should block use of GM wheat: Hillson
Saturday, April 19, 2003
Jack Hillson, MLA
Liberal MLA Jack Hillson wants to stop the federal government from
approving the use of genetically modified wheat he fears won't be
accepted by Canadian customers.
Hillson wrote Lyle Vanclief, the federal agriculture minister, this
week to lobby on behalf of farm groups and government agencies such
as the Canadian Wheat Board, all of which oppose the production
of the wheat for fear that it will mix with other products and hurt
But Hillson is concerned that the federal Liberals are intent on
bowing to the wishes of the chemical and grain companies developing
the produce and approve the genetically modified wheat by early
next year, he told a press conference Wednesday.
"Fundamentally it is up to the government to protect the Canadian
farmers and protect the Canadian markets -- it isn't up to Monsanto
(the producer of Round-up)," he said. "We can't put our future in
the hands of a multi-national chemical company."
Although the government is studying the feasibility of genetically
modified wheat, it isn't looking at marketability but only at safety
and the science, Hillson said.
"Well, there is no evidence there is a health risk. I concede that.
But I also say that's irrelevant if our customers say 'We won't
accept Round-up ready wheat into our country and we will close our
markets to Canadian wheat if you allow its production,' then we
place ourselves at enormous risk."
The provincial government should take a stronger stance in opposition
to the production of the wheat, he said.