A front page story in the November 5 edition of the Manitoba Cooperator newspaper doesn’t cast a flattering light on our federal agriculture minister. The story is by reporter Allan Dawson and it’s about the Chinese blockage of Canadian canola due to concerns over blackleg. According to the story, agriculture minister Gerry Ritz said that he told Chinese officials that they needn’t fear their farmers growing Canadian canola because the seed won’t grow. The direct quote by Ritz in the paper is, “I assured them that with the varieties we have now, it’s not going to work because they all have Terminator seeds in them, it’s all genetically modified to get the oil quantity up.” The fact is that Terminator technology is not being used and seed will of course germinate and grow. That’s why canola readily volunteers the year following a crop. It is true that with hybrid varieties, the seed won’t produce as good a crop. However, the comments by Ritz seem to indicate that he has a lot of misconceptions about canola production. If that’s the case, he needs to be better briefed before spreading misinformation to foreign officials. There’s a lot to know about all the different sectors of agriculture and we all have misconceptions. Gerry Ritz should have people around him to help avoid making such errors. I’m Kevin Hursh.