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MEDIA ADVISORY: Canadian NGO demands answers from Ottawa after expulsion from trade dispute panel

February 23, 2024 

The Northumberland chapter of the Council of Canadians was removed from CUSMA panel on Mexico’s GM corn ban at the request of US and Canadian governments


Northumberland, ON – Following their abrupt expulsion from a CUSMA trade dispute panel, a Canadian NGO is pressing the government for answers about why it backed their removal.

As a CUSMA dispute settlement panel considers Mexico’s new law banning the import of some genetically engineered corn, the Northumberland Chapter of the Council of Canadians was invited in December to submit a document in support of the law. But just a few weeks later, the group was informed by the Panel that the invite had been rescinded at the request of the U.S. and Canadian governments.

This week, the group penned a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Ministers Joly, Ng, and MacAulay, endorsed by 20 other chapters of the Council of Canadians, to ask why Ottawa backed the U.S. in preventing the group from providing research and arguments to the panel.

“Our organization was in touch with Canada’s four Ministries in 2023 on the issue of Mexico trying to protect both the heritage of 9,000 years of Indigenous maize landraces and the health of the country’s current population from GM corn pollution. We never received a response,” writes Rick Arnold from the chapter in the letter.

The group also raised questions about why the government is challenging the corn ban to begin with, particularly considering that Canada doesn’t export any corn to Mexico at all.

“As Canada challenges Mexico to stop its planned phase-out of GM corn for human consumption, a too-close collaboration between our federal government departments and the biotechnology industry has just been exposed,” the letter says.

A full copy of the letter is available here.


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