Category Archives: Canadian Politics & Food

Update on Bill C-474

Update on Bill C-474: Hearings to continue in the Fall, New action
option coming later this week.

June 14, 2010

The House of Commons Agriculture Committee hearings on Bill C-474 got
off to a shaky start as the first hearing on June 2nd was interrupted
by votes in the House and there was only one other hearing, on June
7th. Hearings may now be suspended until the Fall, to be followed by a
final vote (possibly in October).

On June 2, Bill sponsor NDP Agriculture Critic Alex Atamanenko
testified as well as industry associations. On June 7, alfalfa
producers testified in strong support of Bill C-474. The transcript
from June 7 is not yet available.

Continue reading

Health Canada’s response to my email: GE alfalfa & wheat

By April Reeves, June 2, 2010

Another pathetic response from Health Canada. I have had many emails suggesting a class action suit against them, and I think it’s time to change them out, however we plan to do it.

My email:

Continue reading

Maple Leaf Foods Responds To Enviropig

April Reeves, June 1, 2010

I am on the bandwagon with the Enviropig. It stinks. Literally. So I asked Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada’s largest hog producers, what their position was on Enviropig, and this was their answer:

May 21, 2010


Case #622843



Dear Ms. Reeves,


Thank you for your recent inquiry.


We are monitoring the situation and no decision has been made at this time. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us at our toll-free number of 1-800-268-3708.


Sincerely,

Jackie Verdez
Consumer Response Representative

– – –

Wow, how amazing, to get a response from a customer rep! I feel honored, Maple Leaf.

So, I am going to continue with my quest for information, and I am urging you to follow along. Below are emails and names of those in Maple Leaf who may actually answer us from Canada with something intelligent to say.

Please contact these nice folks with your question: “What is Maple Leaf’s response to the Enviropig? Will Maple Leaf allow the Enviropig into our food chain?”

And let them know that Canadians don’t want it!

CBAN’s link to Minister of Health: http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/Enviropig This is easy to follow and do, so please take a minute to do this.

Maple Leaf:

Contact Maple Leaf: http://www.mapleleaf.com/en/corporate/contact-us/request-form/

Investor Relations: singerdi@mapleleaf.ca (they really need to hear you)!

Results of our GMO Movie Showing

April Reeves, May 24 2010

I thought it would be appropriate to post the results from our first Free Movie Showing evening on the 22nd of May.

The showing was held in the Ralph Fisher Auditorium which holds around 160 people. It was almost packed out, and many people came and went (hospital staff from Richmond General next door!). Once we broke into Q&A, no one left. Many great questions were answered by a panel of 4: Arzeena Hamir, Larry Tolton, Teresa Quach and April Reeves.

Nature’s Path was a sponsor and provided the granola bars for the event. I will be sending them flowers – what a wonderful company! And really great food by the way – to those who haven’t sampled their cereals yet.

We also had free Heirloom bean and pea seeds to start planting your GMO-free garden. A draw to win one of 2 full gardens ready-to-plant was a big hit at the end. The plants went to a good home 🙂

Many ‘active’ GMO activists showed up: April Goodman and Inge Hanle being just 2 of the many, but 2 vocal ones.

Discussions around current issues was hot: Bill C-474, Enviropig, CETA: Canadian European Trade Agreement, Codex and Terminator trees were discussed.

It is also being discussed to take this event into every other municipality in the lower mainland. What was learned is that most people in the urban/city areas have no idea about their food. They have no idea what a GMO is. It’s time to begin a long procedure of educating them. This is one of the few ways we can stop these potentially harmful foods from entering our system permanently, keep our freedom of choice and stop corporate control of Canada.

We will also work with others that wish to lead their groups into pushing for GE Free zones around BC as well. This is more important than ever now. If we sit idly by and say nothing, do nothing, our world as we know it will be gone. This is not the future we want to leave our children.

You can make a HUGE difference right now!

This is minimal effort with maximum effect: there is a poll on this website that asks if you want Richmond BC to be a GE Free zone – cast your vote asap before the poll disappears. There is power in the YES vote: scroll down the page and the poll is on the left hand side 2/3 of the way down. Thanks – in advance – to everyone that votes yes!

http://www.bclocalnews.com/richmond_southdelta/richmondreview/

Article posts for GMO: May 20

April: There just wasn’t enough time in the day to post the really good stuff in full, so I am going to start listing the links to articles I think you may want or need.

HRAC members decide to boycott Genetically Modified foods

French Wine to Be Modified Genetically

Prisoners turn over a new leaf with eye on environment

Orwell-Speak Award Goes to Canada’s GM “Enviropig”

Protesters Block Monsanto in the Netherlands – Demanding End to GMOs

Facebook Page (Arzeena Hamir, GE Free Steering Committee) on Roger’s Sugar: asking us to send Roger’s an email on GMO Sugarbeets. Please let Roger’s know that you will not buy their products anymore.

Chemtrails and Monsanto’s New Aluminum Resistance Gene – Coincidence?

Monsanto Plant Shut Down by Activists in Europe

Lawsuit seeks to ban genetically modified sugar beets

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A group of Oregon farmers are seeking an injunction against this year’s planting of Monsanto’s genetically engineered sugar beets. The groups of organic farmers, food safety advocates and conservationists, is seeking to persuade a judge to ban the crop until the USDA provides a proper environmental impact statement proving that the crops are safe and that they will not cross-contaminate nearby fields.

The debate over whether or not to allow GE crops into the food supply has been a hotly debated one, but the biotech industry has been the side unable to prove that its products are safe. Those concerned about the negative consequences of GE crops have plenty of unresolved questions that demand answers prior to any GE crop being approved. Yet in reality, the USDA has succumbed to industry pressure instead, jeopardizing the entire food industry.

Nearly half of the nation’s sugar beets are genetically modified. They can be found planted on more than one million acres across ten states. The beets have been engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s “RoundUp” herbicide, but their components are not limited to the fields in which they are planted, spreading across the landscape via pollen and seeds carried in the wind. Because it is impossible to track where GE plant fragments end up, there is no ensuring that any crop is truly non-GE or organic.

Continue reading

Stop “Enviropig”: Take action to stop GM Animals in Canada

Stop “EnviroPig”! Take Action today to stop genetically modified
animals.

Write to the Minister of Health instantly from http://www.cban.ca/enviropigaction

Health Canada could soon approve the first genetically modified (GM)
animal for human consumption. The University of Guelph has applied for
food safety approval of its GM pig – they call it “Enviropig”.

The GM pig contains genetic material from a mouse and E-coli bacteria,
and is engineered to excrete less phosphorus in its feces. Its owners
claim that “Enviropig” can reduce water pollution caused by excess
pig manure that comes from industrial factory farms. A GM pig is not
needed to solve this problem. Pigs can be raised without causing
phosphorus pollution – by making changes to production practices or
using an enzyme feed supplement that helps pigs digest grains.

