Regulations are often disliked by by both producers and consumers. Producers think there is too much red tape and consumers think regulators are too accommodating to business. But when the regulatory system works – when it trusted and predictable – everyone benefits.
The recent Canola Discovery Forum at Banff, Alta., brought together a host of actors from the canola industry to talk about ways to find common ground. I had a chance to chat with Chris Anderson, canola technology lead with Bayer CropScience, about the need for a trusted regulatory framework that still gets products to market in a timely fashion.
With science at the centre of the regulatory process innovation is can be embraced without reservation. In this way the process is not arbitrary and new ideas can be embraced without fear. In very simple terms Anderson outlines what is needed. “We need a science based regulatory system that really provides an opportunity to commercialize technology.”
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Everyone benefits when the system is rigorous, but there is a difference between rigorous and adversarial. As Anderson says, “We want to make sure there is robust assessments going on of new technologies but that it is a predictable system where we can bring these new products forward.”
Anderson approaches the process by assuming there are more similarities than differences. He says, “I think environmentalists and farmers are not always misaligned. Maybe there is some disagreement about the how, but there’s no better steward of the land or the environment than farmers. They want to see long term sustainability. They want to make sure their land, their operations are there for generations to come”