Share this:

September 29, 2023

House of Commons, Question Period

Mr. Yves Perron (Berthier—Maskinongé, BQ):
Madam Speaker, Radio-Canada has made deeply disturbing revelations about close ties between major GMO companies and the federal government. In fact, the ties are so close that the two are literally playing on the same team, known as the Tiger Team. It includes lobbyists for giants like Bayer, but also federal public servants who allegedly drafted the GMO reform together. Worse than having the fox guard the henhouse, the fox is in charge of the henhouse. Is the government going to hire truly independent experts to reexamine all of the changes introduced by the Tiger Team?

[Original] Madame la Présidente, ce que Radio-Canada a révélé sur la proximité entre les grandes entreprises d’OGM et le gouvernement fédéral est très inquiétant. Ils sont tellement proches qu’ils jouent carrément dans la même équipe, surnommée la Tiger Team. Cette équipe est composée de lobbyistes de géants comme Bayer, mais aussi de fonctionnaires fédéraux qui auraient rédigé ensemble la réforme des OGM. C’est pire que le loup dans la bergerie. C’est le loup responsable de la bergerie. Est-ce que le gouvernement va mandater des experts réellement indépendants pour réexaminer tous les changements opérés sous la Tiger Team?

Hon. Bill Blair (Minister of National Defence, Lib.):
Madam Speaker, we have had extensive consultations with people from the organic, conventional and seed sectors to find new food-production solutions to feed the world’s growing population. It is common practice for the government to actively engage with implicated stakeholders when discussing regulatory matters.
The tiger team process was intended as a time-limited mechanism through which multiple stakeholders in the grain supply chain would have an opportunity to provide their views on the very complex topic of plant breeding and innovation. We will continue doing all that we can to support Canada’s farmers and farm families.


Mr. Yves Perron (Berthier—Maskinongé, BQ):
Madam Speaker, it is outrageous to let the people making money from a product decide what rules apply to their product. It is even worse when food or public health are involved. How can we let a company like Bayer write the rules on GMOs and gene editing?
The public needs reassurance. A breach of trust has occurred. Nothing less than a rigorous regulatory review by truly independent experts can fix the total lapse in judgment shown by the government. When is it going to launch such a review?

[Original] Madame la Présidente, cela n’a aucun bon sens de laisser des gens qui font de l’argent avec un produit décider des règles qui s’appliquent à leur produit. C’est encore pire quand il s’agit des aliments et de la santé de la population. Comment peut-on laisser une compagnie comme Bayer rédiger les règles sur les OGM et l’édition génomique?
Il faut maintenant rassurer la population. Il y a un abus de confiance. Seul un examen rigoureux de la mise à jour réglementaire fait par des experts réellement indépendants peut réparer ce manque total de jugement de la part du gouvernement. Quand va-t-il lancer cette révision?

Hon. Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
Madam Speaker, that is why the former minister of agriculture and agri-food, the former minister of health and I worked together to start implementing the reforms the hon. member is talking about. In fact, that work led to the federal government’s announcement that pesticides would no longer be used on any federal lands. It is also what led to a review of the way pesticides are approved in Canada. We are allowing more independent scientists to review each of these pesticides. We are in the process of carrying out the review that our hon. colleague has asked us to do.