“Enviropig” is not needed by farmers and is not wanted by consumers.
“Enviropig” is unacceptable and will harm the markets for Canada’s
hog producers at a time of severe economic crisis in the industry.

Health Canada is wasting precious public resources trying to assess the safety of a GM animal that no one wants. Health Canada does not have the capacity to regulate this complex technology for human safety.

Write to the Minister of Health today from http://www.cban.ca/enviropigaction
and tell her that GM animals are not acceptable in our food system.
Tell her that you don’t want to eat “Enviropig”

For more information on “Enviropig” and how you can join the campaign
visit http://www.cban.ca/enviropig

Donate today to support the campaign to stop “Enviropig” http://www.cban.ca/donate

This action alert was issued May 18 2010, by the Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network www.cban.ca in partnership with Beyond
Factory Farming www.beyondfactoryfarming.org

Join us in building the campaign: http://www.cban.ca/enviropig

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
Fax: 613 241 2506
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca

Take action to Stop “Envriopig”: No GM Animals http://www.cban.ca/enviropig
Donate Today http://www.cban.ca/donate
Subscribe to the CBAN News and Action Listserve http://www.cban.ca/About/CBAN-e-News

Pesticides and ADHD: new tests prove links for children

April: finally, a study showing links with pesticides and ADHD in children! But did they study the links; where the pesticides came from – the sprayed pesticide or the pesticide that lives within every cell on a GMO RoundUp Ready plant? The plant that is found in almost every packaged and processed food in North America? This remains to be studied…

Pesticide link to ADHD in children: Study

Agence France-Presse: Monday, May 17, 2010

WASHINGTON – Children exposed to higher levels of pesticide found on commercially grown fruit and vegetables in the United States were more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published Monday.

Researchers in the United States and Canada studied data from 1,139 children aged between 8 and 15 and found that children with higher residue levels of pesticides known as organophosphates were roughly twice as likely to have ADHD, the study in the Journal of Pediatrics found.

Continue reading

Free GMO Movie Showing May 22

Don’t forget: May 22 is our Free Movie Showing! GMO’s: Panacea or Poison (see poster below).

First 100 participants receive a package of heritage/heirloom pea and bean seeds to plant. Plus we have a draw to win a small garden of heirloom and ancients vegetable plants!

The movie is an hour long, with a guest speaker panel at the end to answer any of your questions. So come on the 22nd and get informed about GMO foods, crops and trees. Why you should care and what you can do.

Kelowna Doctor to participate in GMO Workshop

A short note to everyone coming this evening to our GMO Workshop in Vancouver:

We have 2 special guests coming from Kelowna: Dr. Wittel MD and Nutritionist Heidi Osterman are driving in today to attend the workshop!

Their presence is wonderful – Dr. Wittel has many years of activist experience. Heidi Osterman is interested in bringing this message forward to more people. This workshop is a perfect venue for them to work with interested and enthusiastic activists.

I have been asked by several US groups to work on this: creating a model on workshops for others to use and follow. Together we have great power – let’s make this workshop a “model” for how to do it right!

GMO Workshop 7-9pm

Wednesday May 12 2010 (today)

Unitarian Church, Vancouver, Oak street and 49th.

Canada & Codex: GM labeling – US Increasingly Isolated

Canada at the UN Codex meeting on GM food labeling: Negotiations continue, U.S. increasingly isolated

Your actions worked – again!

Thanks to your letters, the Canadian government delegation to the UN
Codex meeting last week did not boldly ally itself with the U.S.
position against GM food labeling. The U.S. failed in their attempts
to stop the negotiations.

The Canadian government did not speak up to support the nonsensical
position from the U.S. that GM foods are no different from foods
produced through conventional methods. Though not yet actively
supporting a positive position on GM labeling, Canada did not obstruct
the meeting and the U.S. was not able to put an end to the
negotiations. Out of the over 50 countries at the negotiations, the
U.S. was only supported in its position by Mexico, Costa Rica, and
Argentina.

Codex recommendations on GM labeling could protect developing
countries from challenges brought through the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. was trying to put an end to the UN Codex negotiations on GM
labeling but the negotiations will continue. There will be an
important Codex meeting in May 2011 in Quebec City – and we must
continue to pressure the Minister of Health. The Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) will continue to take action and
monitor this issue, as well as collaborate with U.S. groups. Please
see below from Consumers Union in the U.S.

For updates and more information: http://www.cban.ca/labeling

Please consider your donation to support this campaign http://www.cban.ca/donate

May 10, 2010 Update

Press Release: Consumers Union Calls on U.S. to Support Genetically Modified Food Labeling Agreement

U.S. Stands Nearly Alone in Opposition at Recent International Meeting

Yonkers, NY—Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer
Reports, today called on the Obama Administration to endorse a
compromise on guidelines for labeling of genetically modified (GM)/
genetically engineered (GE) food, that was supported by the
overwhelming majority of nations during international negotiations
last week in Canada.  Consumers Union again expressed serious concerns
that the current U.S. position in opposition to the compromise on GE/
GM labeling could create major problems in the long term for U.S. and
foreign producers who want to label their products as free of GM/GE
ingredients.

Continue reading

Superweeds have arrived and threaten US agriculture

By April Reeves, May 7 2010

I read it across the ‘ticker’ on CNN yesterday: US farmers deal with super weeds: single worst production threat in the history of agriculture we have ever seen. Strong words. Now, CNN often is a bit ‘expressive’ in their dialogue, but this time I have to agree.

What surprises me are the people who are surprised. Really, it was a matter of time, like many of the issues of GM crops that will eventually surface. We have said for how long now – it’s not sustainable to mess with Mother Nature. But no one listened. 3 of the big GM crops have super weeds: corn, cotton and soy.

So we ‘heretics’ and ‘fear mongers’ once again shake our heads and laugh. It was evident to anyone with any thread of common sense and vision that this day would come. And it came fast.

You can only sustain healthy agriculture through diversity in your crop choices. Monocrops (single plant crops) will eventually fall prey to either disease or in this case, resistance. I’m sure the bugs will be a tough one to destroy this year as well. Climate change as well, demands a biodiversity in order to survive. It’s the old way, but it’s THE way. While man runs around trying to fix everything, even that which is not broken, eventually it will bite him in the butt.

Farmers are curious: if they have to work longer hours (pulling weeds), do the same things they were doing before GM crops (tilling, changing chemicals), then why spend the extra money on GM seeds? While corn and some soy and cotton may prove higher yields, that should not be a concern any more: what matters is profit, and commodity crops are losing their value as junk food processors demand lower and lower prices to compete.

