As expected the RDOS has opted to take its fight about genetically modified food products to the provincial group – Union of BC Municipalities.
RE: GMO Resolution
That the Board rescind paragraphs 1 & 2 of Resolution B234/12A and refer the investigation of establishment of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)-Free Zones within the Province to UBCM for discussion
At the regular meeting of 7 June 2012, the Board debated a Directors Motion to establish a genetically engineering free zone for edible horticulture and livestock products, and; further, that research be conducted only in secure, contained environments.
That motion was defeated, but a subsequent motion was submitted and adopted:
THAT the RDOS investigate the establishment of a genetically engineering-free zone for the production of edible horticulture products;
AND FURTHER THAT research be conducted only in secure, contained environments;
AND FURTHER, that the Board request that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reject the current application for the Arctic Apple
Administration has submitted the request to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regarding the Arctic Apple within the consultation timelines.
The Board is clearly concerned about the economic impact of GMO’s on the Tree Fruit Industry and is on record as wanting more information. There was discussion about the technical impacts of genetic engineering, but it was determined that the main threat for RDOS residents was economic. There was further discussion about whether a local government had jurisdiction over agriculture.
RDOS does not have the expertise internally to conduct an investigation into the risks of GMO’s. It’s unlikely that Administration would be able to find one expert that could put forward unbiased opinions in this subject area. Rather, it would be more likely that an expert panel would be required, representing both sides of the issue, that would provide the best information to the Board. This would take some time to establish a terms of reference, vet the experts to make sure they’re qualified and available and establish a venue. If the Board would prefer to hear from laypeople claiming to be
affected or to have an opinion, we would then need the larger venue and a moderator. We would estimate a cost of $20,000 to cover speaker/moderator fees, travel, administrative costs, advertising, etc. With that information, it would still be up to each Board Member to form an opinion and, they would still have no authority to impact future farming practices. Agriculture is a federal responsibility.