.” - Kelvin Einarson, Director and Secretary Treasurer, Manitoba Forage Seed Association Inc. Click here to read more quotes from the alfalfa producers about why they need Bill C-474.
- "Bill C-474 Could Decide the Future of GM Crops", Common Ground Magazine
- Bill C-474 is one line to require that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.” Click here for Bill C-474 official text.
- Radio show reports on the Bill C-474 vote: Click here to listen to how your actions changed the debate!
- April 15, 2010 - CBAN Press Release: MPs listen to Canadians ahead of industry on GM Crops: Groups applaud MPs for moving Bill C-474 to Committee for study
- April 15, 2010 - National Farmers Union: Passage of C-474 Important Victory for Farmers
- Listen: great radio show about Bill C-474 from Deconstructing Dinner! : What are MPs saying about the Bill? Why is the Bill important?
- CBAN's Opinion piece on Bill C-474
- The April 1 debate in Parliament! - official transcript.
- CBAN's unofficial quick notes from the April 1 debate.
- Official debate transcript from March 17.
Some Liberal MPs were still repeating the wrong information that GE “Triffid” flax was never commercially approved in Canada. This is wrong. Triffid was approved for commercialization via variety registration in 1996, making the seeds legal to sell in Canada. Variety registration remained until April 1, 2001 when it was removed at the behest of flax farmers. Industry is trying to undermine the arguments for Bill C-474. Click here for more info on Triffid flax including info that corrects your Liberal MP.
March 16: The National Farmers Union urges Parliamentarians and all Canadians to support Bill C-474.
Press Release - March 16, 2010:
GE Crops: Parliament to debate the need for export market acceptance before commercial release
This Bill is really important because, as we know from experience, the introduction of new genetically engineered (GE) crops can cause economic hardship to farmers.
Farmers are at risk when GE crops are commercialized in Canada without also being first approved in our major export markets.
Flax farmers in Canada are now paying a heavy price because of this exact problem. Late last year, Canadian flax exports were discovered contaminated with a GE flax that is not approved in Europe or in any of our other export markets (except the U.S.). Flax farmers actually foresaw that GE contamination or even the threat of contamination would close their export markets. That's why they took steps in 2001 to remove GE flax from the market. Despite this measure, flax farmers were not protected. The GE flax contamination closed our export markets in 2009. It has created market uncertainty and depressed prices. Farmers are also paying for testing and cleanup and may be required to abandon their own farm-saved flax seed and buy certified seed instead. These costs are an unnecessary and preventable burden. Click here for more information on the flax contamination crisis.
We cannot allow our export markets to close like this again.
It is the government’s responsibility to protect Canadian farmers from predictable problems caused by the introduction of new GE crops that have not yet been regulated in our export markets.
Contact us for more action, information and your questions.
Your actions have already made a difference! MPs voted for Bill C-474 in April!
Click here to find out how your MP voted on April 14! MPs voted yes to send the Bill for study at the Agriculture Committee. Write to say thanks or express your displeasure. Let your MP know that you are watching! The biotech industry doubled their lobbying against Bill C-474 and the industry association CropLife was so worried that they copied CBAN's MP action. But thanks to your action, MPs listened to you instead of the biotech industry! Monsanto is now campaigning hard against the Bill.