It’s a treadmill that’s almost impossible to get off of. We have been fed a promise that’s now leading us into chemical dependency.

So what does all this mean?

Unless Monsanto can either engineer another type of plant, or create stronger, nastier chemical pesticides, they have succeeded in taking out mass amounts of shareholder value. Creating new crops take millions of dollars. If these crops have a short duration before they implode and turn useless, the value is just not there for investors. So by subjecting farmers to stronger chemicals is the answer? No wonder young people have no interested in going int0 mass agriculture. They are moving into organics and traditional farming instead. Children are growing up much smarter than many of the older folks…

Farmers will incur additional costs trying to maintain what was suppose to be an easy, infallible system. Those costs will be passed on to the consumer, unless the tab is picked up by government subsidies (that would be you, the taxpayer).

Maybe we should take a page from our antibiotics book for super germs. Don’t we learn anything from history? Especially recent history.

Farm income drops to staggering lows

From the Western Producer paper, May 6 2010

Farm income predictions grim

Projections 91 percent below 2009

The 2010 farm income projections are devastating.
Agriculture Canada released them with little fanfare in late April, which is later than normal.
A sector that will produce $41.6 billion in farmgate receipts this year will return $291.5 million to farmers in realized net income after depreciation. It is a 91 percent reduction from 2009 levels.
Several provinces will be in deficit, including Ontario and Alberta.
The hog and cattle sectors will be hit particularly hard, according to the numbers prepared by and agreed to by federal and provincial officials.
The forecast projects a 12 percent increase in program payments to $3.76 billion despite an Agriculture Canada longer-term projection of a sharp decline in government support over the next three years.
National and provincial leaders affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture called the numbers a clear signal that federal programs are not working.
“The government’s own forecasts show deep losses for many commodities and highlight that the business risk management programs currently in place were not designed to function with today’s unique set of economic circumstances,” CFA president Laurent Pellerin said in a statement.

Next Wednesday – GMO Workshop for GM Activists

Monsanto takes on CBAN re: Bill C-474: Students in Vancouver take action

Please see below that Monsanto is fighting back to stop Bill C-474
and CBAN’s successful campaign.
1. The industry arguments are desperate  and make very little sense – stay tuned for CBAN rebuttal of industry  arguments: “If you let groups like CBAN offer their comment I don’t think it really has any interest whatsoever in protecting farmers’
rights to access to new technology.” – Trish Jordan, Monsanto Canada
(from below article)

2. House of Commons Agriculture Committee hearings on Bill C-474 will
happen in late May and early June.

3. Your actions continue: Vancouver Kingsway NDP MP Don Davies
presented a petition in the House of Commons April 29 in support of
Bill C-474, signed by well over 100 students, organized by Chanel and
Cassandra Ly, Emily Chan and Brendan Chan. “These students took the
leadership and initiative to educate their classmates about this
important issue raised by this bill and I am proud to present their
views in Parliament on their behalf. These students want to protect
the environment, ensure the health of Canadians and support community
food producers. I join with them in calling for the swift passage of
this bill through committee and into law,” said Mr. Davies in the
House of Commons. You can download the petition from http://www.cban.ca/474
and request your MP to present in the House also.

Article:

Continue reading

How To Create A GMO Event

This is a post for those interested in hosting an event to bring awareness to GMO issues. It follows our May 22 event: Plant Your GE Free Garden and free movie showing.

Real Event as a Model: Step by Step Guidance

by April Reeves:

I’m going to write about a real event I’m organizing. May 22 is the date. Ralph Fisher Auditorium is the venue: holds 300+ people and I intend to fill it. Here’s how:

Continue reading

If you ever wanted to make a difference…

Interesting little clock…

I don’t usually post this sort of thing, but this is a clock that may put a great deal into perspective. Also realize, as you’re looking at some of the numbers, that the loss of forests (for crops) and the desertification (pesticide use) has a great deal to do with GM foods: there is a higher loss of forests and natural land today than ever before: the cows have nothing on GMO’s for devastation and destruction!

World Clock

Canada-EU trade agreement damaging

From The Western Producer April 20 2010

By Terry Boehm, National Farmers Union

Canada and the European Union are negotiating a new free trade agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
This agreement with the EU is no small matter for farmers. The CETA, if implemented, will, as much as the North American Free Trade Agreement or the World Trade Organization, transform Canadian agriculture and farms. And not for the better. The CETA will further intensify Canada’s farm income crisis.
The CETA would mean many changes, but none would be more negative or sweeping than its effect to extinguish farmers’ rights to save and use seeds.
Worse, the agreement would give enforcement powers to any corporation that asserted a farmer had infringed the company’s intellectual property rights.
The CETA would require Canada to implement the UPOV ’91 version of plant breeders’ rights (PBR). That version of the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties would virtually eliminate farmers’ rights to save, reuse and sell seed.

Urgent Action Alert ? Support GM Food Labeling – Take action before May 5, 2010

Tell the Minister of Health that Canada must support the right of
countries to label genetically modified (GM) foods. Send a letter
instantly from
http://www.cban.ca/labelingaction

Canada could work to shut down negotiations on GM labeling at the UN Codex meeting next week in Quebec City.

May 3-7, governments will negotiate food labeling standards at the UN Codex meeting, including recommendations on GM labeling. The US is trying to stop the negotiations from continuing, and Canada may also try to end the negotiations.

Developing countries want support from Codex for their right to label
GM foods. The US and Canada want to make sure this doesn’t happen
because Codex recommendations on GM labeling could protect developing
countries from challenges brought through the World Trade Organization.

Canada and the US also argue that GM foods are not any different from
foods created through conventional methods. This is not supported by
science, including Codex’s own food safety guidelines!

Despite polls that show over 80% of Canadians want mandatory labeling of GM foods, the Canadian government continues to bow to intense pressure from the biotech industry and refuses to label GM foods.

Help protect the rights of developing countries to label GM foods!
Take action before May 5, 2010 at http://www.cban.ca/labelingaction

For more updates and for information on labeling and Codex see http://www.cban.ca/labeling

This action alert was issued by the Canadian Biotechnology Action
Network, April 29, 2010 www.cban.ca
Donate to support the campaign today http://www.cban.ca/donate

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
Fax: 613 241 2506
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca

Your actions worked! MPs voted for Bill C-474! (it will now be studied by the Agriculture Committee.)
For more updates and action http://www.cban.ca/474
Donate today http://www.cban.ca/donate

Organic practices can feed the world

Be not troubled by Robert Paarlberg’s scaremongering. Organic practices can feed the world — better, in fact, than wasteful industrial farming.

