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Introduction TCMW March 2011

On the surface, the defeat of Bill C-474 in a parliamentary vote on Feb. 9 was a resounding victory


February 28, 2011
By Ralph Pearce

On the surface, the defeat of Bill C-474 in a parliamentary vote on Feb. 9 was a resounding victory. From the left-minded media, the bill was a safeguard of Canadian farmers against the risks and ravages of blocked export markets. In reality, the bill really served to do little more than arm the misinformed with even more ammunition.

I make that assertion based on the comments I read in reaction to the bill’s defeat. On the Friday following the vote, there were more than 100 comments on the story about how one seed/trait company, in particular, had effectively hijacked all public and private debate to serve its own selfish wants and desires, ignoring the needs of the consumer and forcing people to buy genetically modified food.

Wow!

If that string of ignorance and inaccuracy wasn’t so appalling and frightening, it might have been hysterically funny. But it is not even remotely amusing. Years ago, when the first biotech innovations were launched, anti-GMO camps were united in the phrase, “The genie’s out of the bottle…  and it’s never going back!” And there were advocates of trait innovation and advances that warned against scoffing at that sentiment, saying that those who feared or hated the biotech revolution had to be acknowledged, if for no other reason than the growing phenomenon of “perception is reality.”

As I read the comments from the readership of the Globe and Mail’s story on the defeat of Bill C-474, I realized that there is a new genie, one born of extreme ignorance and an over-reliance on technology. 

We used to trust the media to bring us factual details of events and informed opinion on public affairs. But our social media – the Internet (to a large extent), Facebook and Twitter – have had the unfortunate effect of denigrating the sanctity of accuracy and integrity. Now that we have “citizen reporters” and a sense of entitlement when it comes to garnering our 15 minutes of fame, accuracy and integrity have gone the way of proper grammar and sentence structure. There are few rewards for hard work and grasping the nuances of a particular expertise. Now, we have newspaper readers who believe they can comment on a subject as complex as biotech innovation, with all of the expertise and acumen of a PhD researcher. 

This is where I find the times especially frustrating. Because this ignorant, arrogant and belligerent genie is out of the bottle, and it is never going back. Why should it? Who is going to try to force it?  Those of us in the farm media? We don’t have the time to fight the mainstream media and  the exceptional ignorance that results and is expanding. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day, the week, the month or the year, to try to undo the damage that comes from newspapers, television, radio and the social media.

We might as well try pushing water uphill.

And it really bothers me to admit that.

In this issue of Top Crop Manager
No matter the business, we always strive to do better; whether it’s expanding on one aspect or streamlining another, the goal is usually the same. With the 2011 edition of our March-West issue, we are featuring a “fit and trim” Weed Control Guide, with more formulations and a tighter overall look to the pages. We hope you find it just as easy to use and just as valuable to keep with you as winter releases its grip and allows glimpses of the spring to come.

Spring just keeps getting closer.


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