Lobby to stop GE wheat
One of the OAPF Committee's goals is to continue to lobby all levels of government against introduction of genetically engineered (GE) wheat, other genetically engineered crops, or any genetically engineered substance prohibited by certified organic standards.
We realize that the Class Action Suit is one part of a bigger picture, and an important tool we are using to build a world where we have the right to farm GMO free and the right to eat GMO free. Hand in hand with the class action, we are confronting the federal government with their failure to carry out the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act regarding the commercial release of genetically engineered canola and the confined testing of genetically engineered wheat. We sent a letter to Hon. Lyle Vanclief (PDF) outlining our position on the same day that we registered our Statement of Claim.
We are also working on other fronts to lobby for regulations that will prohibit GMO contamination, and for the enforcement of regulations that make the biotech companies accountable for the consequences of their actions.
To date we have addressed parliamentary committees, the Senate, the federal Agriculture Minister and the Prime Minister himself. Members of the OAPF Committee are also involved in important initiatives regarding seed purity and agricultural research where they constantly defend GMO-free agriculture.
SOD is calling on the government of Canada to protect certified organic agriculture from contamination by genetically modified alfalfa, which has recently been approved for food and feed safety and environmental release by the CFIA. It has been approved for commercial release in the USA but not in Canada.
Coalition asks Prime Minister for GE Wheat Ban
On July 31, 2001 SOD took part in a press conference in Winnipeg involving nine organizations - SOD, the National Farmers Union, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, Greenpeace Canada, the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Health Coalition, the Canadian Wheat Board, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, and the Keystone Agricultural Producers - where a letter signed by over 300 organizations was presented to the Prime Minister demanding that the federal government act democratically in accordance with Canadians' desire to see the development and introduction of GE wheat stopped.
SOD Lobbies Senate Committee
Marc Loiselle presented a submission (PDF 24KB) to the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry on GE wheat in November, 2001.SOD Speaks House of Commons Ag Committee Hearings
On February 19, 2002 Arnold Taylor represented SOD at a House of Commons Agriculture Committee hearing in Davidson (text of presentation ) (PDF 16KB) and made clear our opposition to GE wheat and canola and the overall threat of genetic engineered crops to organic production.
Loiselle elected to Wheat-Rye-Triticale Agronomy Evaluation Team committee
In February 2002 Marc Loiselle represented SOD at the PRRCG variety registration meetings in Winnipeg and apart from participating in all the Wheat-Rye-Triticale Agronomy Evaluation Team subcommittee meetings, was elected as a full voting member of that committee along with 3 other individuals, including a representative from Monsanto. Part of the meeting discussions focused on possibly removing a controversial /marketing impact/ clause from the Operating Procedures of the WRT Agronomy committee. The NFU and SOD collaborated on a joint letter to all Prairie Registration Recommending Committee for Grain (PRRCG) committees urging the retention of the clause. Marc ensured that the letter was read and that the committee understood the importance of maintaining that clause, despite government and industry opposition. The clause was retained. There was lots of discussion about GMOs and their impact on agriculture and the environment, including reference a couple times to our class action lawsuit.
Wheat-Rye-Triticale subcommittee rejects the current protocol for field plot testing of GE wheat
On Feb 26, 2004 at its annual meeting in Saskatoon, the Wheat-Rye-Triticale subcommittee voted to reject the current protocol for field plot testing of GE wheat. Loiselle?s revelations about a test plot where surrounding commercial wheat fields were at risk because of their proximity to the plot were a key factor in the decision. Although Loiselle lobbied for a moratorium on further field testing, citing recent wheat pollen flow studies that show out-crossing can occur up to 300 metres away, the committee opted to increase the isolation zone only. The new protocol prohibits test plots within 300 metres of any other wheat, in addition to the requirement of a 30-metre isolation zone consisting of corn and canola surrounding the GE wheat test plots. Regrettably, Monsanto will be able to continue with GE wheat trials in 2004, but certainly under more stringent requirements.
GE Wheat Free Zones Declared
After a SOD approved letter went out in March 2001 to all Saskatchewan Rural Municipalities urging RMs to declare themselves GE wheat free zones, at least 32 RMs have declared themselves Genetically Engineered Wheat Free Zones .
SARM Resolution to Ban GE Wheat Passes Unanimously
A resolution which asked the federal government to ban GE wheat from Canada, including importation was passed unanimously at the annual Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities convention in 2001.
Saskatchewan's rural governments call for moratorium on GM wheat
The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) has again come out strongly against GM wheat. At their Midterm Convention held in Saskatoon, Nov 14-15, 2002, two new resolutions (PDF 14KB) were passed.
Dealing with GE Wheat Test Plots
In March 2002 letters were sent to the RMs of Tramping Lake #380 and Corman Park #344 and the surrounding RMs to address our concerns regarding the growing of Roundup Ready wheat in Cooperative Test plots at the AAFC Scott Experimental Farm and at an AgQuest research facility near Saskatoon in 2001.
Saskatchewan's Rural Municipality of Grant #372
sent a letter (PDF 99KB) to Monsanto on February 5, 2004, demanding that the corporation abandon its Roundup Ready wheat project, withdraw applications for regulatory approvals, stop field test plots and destroy the seed stocks.
SARM demands test plot disclosure
The March 13, 2003 SARM Annual Convention resolved (PDF 66KB) to demand disclosure on locations of GM wheat test plots and called for a moratorium on further field testing.
Witness statement by Marc Loiselle at Court of Appeal at Grenoble, France
Marc Loiselle testified as one of 7 defence witnesses, including Jos╚ Bov╚, for 10 men accused of destroying a field test plot of transgenic corn (maize) in the southern Dr┘me region, renowned for seed production. Read his statement here.