In May 2004, Catherine Badgley, an evolutionary biology professor at the University of Michigan, took her students on a research trip to an organic farm near their campus. Standing on the acre-and-a-half farm, Badgley asked the farmer, Rob MacKercher, how much food he produces annually. “Twenty-seven tons,” he said. Badgley did the quick math: That’s enough to provide 150 families one pound of produce every single day of the year.

“If he can grow that quantity on this tiny parcel,” Badgley wondered, “why can’t organic agriculture feed the world?” That question was the genesis of a multi-year, multidisciplinary study to explore whether we could, indeed, feed the world with organic, sustainable methods of farming. The results? A resounding yes.

Unfortunately, you don’t hear about this study, or others with similar findings, in “Attention Whole Foods Shoppers,” Robert Paarlberg’s defense of industrial agriculture in the new issue of Foreign Policy. Instead, organic agriculture, according to Paarlberg, is an “elite preoccupation,” a “trendy cause” for “purist circles.” Sure, sidling up to a Whole Foods in your Lexus SUV and spending $24.99 on artisan fromage may be the trappings of a privileged foodie, but there’s an SUV-sized difference between obsessing about the texture of your goat cheese and arguing for a more sustainable food system. Despite Paarlberg’s pronouncements, Badgley’s research, along with much more evidence, helps us see that what’s best for the planet and for people — especially small-scale farmers who are the hungriest among us — is a food system based on agroecological practices. What’s more, Paarlberg’s impressive-sounding statistics veil the true human and ecological cost we are paying with industrial agriculture.

Continue reading

Conservative Party makes huge blunder in GMO email

Written by April Reeves, Director, GE Free BC

I was forwarded this email today from a colleague. It’s a response from Conservative MP Alice Wong regarding their stance on Bill C-474. This response clearly states how little the Conservative party thinks about our rights, freedom, and intelligence. Read on:

Dear Alice Wong, MP, Richmond, Conservative Party,

On April 28, 2010, you sent a response to a fellow named ‘Bruno Vernier’ regarding Bill C-474. I would like to remind you of this email, and I have a few comments about your response you should hear. Your email:

Dear Bruno,

You are absolutely correct that we are to represent the citizens of Richmond,

and that most of the e-mails we received asked us to vote for C-474. However,

our Parliamentary system isn’t totally based on referendum or constituency

majority wishes.  An MP isn’t just elected to a “puppet” of the electorate.

They are elected for their ability to lead as well as for their willingness to

follow consensus.  Yes, a good MP works hard at listening to his or her

consitutents and representing them well.  But by electing an MP, constituents

are also placing on them a mantle of authority, a “trust quotient” if you

will, to go to Ottawa and vote as they see best on issues of national

importance.  This may not always be the “popular” position and ultimately each

MP faces accountability for that at the election booth.  But they will also

run for reelection on their expertise and skill, not just on being a “puppet”

of constituents’ wishes. Parliamentary democracy has a lot of nuances to it

and there are some grey areas in how it plays itself out on the daily

political arena. The main objective of both sides was to support Canadian

farmers, and we listened to the large number of farmers who asked the

government to defeat this bill.

Voting against the C-474 was not an attempt to stifle debate over the issue.

Back in October 27, 2009, the Agriculture Committee passed a motion to study

genetically modified organisms, and the first hearing on the subject was held

on December 3. We agree that we should have a debate on the issue of GMOs in

committee; approving the substance of the bill in principle was not necessary

to facilitate that debate.

Although we have two differing opinions on the issue, I wish to thank you for

your civility and sharp grasp of the issues you advocate. We receive many

generic e-mails asking for support for different issues, but only a few take

the time to share their personal views and articulate them so well. Thank you

for dialoguing with us.

All the best,

Micah Au, Constituency Office of Alice Wong, MP for Richmond

– – –

Lets start at the beginning.

First off, you DO in fact work for the people who voted you in. It’s called Democracy, a term the Conservatives have forgotten about.

Continue reading

CBAN: Laura Rance explains GMO problems Canadian Politicians need to know

Our voice is being heard and understood – Please see below a
significant editorial by Laura Rance, long time agriculture journalist and editor of the Manitoba Cooperator.

Critics of GM crops vindicated over time:  Multinationals control seed supply

By: Laura Rance http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/critics-of-gm-crops-vindicated-over-time-91180074.html

Just over a decade has passed since the use of genetically modified
crops on Prairie farms became widespread.

Although farmers have wholeheartedly embraced them, some of the
downsides predicted by early critics — which were pooh-poohed by the
experts — have also turned out to be true.

It turns out, cross-contamination does occur between genetically
modified (GM) and non-GM crops, such as the spread of volunteer
herbicide-resistant canola genes into other farmers’ fields.

It can also take place in the lab — as illustrated by the seepage of
GM-variety CDC Triffid flax into the Prairie flax seed supply.

Continue reading

CBAN: Could Canada-Europe trade deal eliminate seed saving?

Canada-Europe trade deal could virtually eliminate farmers’ rights to save seed: National Farmers Union

The third round of trade negotiations with Europe concludes this week
in Ottawa – National Farmers Union says leaked draft text reveals that
the Canada-Europe trade deal could virtually eliminate farmers’ rights
to save seed in Canada. GMOs exempt from the agreement as European
opposition continues. For more information see http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/Trade
National Farmers Union, Press Release, April 21, 2010

Secret text of Canada-EU Trade Deal Released: The agreement may be the largest single issue on farm-policy horizon.

OTTAWA, Ont. NFU President Terry Boehm was in Ottawa Monday to
participate in the release of a draft text of the Canada-EU
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).  The NFU is a
partner in the newly-formed Trade Justice Network, the group that
released the text.  Boehm also spoke at a well-attended evening
meeting in Ottawa dealing with the CETA.

“We now have in-hand a proposed agreement that would reshape Canadian
agriculture: reducing farm support program spending; radically
rewriting the laws that govern farmers’ seed saving and re-use; and
probably in the future, opening another front in the attacks against
the Canadian Wheat Board and supply management,” said NFU President
Boehm.

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Free Movie Showing and Guest Speaker Panel

You can RSVP at: aprilreeves@shaw.ca or show up at the door. All RSVP seats will be reserved.

Guest Panel includes: April Reeves, Director, GE Free BC: Arzeena Hamir, Steering Committee, GE Free BC, Richmond Food Security, Farmland Defense League and other organizations (plus she’s an agrologist): Larry Tolton, Richmond Food Security, multiple generation farmer.

Donations will be accepted. They go towards stamps, paper, toner, envelopes and other materials. All members are volunteers. Sponsor donations include food and coupons: every participant will go home with ‘goodies’.

Hope to see you all there!

