In all of the letters printed on this debate and in Richard Rolke’s column, two issues stand out for being misunderstood. The first concerns RDNO’s responsibility.
Although local government cannot enforce a ban on GM crops, local government does give direction to how we will grow our economy, which is why they have the regional growth strategy.
Since GM crops contaminate non-GM crops eventually preventing non-GM agriculture in the region, it is RDNO’s duty to say whether our agricultural growth strategy is to be a strictly GMO area or a diverse farming area. We have very few years left to make a decision so not making a decision is to knowingly lead us towards a GMO only farming area.
Already 60 per cent of communities in the province decided to have the whole province become GMO free.
If RDNO is unwilling to take a position on something so important, they might as well tell people they have become irrelevant as our local representatives.
The second misunderstanding is about freedom of choice. This is exactly what becoming GMO crop-free is about. People want the freedom to grow non-GM crops but cannot do so because both types of agriculture cannot co-exist.
Recent tests in four provinces, including B.C., found that already 35 per cent of the sweet corn sold in farmers’ markets and food stores contains GMO.
To not make a decision is to let GMO eventually contaminate all crops of the same family.
Now that the decision is in the hands of the province, people more than ever count on their RDNO representatives to act on their behalf and lobby our MLA to protect organic and conventional growers by declaring that RDNO wishes to shift to non-GMO agriculture and at least prevent the import of new GM crops, such as GM alfalfa, GM apples, GM salmon and GM wheat.