Last week I had the privilege of sitting down for a round table discussion with the Premier of British Columbia. There was a great mix of blogger/mom type media with great thoughts on issues facing BC mothers. The issues of childcare, work, living expenses was discussed at great lengths and while I know these are important topics, I was bursting to deliver an important message to Christy Clark about my views on one basic need in my own life that is not being met – the issue of food labeling and GMOs. When I started talking about my concerns my ears tuned out because I was so focused on remembering the key points I had practiced so Christy’s response cannot be taken word for word – but I’ve included the gist of her response under my speech. What did I think of the Premier? She definitely listens. Very well. She was super attentive to everyone speaking at the roundtable and was personable and relatable. Since I didn’t tape record myself speaking off the cuff – I thought I’d show you the speech I had practiced so you get a glimpse of my passion heading into the room that morning. My key points were 1) GMO food and labeling in Canada 2) More coverage for Naturalpathic Care 3) Listening to Autistic parents and the issues these families face – I actually recommended the next round table discussion include parents of autistic children. There isn’t anyone that understands the effect of foods, proper holistic therapy and care, more than families with autistic children. Here are the words I had written and followed at the roundtable with Premier Christy Clark:
It might be hard to believe, but as a mom of 4 kids I find food to be my biggest challenge. I’m worried about North American food. I’m unhappy to learn that Canada is a large supplier of Genetically modified canola and grains. I’m stressed to learn that over 80% of a traditional grocery store is filled with genetically modified foods. My husband started grocery shopping after my twins were born and he feels like his hands are tied because I keep restricting what he can buy at traditional grocery stores. All of the money I make goes to food. Every penny and through the process of understanding where my food comes from, meeting local farmers and asking questions I have changed my relationship with food. I feel grateful to find food sources I can trust that are / aren’t using GM grain to feed the cows, chickens, and pigs I eat. I trust the local farmers that are using organic farming standards to grow produce and I’ve learned to shop with what is in season, but I can’t continue to keep up this level of consumer awareness. The time, stress, and financial strain of trying to minimize genetically altered food is a struggle and moms need you help.
The West is always talking about how ‘green’ we are. Let’s show the rest of Canada that we want to follow California and the 20 other states that have labeling in front of their gov’t bodies and ask that our food be labeled. Then parents that want to avoid GM food can spend less time researching and more time preparing, canning, juicing, and cooking their food. We live in a world were we’ve realized that convenience is our downfall . Having a seed that is resistance to the pesticides being sprayed in the fields to grow food from this seed is not healthy for the environment or our health. Over 95% of all soy manufactured is now genetically modified. How many more food sources do we want to contaminate? Think of the connections to disease spikes in the last 20 years (when GM food was first introduced). Cancer, infertility, digestive issues, diabetes, auto immune, allergies, asthma…the list goes on and we are parenting during a time like no other. We are raising children as scientists with a prayer that they won’t get cancer. Parents have had to do the work to protect our children against chemicals and we’re asking for your help with our food sources . . . this is just too big an area to tackle alone.
Canada is now behind China and Russia with food labeling. There are so many countries that have banned GM food – all we are asking for is labeling so that we can decide what our families eat. If companies choose to use GM ingredients – they need to stand behind their products and be proud to label them.
The topic of labelling GMOS lends into two other side issues because of so many gut issues – more and more families have to see naturopaths. Post on my facebook page also thought that more coverage for naturopathic care would be mentioned. Traditional medicine and doctors simply are not able to treat these issues because so many are food related.
And families with autistic children really need your help. I’m not sure if there is a voice in this room and although I don’t have an autistic child, they need a voice here. Currently kids under 6 years of age get $22k per year in BC for services and that drops to $6k a year after the age of 6. If the reason the money drops b/c children enter the school system –shouldn’t children and parents help allocated the support were they see fit? Traditional treatments for autistic children might not work for all and ABA Applied Behavior Analysis might not work for every autistic child and that is the scientifically proven method used in schools & therapies.
The Premier’s response to my concern over GM food? She supports eating GM or conventional food but is also in favour of labeling it. She also said it’s a Federal issue not Provincial and gave me a contact James Moore who is local to me to chat with the issue of GMO labeling. I’ll continue to try and contact him regarding this issue that is clearly troubling for many families.
I appreciated the opportunity to join the discussion on concerns that affect BC moms and hope I can contribute again in the future. Thank you to the many people that posted comments or questions on my Fan Page before I attended the roundtable. I’m more used to writing about my passions, rather than speaking so preparing for the roundtable took time. I’ll keep you posted via the Mommy Footprint fan page on any developments on the topics I proposed to the Premier. Please follow us there if you’re not already.