New food safety bill could crush local food movement

By Chris Hinyub Sat, Apr 17th 2010

Next week, the Senate will vote on a measure that could potentially extinguish California’s local food movement. Lobbied for by multinational agribusiness giants such as Cargill and Monsanto, as well as supported by the pharmaceutical industry, The Food Safety Modernization Act would impose financially crippling and practically useless regulations on family farms and small-scale food processors according to opponents.

The bill will require all food growers, regardless of size to keep accessible records, have more accountable monitoring and traceability protocols, and impose a blanket $500 registration fee. This means costly radio frequency identification (RFID chips) implanted in livestock as well as (according to the language of the bill) “science based” and “best practices” in agriculture will be mandated.

The FDA could impose standards which mandate, amongst other agribusiness mainstays, the use of highly toxic pesticides, hormones, GMOs and food irradiation practices on any and all growers.

These practices can be arbitrarily determined by the FDA deputy commissioner for foods, Michael Taylor. Interestingly enough, before Taylor found himself in a leading position at the Food and Drug Administration, he went from being Monsanto’s attorney, key in the deregulation of genetically modified organisms, to that company’s vice president.

Continue reading

Investors Dump Monsanto Shares – Friday April 16

Monsanto was one of today’s worst performing stocks, down 0.6% to $65.21 on DJ.

Syngenta SYT Earnings fell short as well, a reported first quarter 2010 revenues of $3.5 billion, just slightly lower than estimates of $3.574 billion. That’s -3% at today’s exchange rate, but -8% at a constant exchange rate to the first quarter of 2009. sales of glyphospate herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup were lower than a year ago.

Like Monsanto Corp. (MON), sales of glyphospate herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup were lower than a year ago. In Sygenta’s case by almost $100 million dollars, a drop of 34% at constant exchange rates.

With the decreasing availability of arable land, water shortages, downstream rivers drying up, and even climate change, the longer-term outlook for Ag-chemical companies is bleak.

The only question is how long does an investor want to or have to wait to realize returns. Monsanto is trying to cut its dependence on Roundup and put more attention on selling seeds. That’s a gamble, and could keep the stock price down. Syngenta seems to be taking the ‘wait-and-see’ approach, banking on higher revenues as the planting season in the northern hemisphere gets into high gear.

Canada: Seeds Regulations Act

FYI: As of April 14, Bill C-474 was passed to the next ’round’. There is a God!

PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS

Note from April: lots of valuable information here…

SEEDS REGULATIONS ACT
The House resumed from March 17 consideration of the motion
that Bill C-474, An Act respecting the Seeds Regulations (analysis of
potential harm), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate
the opportunity to speak to Bill C-474. The intent of Bill C-474, an
act to amend seeds regulations, is to “require that an analysis of
potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any
new genetically engineered seed is permitted”. The intent of this bill
is to require that the federal government amend the seeds regulations
in order to require that that analysis be undertaken.

I will admit that I have mixed opinions on this bill, but I will say
off the top of this debate that I am willing to allow the bill to go to
committee. What in part prompted this legislation was the discovery,
beginning in Europe in July 2009, that Canadian flax exports were
contaminated with the genetically modified flax, Triffid. The
presence of the GM flax was found first in Germany in cereal and
bakery products.

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Study shows GMO crops ‘can cause liver and kidney damage’

Fresh fears were raised over GM crops yesterday after a study showed they can cause liver and kidney damage.

According to the research, animals fed on three strains of genetically modified maize created by the U.S. biotech firm Monsanto suffered signs of organ damage after just three months.

The findings only came to light after Monsanto was forced to publish its raw data on safety tests by anti-GM campaigners.

They add to the evidence that GM crops may damage health as well as be harmful to the environment.

The figures released by Monsanto were examined by French researcher Dr Gilles-Eric Seralini, from the University of Caen.

Yesterday he called for more studies to check for long-term organ damage.

‘What we’ve shown is clearly not proof of toxicity, but signs of toxicity,’ he told New Scientist magazine. ‘I’m sure there’s no acute toxicity but who’s to say there are no chronic effects?’

The experiments were carried out by Monsanto researchers on three strains of GM maize. Two of the varieties contained genes for the Bt protein which protects the plant against the corn borer pest, while a third was genetically modified to be resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate. All three strains are widely grown in , while one is the only GM crop grown in , mostly in .

Monsanto only released the raw data after a legal challenge from , the Swedish Board of Agriculture and French anti- GM campaigners.

Dr Seralini concluded that rats which ate the GM maize had ‘ statistically significant’ signs of liver and kidney damage. Each strain was linked to unusual concentrations of hormones in the blood and urine of rats fed the maize for three months, compared to rats given a non-GM diet.

The higher hormone levels suggest that animals’ livers and kidneys are not working properly.

Female rats fed one of the strains also had higher blood sugar levels and raised levels of fatty substances caused triglycerides, Dr Seralini reported in the International Journal of Microbiology.

The analysis concluded: ‘These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown.’

Monsanto claimed the analysis of its data was ‘based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning, and does not call into question the safety findings for these products’.

Special Report: Are regulators dropping the ball on biocrops?

Carey Gillam COLUMBIA, Missouri    Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:45pm EDT
Robert Kremer, a U.S. government microbiologist who studies Midwestern farm soil, has spent two decades analyzing the rich dirt that yields billions of bushels of food each year and helps the United States retain its title as breadbasket of the world.
Kremer’s lab is housed at the University of Missouri and is literally in the shadow of Monsanto Auditorium, named after the $11.8 billion-a-year agricultural giant Monsanto Co.. Based in Creve Coeur, Missouri, the company has accumulated vast wealth and power creating chemicals and genetically altered seeds for farmers worldwide.

But recent findings by Kremer and other agricultural scientists are raising fresh concerns about Monsanto’s products and the Washington agencies that oversee them. The same seeds and chemicals spread across millions of acres of U.S. farmland could be creating unforeseen problems in the plants and soil, this body of research shows.

Kremer, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), is among a group of scientists who are turning up potential problems with glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and the most widely used weed-killer in the world.

“This could be something quite big. We might be setting up a huge problem,” said Kremer, who expressed alarm that regulators were not paying enough attention to the potential risks from biotechnology on the farm, including his own research.

Concerns range from worries about how nontraditional genetic traits in crops could affect human and animal health to the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Biotech crop supporters say there is a wealth of evidence that the crops on the market are safe, but critics argue that after only 14 years of commercialized GMOs, it is still unclear whether or not the technology has long-term adverse effects.

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Update on Bill C-474

CBAN (Lucy Sharratt) sent this: we all need to move on this today!

Bill C-474 was voted down but not out!!

