These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Labelling GMO Products

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, while Europe was putting into force its rigorous regulations on labelling and GMOs, Canada adopted a voluntary standard on the labelling of GMO products.

How can the minister explain that, contrary to what is being done in close to 40 countries, the federal government did not side with Quebec and Canadian consumers but rather preferred the report of the Canadian General Standards Board, which is proposing voluntary labelling of GMOs?

[English]

Hon. Bob Speller (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Yes, Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government does take very seriously the health and safety of Canadians. That is why we have worked with this standards branch in order to bring in a standard that in fact allows Canadians access to the information they need to make decisions on the food they eat.

[Translation]

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, close to 90% of Quebeckers want to know what they are eating. Yet, Canada is accommodating the industry, at the expense of greater transparency, as demanded by consumers.

How can the Minister of Agriculture claim that the new voluntary labelling standard for GMOs will help meet consumers' wishes for mandatory labelling?

[English]

Hon. Bob Speller (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): In fact, Mr. Speaker, Canadians can have the assurance that the food they eat is not only some of the highest quality but some of the safest food in the world.

We managed, through these groups, to have a number of groups come together. It was due to the recommendation of all the different groups that came together that we have a voluntary labelling system that allows Canadians the opportunity to know what is in their food.