---Fields of Gold
FTLComm - Tisdale - July 13, 2000
Its that time of the year when across the prairies the yellow fever hits as the canola fields blast their golden flowers as far as the eye can see. This year's crop is running a bit behind the last two years but not especially behind the over all average as the cool weather in June caused a delay in development. After an abundant supply of moisture and with temperatures approaching thirty today this year's crop will have a chance to catch up.

Anti fungal spraying continues in the area on Barley and legume crops while the canola is presently looking good and no additional spraying is anticipated right now.

This week a conference in Saskatoon on GMO (genetically modified organisms) continues to make headlines and its time to quote hockey commentator Harry Neale on this one. Harry, during a Stanley Cup play off game a few years back, remarked when the referees were a little mixed up, Harry told the viewers that "if they weren't confused, they haven't been paying attention." So it is with the discussions about genetically modified organisms.

This morning the Saskatchewan Premier's voice was added to the issue as his speech from last night was broadcast on radio as he turned his criticisim toward the news media for having mislead the public about GMOs and that the developers needed only to "tell the truth" and things would straighten out. It would really be nice if that were the case but the premier's attack on news folks is complete unwarranted.

The facts of this issue are that damn few facts exist. The reason the media has had a tough time with the story is that little is known and speculation is rampant. Monsanto and its fellow twisted science world don't know and from their statements, and based on their tendency to mislead the public in the past has lead the tree huggers to be extremely sceptical.

This morning as I was out to take these pictures I drove into the new subdivision of Tisdale which was developed last year and is awaiting home owners to buy the lots and build new houses on the property. I was struck with the growth on these empty lots. About 75% of the area is in Canola flower and the rest appears to be a mixture of clover and other grasses. All of the area is volunteer, no planting, no spraying, nothing but the elements of nature are at work on this field, yet there it is. You will recall in a recent trial Monsanto's "experts" reported that Canola would not spread more then 35 metres on its own, yet there before me this morning is a field a quarter of a mile away from seeded Canola.

It is no wonder that the public in Europe and here in North America have such a deep distrust of the big business oriented agricultural genetic modification world. Their short term profits are worth lying for in their terms of reference and without long term testing and more concentrated simulation studies, there is no way to assess what could happen ecologically with the manipulations of genetic material that has already taken place.

Almost thirty years ago Dr. David Suzuki, then with the Unversity of British Columbia, began with others, a very deliberate campaign to warn the public of what was then called "recombinant DNA" research. The UBC establishment had Suzuki fired from his professorship, but his warnings were based on the knowledge and awareness that comes from working intently in a science field that was about to tamper with the basic building blocks of life itself. The possible negative consequences of such action seemed then almost inevidable and hence the raising of red flags demanding that such research be terminated. Those warnings were not heeded then and they are not been heeded now, there are big profits to be made and if there are long term genetic and ecological damage, so what, the share holders will have their profits and mergers will have snuffed out the companies that carried out the developments.

Canola was developed by plant breeding, a selective and refined art that has been part of agriculture since time began and it is only in recent time that genetic alterations have been introduced to accellerate the modification process. It is not the people in the news media who are building the fears and concerns, it is the failure of the science/business community to do responsible testing to see what their creations could and may produce.