Your letters have a strong influence!  We are making great headway with this approach; the biotech firms are lobbying heavily to counter us. We must protect our farmers or lose our export markets and our ability to grow our own food.

Bill C-474 would support Canadian farmers by requiring that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.”

April 1 Update: Loud “nays’ from Conservative MPs registered the provisional but not official defeat of Bill C-474 on April 1 in the oral vote – however your letters convinced the Liberal Agriculture Critic to recommend the Bill to Committee rather defeat it. On April 14 there will be an official, registered vote of all MPs present in the House at that time – the Liberal Party needs to make sure that all Liberal MPs vote for Bill C-474 on April 14!

You can write to the Liberals directly: CBAN has set up a page to make it easy for you: Letter to Michael Ignatieff.

Write your local MP here: Letter to my MP

Thank you to everyone who has done this, and an extra huge thanks for those that have forwarded this! It’s in our hands – we have the power!!

April Reeves, Director, GE Free BC

Who Owns The Rights To The Food You Eat?

The story of GMOs by Dave Rochlin, Founder and CEO of ClimatePath

Monsanto’s genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” seed line now accounts for 93 percent of the soybeans and 82 percent of the corn produced in the U.S., according to a recent Bloomberg article.

Should you be concerned? As Michael Pollan has pointed out, corn is the “keystone species of the industrial food system, along with its sidekick, soybean”:

Take a typical fast food meal. Corn is the sweetener in the soda. It’s in the corn-fed beef Big Mac patty, and in the high-fructose syrup in the bun, and in the secret sauce….The “four different fuels” in a Lunchables meal, are all essentially corn-based. The chicken nugget—including feed for the chicken, fillers, binders, coating, and dipping sauce—is all corn….even the salads at McDonald’s are full of high-fructose corn syrup and thickeners made from corn.”

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Deconstructing Dinner audio on GE Alfalfa and Wheat

Deconstructing Dinner is a web radio show from Nelson BC, a GE free zone.

This audio has over an hour of debate on Alex Atamanenko’s Bill C-474 that amends the seed act. There needs to be a mechanism in place to protect them from GE contamination of Non-GE crops and shipments. Alfalfa and wheat are the two main crops in question: what will happen to organic crops once GE is allowed in to Canada?

Deconstructing Dinner ‘deconstructs’ the debate as it goes along. Good reference for anyone wanting better information on this Bill.

Mainstream Media “Vanity Fair” blasts Monsanto

April: In a very long and comprehensive report, Vanity Fair has blasted Monsanto and “friends”. In this lengthy article you will get a wide scope of the issues and history behind the giant. Don’t be alarmed at the end: we can take this company out in less than a year if only 10% of us pull together (see at article end).

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

Gary Rinehart clearly remembers the summer day in 2002 when the stranger walked in and issued his threat. Rinehart was behind the counter of the Square Deal, his “old-time country store,” as he calls it, on the fading town square of Eagleville, Missouri, a tiny farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City.

The Square Deal is a fixture in Eagleville, a place where farmers and townspeople can go for lightbulbs, greeting cards, hunting gear, ice cream, aspirin, and dozens of other small items without having to drive to a big-box store in Bethany, the county seat, 15 miles down Interstate 35.

Everyone knows Rinehart, who was born and raised in the area and runs one of Eagleville’s few surviving businesses. The stranger came up to the counter and asked for him by name.

“Well, that’s me,” said Rinehart.

As Rinehart would recall, the man began verbally attacking him, saying he had proof that Rinehart had planted Monsanto’s genetically modified (G.M.) soybeans in violation of the company’s patent. Better come clean and settle with Monsanto, Rinehart says the man told him—or face the consequences.

Rinehart was incredulous, listening to the words as puzzled customers and employees looked on. Like many others in rural America, Rinehart knew of Monsanto’s fierce reputation for enforcing its patents and suing anyone who allegedly violated them. But Rinehart wasn’t a farmer. He wasn’t a seed dealer. He hadn’t planted any seeds or sold any seeds. He owned a small—a really small—country store in a town of 350 people. He was angry that somebody could just barge into the store and embarrass him in front of everyone. “It made me and my business look bad,” he says. Rinehart says he told the intruder, “You got the wrong guy.”

When the stranger persisted, Rinehart showed him the door. On the way out the man kept making threats. Rinehart says he can’t remember the exact words, but they were to the effect of: “Monsanto is big. You can’t win. We will get you. You will pay.”

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Alex Atamanenko’s Private Member Bills on GMO and Farmer Protection

Alex Atamanenko is an MP in BC Southern Interior, and an NDP critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food. Below are his words and the bills he has put forward:

Thank you for your letter in which you support my Private Members Bill (PMB), C-474 – An Act respecting seeds regulations (analysis of potential harm). This Bill calls for an amendment to the seeds regulations ‘to require that an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered (GE) seeds are permitted.’

The need for such a law is clear and I am pleased to finally have the opportunity to bring forward a Bill in the House of Commons that will protect farmers from the severe financial consequences that can arise as a result of unwanted GE contamination in their export crops. The type of economic devastations that recently occurred in our flax industry because of GE contamination must not be allowed to happen again, for example to Canada’s wheat and alfalfa farmers.
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Researchers banned from studying Genetically Modified seeds

April: This is an important issue around GM foods and crops. An independent researcher (such as myself) cannot study Monsanto products. If you want to do an environmental study, you have to sign a contract first, and Monsanto has to approve the study before it’s published. There is no “freedom of study”.

How many of you out there knew this? Does this affect your impression of GM foods?

The following article sheds some light on this.

Under wraps
NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, VOLUME 27, NUMBER 10, October 2009

Click to access Biotech_crop_research_restrictions_Oct_2009.pdf

*Are the crop industry’s strong-arm tactics and close-fisted attitude to sharing seeds holding back independent research and undermining public acceptance of transgenic crops? Emily Waltz investigates.

The increasingly fractious relationship between public sector researchers and the biotech seed industry has come into the spotlight in recent months. In July, several leading seed companies met with a group of entomologists, who earlier in the year had lodged a public complaint with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over restricted access to materials. In a letter to the EPA, the 26 public sector scientists complained that crop developers are curbing their rights to study commercial biotech crops. “No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions involving these crops [because of company-imposed restrictions],” they wrote.

In turn, the seed companies have expressed surprise at the outcry, claiming the issue is being overblown. And even though the July meeting, organized by the American Seed Trade Association in Alexandria, Virginia, did result in the writing of a set of principles for carrying out this research, the seed companies are under no compunction to follow them. “From the researchers’ perspective, the key for this meeting was opening up communication to discuss the problem,” says Ken Ostlie, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, who signed the complaint. “It will be interesting to see how companies implement the principles they agreed upon.”

