Food Labeling

ALISTAIR MacGREGOR

In the House

Help me make genetically modified (GM) food labeling mandatory and protect our pollinators

The NDP has long been calling for mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods. Disappointingly in 2017, the Trudeau government went against its own commitments once again and voted against Bill C-291 proposed by my NDP colleague Pierre-Luc Dusseault, the MP for Sherbrooke.

The main objective of the bill was quite simple: to give Canadians more information concerning food that they eat. This was extremely disappointing, as the Prime Minister himself has recognized the importance of Canadian consumers’ right to know and has campaigned on the promise of transparency and openness.

Over 80% of Canadians believe that Canada should label GM foods. More than 64 countries —including EU member countries —have mandatory labelling laws. It is time we give Canadians a choice about their food.

Canadians have a right to know what food they are ingesting, and how that food is being prepared.  Toxic exposure to Neonicotinoid pesticides, used in non-organic and GM crops, can pose serious health risks to sensitive human populations. It is also directly linked to the declining populations of bees and other crucial pollinators.

The mortality rate for colonies of bees and other pollinators has been rising for the past four years. Pollinating insects, primarily bees, play a role in the pollination of 70% of flowering plants and honeybees contribute more than $2.2 billion to Canada’s agricultural economy each year.

Last year, in the House of Commons, I tabled a petition calling upon the government to take concrete steps to solve this problem, to develop a strategy to address the multiple factors related to bee-colony deaths, and to force seed companies not to sell seed that has been treated with neonicotinoids and other pesticides.

Through my first term in office, I presented 6 petitions calling on the federal government to protect bee and pollinator populations. The Government is required to formally respond to petitions. Responses received are posted on my website for public viewing.

On a local level, I have worked with the Cowichan Green Community, and the Cowichan Land Trust, in facilitating the acquisition and planting of milkweed seeds –the plant that monarch butterflies depend on for food.

As the NDP’s agriculture critic, I see just how important it is that we protect our pollinators to protect our food. You can read more about the community report on establishing A Food Policy for Canada I sent to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food here: http://alistairmacgregor.ndp.ca/public-consultation-reports

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