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Deconstructing Dinner: Bill C-474 (Protecting Farmers From Economic Harm of GE Crops)

Deconstructing Dinner has long been at the forefront of covering anything and everything to do with the presence of genetically engineered (GE) foods.

The latest on the issue from Canada's capital is Bill C-474 - a bill introduced by Member of Parliament Alex Atamanenko. The bill was debated in the House of Commons for one-hour on March 17 and is calling for a change in the way GE seeds are approved in Canada. Back in 2009, Canada's primary market for flax - the European Union, blocked all shipments of Canadian flax after tests there discovered the presence of a GE flax that was once cultivated in Canada but de-registered in 2001. The proposed Bill C-474 was developed with the hope of preventing any future scenario like this unfolding again by requiring that all approvals of GE seeds go through an economic impact assessment in addition to the already-in-place health and environmental assessments. In other words, had such an assessment been in place in 1996 when the flax was first permitted, an economic impact assessment might have prevented the 2009 setback to Canada's flax industry from ever happening. Proponents of the bill hope it will prevent the future release of GE alfala and wheat into Canadian soil.

On today's episode we'll listen to Members of Parliament debate the issue in the House of Commons. Deconstructing Dinner also followed up with Liberal MP Francis Valeriote who supports the bill being sent to committee, but nevertheless shared many critical remarks in the House that are requiring some... deconstructing.


Alex Atamanenko, member of parliament, BC Southern Interior, New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP) (Castlegar, BC) -
Atamanenko is the NDP's Critic on Agriculture & Agri-Food and Food Security. He sits on the Standing Committee on Agriculture & Agri-Food.

Francis Valeriote, member of parliament, Guelph, Liberal Party of Canada (Guelph, ON) -
Valeriote sits on the Standing Committee on Agriculture & Agri-Food.

David Anderson, member of parliament, Cypress-Hills Grassland, Conservative Party of Canada (Frontier, SK) -
Anderson is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Agriculture & Agri-Food for the Canadian Wheat Board.

Pierre Lemieux, member of parliament, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Conservative Party of Canada (Casselman, ON) -
Lemieux is Canada's Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. He sits on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Larry Miller, member of parliament, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, Conservative Party of Canada (Wiarton, ON) -
Miller is the Chair of the Standing Committee on Agriculture & Agri-Food.

Jim Maloway, member of parliament, Elmwood Transcona, New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP) (Winnipeg, MB)

Download the audio for this episode here.

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