What is clear is that the seed industry is perceived as highly secretive and reluctant to share its products with scientists. This is fueling the view that companies have something to hide.

Who’s in control?

It’s no secret that the seed industry has the power to shape the information available on biotech crops, referred to variously as genetically engineered or genetically modified (GM) crops. Commercial entities developed nearly all of the crops on the US market, and their ownership of the proprietary technology allows them to decide who studies the crops and how. “Industry is completely driving the bus,” says Christian Krupke, an entomologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
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Ex-Pfizer scientist exposed to Genetically Engineered virus

Ex-Pfizer Worker Cites Genetically Engineered Virus In Lawsuit Over Firing

Medical experts will be watching closely Monday when a scientist who says she has been intermittently paralyzed by a virus designed at the Pfizer laboratory where she worked in Groton opens a much anticipated trial that could raise questions about safety practices in the dynamic field of genetic engineering.

Organizations involved in workplace safety and responsible genetic research already have seized on the federal lawsuit by molecular biologist Becky McClain as an example of what they claim is evidence that risks caused by cutting-edge genetic manipulation have outstripped more slowly evolving government regulation of laboratories.
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Bill C-474 Results and Action Updates

Bill C-474 Results and Action Updates: Your action made a difference! – Lucy Sharratt – CBAN Coordinator

Thank you and congratulations to everyone who wrote letters to your  MPs! Bill C-474 lives another day, thanks to you!

Your actions made sure this Bill was not defeated yesterday, instead
it will to be debated one more time before you MP votes! This vote
could take place in April, or sooner.

What happened and what does it mean?

Last night, MPs debated Bill C-474 for one hour. Support for the Bill
was not strong enough to fast-track the Bill to debate in the
Agriculture Committee but the debate in the House of Commons will
continue – this is because the Liberal Party essentially spoke in
opposition to the Bill but left the door open to more debate. There
will be another hour of debate in April (or sooner) followed by a vote
on the Bill. If MPs vote for the Bill it will go to the Agriculture
Committee for study and amendments. If MPs vote against the Bill, the
Bill dies.  You can see CBAN’s unofficial notes from the debate at http://www.cban.ca/Take-Action/Act-Now/Bill-C-474-Debate-and-Results-Blog
You will see that the Liberal Party based their position on
incorrect information about GE flax and how the contamination crisis
happened. (We will send more info soon)

Why is Bill C-474 still in “second reading”?:  The Liberal Party is
not ready to commit enough support to Bill C-474. (Your action over
the next weeks could convince them.)
The Conservative Party is opposed to Bill C-474 – Conservative MP
David Anderson (Saskatchewan) called the Bill “anti-farmer” – he is
Assistant Agriculture Critic and is Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board.

You are encouraged to write your MP a second time to tell them you
were following the debate – CBAN will provide more information soon.

Your actions will continue to make a difference.  Here are the great
actions you have taken so far! :
2193 letters were sent to MPs through the CBAN website!
620 signatures were delivered to the constituency office of Michael
Ignatieff, Leader of the Official Opposition, in Toronto.
154 signatures on petitions were presented to the office of Larry
Miller Conservative MP and Chair of the Agriculture Committee – Larry
Miller spoke against the Bill but took a more reasoned approach than
MP David Anderson who said that the Bill was “anti-farmer”
90 signatures were sent to Hon. John Duncan, Conservative MP Vancouver
Island North.
92 signatures were presented to Conservative Ontario MP Pierre
Poilievre (Nepean-Carleton), Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime
Minister
150 signatures went to the constituency office of Russ Hiebert,
Conservative MP in BC (South Surrey-White Rock).
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Guelph’s “Enviropig” Satisfies Requirements of EPA

Angela Mulholland, CTV.ca News Date: Saturday Mar. 6, 2010 11:01 AM ET

The Enviropig, a Canadian-designed, genetically-engineered hog, recently edged a little closer to full regulatory approval. But how likely is the pig to ever make it to the dinner tables of Canadians?

Enviropigs are a line of line Yorkshire pigs genetically enhanced to be more environmentally friendly. The porkers, created by researchers at the University of Guelph, have a modified gene that gives them the ability to digest phosphorus in grain more efficiently.

The result? They poop up to 60 per cent less phosphorus into their manure.

That’s a good thing, since the phosphorus in the manure of factory farm animals is known to promote algae growth in water, leading to fish kills and other water problems.

Enviropigs have been under development for well over 10 years, with the aim that they could be one day be sold to commercial hog farmers.

But so far, while the researchers have enjoyed the support of Ontario Pork, a full commercial partner has yet to sign on. And much of the reason for that is the complicated regulatory hurdles of getting the pigs and their meat approved for eating.

One of those hurdles was finally crossed last month, when the University of Guelph announced that it had satisfied the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, allowing the Enviropig to be produced under strict confinement and control measures.

What that means is that the federal government has determined that the pigs are not toxic to the environment. They are also convinced that the pigs do not pose any other threats to the environment — such as what might happen if the pigs escaped their quarters at the university and integrated themselves into other pig populations. (April here: so what happened to studies on human health? Why do they always miss that?)

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Reason triumphs over Bt brinjal!

February 23, 2010

By embargoing Bt brinjal, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh may have done a greater service to democracy than he intended, says Praful Bidwai.

April: Why can’t our governments take a page from India? Although North America is fairly entrenched in GM crops, this story does offer hope to those of us that actively march against GMO. India is fighting for their right to choose what to grow, and won’t allow the government to cease their voices. Bt Cotton’s failure was good timing….

India has done something unusual in defying the long-established trend of capitulating to corporate power.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh must be complimented for imposing a moratorium on the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) brinjal (or baigan, also called aubergine and eggplant) developed by Mahyco-Monsanto in collaboration with two Indian agricultural universities.

He deserves encomiums for consulting stakeholders in major brinjal-producing states like West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. This public consultation approach sets a good precedent. It deserves to become a model for governmental decision-making on all issues that concern people’s livelihoods.

To appreciate the moratorium rationally, one need not go as far as former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology P M Bhargava did in euphorically describing it as “the single most important decision taken by any minister since Independence”.

Yet, it couldn’t have been easy to take in the face of feverish lobbying by Monsanto, one of the world’s most powerful multinationals.

Monsanto, which controls 84 per cent of the global GM seeds market and has a long reach in the United States and Indian governments, lobbied for Bt brinjal in league with other biotechnology companies and groups of plant breeders with a stake in developing GM foods.

They were backed by major sections of the corporate media which fervently campaigned for Bt brinjal and celebrated all GM technology as safe and unproblematic and as the key to India’s food security.

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Tomorrow Bill C-474 is Debated in Canada!

