Saanich bans use of genetically modified seeds

Saanich council took a united stance Monday night in opposing the use of genetically modified seed crops in the municipality.

Saanich council took a united stance Monday night in opposing the use of genetically modified seed crops in the municipality.

Councillors argued that the motion, which also included writing a letter to various senior levels of government asking for mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods, was the best way to protect local organic farms.

“I do believe (genetically modified organisms are) a real impact to our organic farmers, and we need to try and protect that new sort of business entity as best we can,” said Coun. Judy Brownoff.

Coun. Dean Murdock, who chairs the Healthy Saanich advisory committee, which brought the motion forward, said there isn’t enough known about any possible health risks associated with consuming genetically modified foods, so he would rather err on the side of caution.

Labelling GMO products, he said, would at least give consumers the knowledge to make a choice.

“You’re going to be consumer, one way or another, of genetical modified foods, and that may or may not be your choice,” added Coun. Vic Derman. “We label whether food is kosher sensitive or not. That’s a choice, it’s probably not a health issue, it’s simply a choice.”

Saanich conducted public consultation earlier in October, and it was apparent from the turnout then that Saanichites overwhelmingly support the ban, except for one lone proponent of GMO crops who says Saanich made an uninformed decision based on unfounded fears.

“The councillors are not trained in the science, and they do not have the ability to differentiate between science and the pseudo-science,” said Robert Wager, who teaches at Vancouver Island University and has a background in biochemistry and molecular biology.

Wager argues farmers can benefit from using genetically modified seeds, which can be beneficial to the economy and can result in drastic reductions in the amount of insecticides and pesticides used to protect crops.

He says genetically modified crops that are drought and frost tolerant, and resistant to viruses and fungal infections. “There is so much research out there that rebuts any of the pseudo-scientific information (that informed council’s decision),” Wager said.

Coun. Paul Gerrard stressed Saanich should take the precautionary principle, and conduct more research to ensure council makes the most informed decision possible, which echoed the sentiment of the Peninsula Agricultural Commission.

While the Healthy Saanich committee sought advice from the agricultural commission, the report that came before council was worded much stronger against the use of GMO products, Gerrard noted.

Council supported the motion 9-0 to oppose genetically modified seeds crops and write letters encouraging mandatory GMO labelling.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Neighbour details hearing ‘thuds’ the day girls found dead in Oak Bay

Jury at double-murder trial hears from Andrew Berry’s neighbour

‘Goodness prevails’: neighbours reflect following suspicious death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Martin Payne was found dead in his Metchosin home on Friday. Police have confirmed foul play.

Owners of Saanich coastal bluff home say it does not damage environment

Douglas and Brenda MacAskill rest their claim on a report with unknown authorship

Repatriation efforts work to heal and connect through history: Royal BC Museum

Victoria museum’s efforts bolstered by B.C. repatriation grant

Swastikas appear on downtown Victoria bus shelters

VicPD says graffiti has increased significantly in last six months

VIDEO: Sparrows raise their chicks in Cadboro Bay deck planter

Jill Yoneda captured 11 days up close with tiny Junco sparrows

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read