Area 'D' director Rick Fairbairn made a statement Wednesday the 5th of June, at a NORD Board meeting, that no decision on GM Crops has been made, and this despite a vote of 92.8% against the growing of GM crops in Area D. This leaves us with the question: Who or what is Director Fairbairn supporting if not his community's will?
Read more for BeeSAFE's response.
Who is Director Fairbairn supporting?
On June 7th, 2013 the Vernon Morning Star's article “Director insists no decisions made on genetic modification” reports several mistakes and misleading statements used by Director Fairbairn to justify a lack of decision. The information below gives a factual history of how the resolution to become GMO free was arrived at in Area D.
Two years ago Carla Vierke and Huguette Allen met with the directors of Areas D and E, to discuss the dangers of contamination by GMO crops in their communities. Both directors made it clear they could not take a stand unless it came from the community since their job was to represent their respective communities. A request to RDNO to take a stand on GM crops that was supported by over a hundred letters sent to RDNO, some from large organizations such as Certified Organic Association of BC, also resulted in no action being taken.
Bee SAFE volunteers then worked diligently at educating their communities about GMO. They showed films on the subject, opened an office in downtown Lumby that freely gave out information, held related events, organized food garden tours, printed information in local media and sent out a free E-Newsletter monthly.
At the end of the 2 years, Bee SAFE held a public meeting in Cherryville (Area E), followed by a vote that lasted one month. Then an invitation was sent to every home in Area D inviting them to a similar meeting where a month-long vote was also launched. Weekly reminders were published in local papers letting people know ballot boxes were available in two local businesses as well as online.
Director Foisy chose to stand by his word and support his community. He signed the resolution his community voted on before it got sent out to pertinent organizations throughout Canada.
Director Fairbairn on the other hand is now choosing not to represent the will of his community, saying the vote was not representative when in fact, voter turnout was the same as it is for most community issues. For example, voter turnout for Vernon's sports facilities was 18%, yet was called “a healthy sample” by councillor Nicol.
Therefore, we clarify that:
- The vote was not held at a partisan meeting, but lasted one month. Ballot boxes were prominently placed at 2 local businesses and voting online was also available.
- Bee SAFE did not jump the gun. On the contrary, Bee SAFE waited 6 weeks after closing of the vote before mailing out the Resolution.
- The vote is representative and valid. Every ballot was double checked and although every member of amilies known to grow GM crops in the area voted against the resolution, 92.8 % voted for it.
- Never did Bee SAFE represent the vote as coming from RDNO. On the contrary Bee SAFE made it very clear that it was doing all this work because RDNO refused to take a stand.
Director Macnabb's statement about not knowing where fact and opinion begin is surprising, since he has been presented with countless scientifically supported references over the years that, as a director, he is expected to read and verify. To use “personal choice” as a reason to do nothing is illogical since the very reason to stop growing GM crops is precisely to stop the contamination that results from GM crops and that removes all personal choices.
As the US wheat exports are threatened by GM contamination, as Europe turns its back on GM corn, and as more and more GM crops fail, it is disheartening to see that the two directors whose salaries and expenses combined top the list of RDNO, have not bothered understanding the facts about an issue that is so important and urgent.