Tomorrow, Wednesday March 17, 5:30 Bill C-474 will be debated in the  House of Commons. You can watch live at http://www.cpac.ca or follow http://www.cban.ca/474result for commentary and updates! Please continue to send your letters. Please see below today’s press releases.

PRESS RELEASE Ottawa. Tuesday, March 16, 2010

GE Crops: Parliament to debate the need for export market acceptance  before commercial release

Tomorrow, Parliament will debate Private Members Bill C-474 to require
that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted
before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.”

“The Bill is necessary to protect farmers from economic harm caused by
the release of GE seeds that are not approved in our export markets,”
said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action
Network, a coalition of 17 groups.
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Controversy Grows Over Brier Corporate Sponsor Monsanto

If anyone would like to “correct” the Canadian Curling
Association, you can write  to Greg Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Curling Association 613-834-2076, ext 117

gstremlaw@curling.ca 1660 Vimont Court Cumberland, Ontario K4A 4J4

(Please, please email this man)

Halifax, Thursday, March 11, 2010 “The corporate sponsor of this
week’s Brier, biotechnology company Monsanto, is under intense
scrutiny from environmental, consumer and farmer groups in Nova
Scotia, and across Canada and the world.

“Many curling fans might be shocked to learn that the Brier sponsor
Monsanto is at the centre of farmer and consumer battles over
genetically engineered seeds and increasing corporate control in
farming,” said Marla MacLeod of Ecology Action Centre, a Nova Scotia-
wide environmental group. “We are saddened that the great Brier
championship is now associated with this relentlessly controversial
company,” said MacLeod.
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Monsanto’s GE alfalfa closer to U.S. approval & sales

Canadian farmer and consumer groups responded to an invitation to comment on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement created by the United States Department of Agriculture. The seed was first approved in 2005.
Saskatoon, Sask. – Canadian groups submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) completed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in hopes of dissuading approval of Monsanto’s GE alfalfa. The alfalfa, originally approved in 2005, was taken off the market by a court order after a coalition of groups took the USDA to court. The groups won a temporary ban of the release of the seed to the market, pending an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be prepared by the USDA. Now that the USDA has prepared the court required Draft EIS, the public was allowed time to comment, although Wednesday was the last day for submissions. The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) issued a press release Wednesday to inform Canadians that at least three Canadian groups submitted

“… highly critical analyses to the USDA. They argue that GE alfalfa plantings in the U.S. would contaminate Canadian alfalfa and cause serious harm to Canadian farmers and the environment.”

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Swiss moratorium on all GE cultivation extended

Zurich, 8 March, 2010Today the Swiss Parliament extended by three years the countries moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered  (GE ) plants. Enacted in 2005, Switzerland will stay free of GE-seeds until 2013.
The recent approval of GE potato has been met with a wave of strong
reactions among the EU member-states. The governments of Greece,
Austria, Luxembourg, Italy, Hungary and France have publicly announced
that they will not allow the cultivation of the GE potato in their
countries. Currently, six EU member-states (Austria, France, Germany,
Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg) have bans on GE maize cultivation.

“While EU Commission President Barroso dabbles in a dangerous genetic
experiment, the Swiss’s moratorium on GE crops continues to protect
its environment, agriculture and consumers,” said Myrto Pispini,
Greenpeace International Agriculture Campaigner. “The EU should follow
this example and implement a moratorium on all GE food.”

GE-crops are part of an outdated intensive agriculture model that continues the use of environmentally harmful chemicals, failing to generate high yields, or provide solutions for the food crises and climate change. GE crops also pose unpredictable risks to human and animal health.

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Very informative video on GM issues

This video is 1:25 long, but it has various opinions and sides to the GM debate: it’s interesting how the Pro-GM debate is starting to sound very weak, and amazes me that they still believe it’s the only way for us to eat and will feed the world. Give it up guys, we KNOW that’s just not happening.

GM TV

Biotech Firm to Close Doors, For Now

The Whig Standard, Canada
Ian Elliot       16.02.2010

A former Kingston high-tech darling has announced that it is shutting
down its Kingston operation for at least the next three months.

Performance Plants Inc., a biotech startup that was often seen as the
star of the city’s emerging knowledge-based sector, announced late
Friday that it was mothballing its Kingston operation for 13 weeks and
closing a research and development facility in New York State
permanently.

It cited economic reasons for the shutdown, saying that it continues
to produce scientific accomplishments but has had difficulty raising
enough money to bring those technologies to the market.

The company, which was housed in the former Norcom plant, is privately
held, not publicly traded, and said there was a limited amount of
private equity financing available in the market.

In Kingston, 29 employees are affected; the Waterloo, New York office
employed six staffers.

Company president and CEO Peter Matthewman said he hopes the company
can reopen in May with new financing.

Matthewman said a committee will be looking at alternate finance
options over the coming months and will make a recommendation to the
board of directors on which direction the company should proceed.

The company specialized in research in the area of genetically
modified crops
, treating them to increase yields, enhance frost
resistance and make them less susceptible to droughts.

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Act Now! Support Bill C-474

Hey everyone, this is REALLY important! If this bill does not get passed, it could mean the end of organic foods in North America. Please take action on this. We don’t want a Canada that’s pure GMO. This is the tipping point for us!

How safe is your food from pesticides?

CTV has put out a video (with extended version) on food pesticides in Canada. How safe is your food: many of the countries have dangerous levels of pesticides (above Canadian standards). Find out how you can make a difference and take grocers to task on honest labeling: CTV Video

I speak with workers in stores. Thrifty’s Foods and Choices Markets are two grocers that listen and make a difference. Both have contacted me when my suggested produce comes in. I suggest you buy from these stores. Safeway, Costco, IGA, Food For Less all wondered why I would be asking about pesticides, and didn’t have most of the paperwork to prove where their vegetables came from. Scary. I don’t shop at any of these stores anymore.

Stop GE Alfalfa from Contaminating Canadian Farms

Canadian Farm and Consumer Groups Urge U.S. Department of Agriculture  to Stop Monsanto’s New GE Seed

Saskatoon, March 3, 2010 – Today a number of prominent Canadian farmer  and consumer groups urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
not to permit the introduction of Monsanto’s genetically engineered
(GE) alfalfa in the U.S., citing serious concerns about the future of
organic food and farming in North America.

Is the US is blindly pushing GE Alfalfa through, with other crops to follow?

The USDA invited comments on their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of  allowing Monsanto’s GE (herbicide tolerant) alfalfa. Canadian groups including the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, Beyond Factory  Farming, and the National Farmers Union – responded by submitting  highly critical analyses to the USDA. They argue that GE alfalfa  plantings in the U.S. would contaminate Canadian alfalfa and cause  serious harm to Canadian farmers and the environment.
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