June 18, 2013
Responding to your MP
Many people have already written to their MPs (Over 10,000 of you!). There are many important arguments that can be made but below are four major points you could add into a response letter:
Please speak up in the final debate in the House of Commons on February 8th. The final debate on Bill C-474 will be up to 5 hours which is an unprecedented debate on genetic engineering. This is a great opportunity for you to represent my concerns.
The reality is that we know some GE crops will cause major economic harm to farmers. For example, conventional alfalfa growers told the Agriculture Committee that GE alfalfa will ruin their businesses, especially because GE alfalfa will inevitably contaminate all other alfalfa. We know that farmers who use alfalfa, particularly organic farmers, are at risk because of GE alfalfa. Organic farming prohibits the use of GE seeds, and GE alfalfa actually puts the entire organic food and farming system at risk. What are you going to do to help alfalfa growers and protect organic farming?
Bill C-474 would simply require the government to assess the potential harm of a new GE seed to our export markets. The government should already be doing this basic economic research and informing farmers. Our government should know what the impact of new GE seeds will be on our economy. This information is necessary for making good economic policy. We should not introduce new GE organisms without knowing what their impacts will be.
The new biotech study being conducted by the Agriculture Committee does not look into the important problem that Bill C-474 identifies. The Agriculture Committee is touring universities to ask about how to support the biotech industry instead of talking to farmers about the impacts of genetic engineering. The purpose of the biotech study is to look into ways to better help the industry, but our government should focus on what farmers need. We need better policy on genetic engineering to support farmers and a strong farming economy in Canada.