News / Victoria

Vancouver Island politicians vote to ban GMOs

If the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities gets its way, genetically modified crops will no longer be welcome on Island soil.

The collective of regional politicians voted Sunday to ban GMO food and seeds. The motion, put forth by Metchosin Coun. Moralea Milne, passed by an overwhelming margin.

"Perhaps five people voted against it," Milne said.

After explaining her opposition to GMOs, Milne heard a "rumble of dissatisfaction" from Al Seabring, a councillor from North Cowichan. However, to her surprise, Seabring endorsed the idea, and said it should be extended to all of B.C.

Although she's "very proud" of the motion, Milne admits that it's mostly a symbolic gesture. AVICC will move the motion to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, but it is not likely to garner much traction.

"The twist with this is that UBCM doesn't really respond to regional issues," she said. "I might have to tweak it somehow to bring it to them, maybe make the motion for the entire province."

Milne told Metro she's skeptical about scientific reports that suggest GMO crops are harmless.

"Most of the science that comes out of the industry, I trust it as much as I trust the science that came from the tobacco industry when they said tobacco was safe," she said. "We need better science out there done by non-interested parties."

GMO seeds, such as Monsanto's Roundup Ready brand, cannot be harvested for multiple seasons, and must be purchased every year. Milne says that can lead to problems associated with mono-cropping.

"I just don't like the idea of a corporation owning seeds," she said.

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