Canada’s Agriculture & Agri-Food Committee on GMOs

Deconstructing Dinner continues with our ongoing coverage on the controversial subject of GMOs – genetically modified organisms. As part of our past coverage we’ve spent time looking at how dialogue on GMOs makes its way through the Government of Canada, whether it be the regulatory process itself, or debates heard from Canada’s House of Commons. On today’s episode we listen in on December 2009 meetings of Canada’s Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. The Committee is made up of 12 Members of Parliament and invited a panel of experts on the subject of GMOs to share their thoughts and opinions on Canada’s regulatory process for approving such foods and how the Canadian public currently perceives their presence in the food supply.


Michel Arnold, executive director, Option Consommateurs (Montreal, QC) – Option Consommateurs is a not-for-profit association whose mission is to promote and defend the basic rights of consumers and ensure that they are recognized and respected.

Randy Hoback, member of parliament, Conservative Party of Canada (Prince Albert, SK) – Randy is a Conservative MP representing the riding of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Randy purchased his family’s farm in 2000 and expanded it to 3300 acres. He also established a custom spraying and trucking business.

Gord Surgeoner, president, Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (Guelph, ON) – Before joining OAFT, Gord was a professor in the Department of Environmental Biology, and then the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph until his retirement in January, 2004. Since 1999, Gord has been the President of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, a non-profit organization consisting of members from farm associations, universities, industry and governments. The organization focuses on Ontario’s participation in developing, promoting and adopting biotechnology.

Devlin Kuyek, advisor, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) (Montreal, QC) – CBAN promotes food sovereignty and democratic decision-making on science and technology issues in order to protect the integrity of the environment, health, food, and the livelihoods of people in Canada and around the world by facilitating, informing and organizing civil society action, researching, and providing information to government for policy development.

Terry Boehm, president, National Farmers Union (NFU) (Allan, SK) – The National Farmers Union is the only voluntary, direct-membership national farm organization in Canada. It is also the only farm organization incorporated through an Act of Parliament (June 11, 1970). Terry farms in Allan, SK.

Peter Andrée, assistant professor, Department of Political Science, Carleton University(Ottawa, ON) – Peter’s research focuses on international and Canadian environmental politics as well as the political economy of agriculture and the food system. His first book, entitled Genetically-Modified Diplomacy: The Global Politics of Agricultural Biotechnology and the Environment, was published by UBC Press in 2007.

Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclips: – Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)