These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

GMOs

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the federal government is trying to force genetically modified food on farmers and consumers both here and abroad. Yesterday, Canada's eccentric uncle, the Prime Minister, was in Europe aiding and abetting the American multinationals while here at home his government has been assisting Monsanto in test plots for adapting genetically modified wheat to the Prairies.

The list of groups wanting nothing to do with GM includes farmers, the Wheat Board, the milling industry, international customers and most important, our own consumers. When will the government stop jamming genetically modified food down our throats and accept that what is good for GM is not good for Canada?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows very well that we have a process here in Canada that is the envy of the rest of the world. The assessment is made based on science and the safety of any genetically modified product to humans, animals and to the environment. Even with that, it does not mean that the product goes to market. If it passes, the opportunity is there. There have been a number of cases. For example, a number of years ago there was a genetically modified flax product that did pass and the industry decided not to take it to market.

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister witnessed Canadian GMOs being denied access to the European market. Yet for five years we have been warning the government about the risk of not regulating GMOs.

How many markets must we be banned from before the government takes its responsibilities and regulates all GMOs?

[English]

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we do regulate GMOs. We regulate GMOs better than any other country in the world. I just gave an answer on how we go about doing it.

We recognize that there have to be concerns about the marketing of that product. I gave an example of how that has been handled in the past. We will continue basing those decisions on science.

[Translation]

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, this week the Canadian Wheat Board asked Monsanto to withdraw its request to have genetically modified wheat certified.

Will the Minister of Agriculture admit that if approved, Monsanto's request would make the Canadian situation even worse and close even more doors on international markets? Does the minister intend to say no to Monsanto, as requested by the Canadian Wheat Board?

[English]

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, again I gave an example of a product that passed the tests of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Ministry of Health a few years ago. The developer of that product recognized a concern that had been raised by the Canadian Wheat Board and it was not put on the market. The system can work. That is a good example of the situation and how it can work.