Madam Speaker, I would like to thank all the speakers who took the time to come to the House to express their points of view. Although I do not agree with everything that was said, I would nevertheless like to thank them for taking the time to speak.
First of all, I would like to respond to my colleagues who imputed motives to me that I do not have. They seemed to insinuate that I want to ban GMOs or to find fault with the GMO industry, when that is not at all my intention. My only intention is to respond to consumers who have repeatedly expressed their desire to know more about what they eat.
The Prime Minister himself, in a television appearance in 2016, approved of this desire to know more about what we eat. That is all I want to do. I am very surprised to hear some of my colleagues imputing other motives to me and saying that this is an anti-GMO campaign. That is patently false.
What surprised me the most in today's debate is what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said. I do not want to quote him incorrectly, but he basically said that giving consumers more information would result in misinformation. That is ridiculous. That suggests that he thinks Canadians are too stupid to figure things out and will be misled by labels with too much information. Come on. It does not make any sense to say that Canadians will have too much information and that it will not be useful to them. He is not giving Canadians very much credit for their intelligence. I wanted to respond to that comment by the parliamentary secretary.
On another note, I want to thank all those who have helped to advance this cause over the past few decades and those who have continued that work in recent weeks. It has been a pleasure to work with them to advance this cause and to try get Canadians the information they deserve.
If the House of Commons really is the House of the common people or, in other words, if it truly represents the people of Canada, and it does not vote in favour of Bill C-291, at least at second reading, there is going to be a major problem, because 80% of the population has asked for this information many times.
If this House truly represents Canadians, it must be consistent and it must take action to give Canadians what they have been calling for in recent years. If parliamentarians do not acknowledge these statistics and at least send this bill to committee for further study, then our democracy has failed.
That being said, I am open to amendments and further study in committee. Today we talked about the definition of genetically modified foods. That will remain in the hands of the government, who will consult industry stakeholders through a regulatory process. That will not happen overnight. This process will run its course like the others. Then we will have the opportunity to discuss the definition and try to align our standards with those of our economic and trading partners.
If 64 other nations label GMOs, there is no reason for Canada not to as well. If this is being done by our main economic partners, including Europe, with whom we have signed an agreement, then we should be doing this too, and then adjusting and harmonizing our regulations. This is critical to our trade agreements.
I encourage all my colleagues to support this bill, if only to refer it to committee in order to study it more thoroughly.