They listened politely but Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors did not fulfill a request put forward by a delegation from the City of Salmon Arm’s Environmental Advisory Committee.
Warren Bell, John McLeod and Hugh Tyson addressed the board at its Nov. 13 meeting, ending the presentation with a request for a resolution declaring the regional district as a non-GMO zone and to support the labelling of GMO produced foods.
The third member of the delegation to speak was McLeod, a longtime farmer in the area.
Area E Rural Sicamous-Malakwa director Rhona Martin expressed support for labelling GMO foods and asked McLeod if all the farmers in the regional district would support the committee’s request or would there be opposition.
He replied that some would likely be opposed, describing them as good farmers not meaning to do harm.
“I have used every chemical known to man; it’s about how we think we can control nature,” he said, pointing out the dangers of tinkering with food products and referring specifically to how dairy farmers used to treat mastitis in cows with penicillin and had to move to sulfa drugs when penicillin was no longer effective.
“We’ve created a bacteria so powerful it would kill a 2,400-pound cow in 24 hours.”
But former Golden mayor, Christina Benty stated the issue is one of a federal nature.
“I deeply appreciate your concern. I am worried about GMOs too, but I don’t support benign resolutions that are without the ability to enforce,” she said. “And we could be held to account.”
The other directors agreed and voted unanimously to accept the presentation as information only.
McLeod later said he was disappointed.
“If it doesn’t come from the grassroots, it isn’t likely to come from higher levels of government where the lobbyists have more say than the electorate,” he said.
“How is it that multi-national corporations can take democracy to court, which is what they’re planning to do in Vermont and Maui over the recent resolution to prevent GMO crops and have labelled food.”
McLeod also muses that if all other ingredients must be listed on labels – sodium, sugar, carbs – why is a GMO designation not included.
“I’m surprised and disappointed that some directors choose to take direction from the federal government rather than polling the electorate they represent,“ he said.