Tag Archives: Canadian Food Politics

The Greed Revolution

ETC Group
News Release
18 January 2012
www.etcgroup.org

Big Agribusiness Influence Threatens to Override Public Interest in Greed Revolution

A new 30-page report that documents the growing influence of agribusiness on the multilateral food system and the lack of transparency in research funding has been released today by the international civil society organization ETC Group. The Greed Revolution: Mega Foundations, Agribusiness Muscle In On Public Goods presents three case studies – one involving the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and two involving CGIAR Centers (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) – which point to a dangerous trend that will worsen rather than solve the problem of global hunger. The report details the involvement of, among others, Nestlé, Heineken, Monsanto, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Syngenta Foundation. Continue reading

New book on food sovereignity in Canada

Creating just and sustainable food systems

http://www.fernwoodpublishing.ca/Food-Sovereignty-in-Canada/

Are there more young farmers in BC?

As I’ve travelled the Province this year, from Bella Coola (where I had coffee with a bunch of farmers including one who has just started farming pigs profitably) to Campbell River (where I met two young women farmers who are in the their second year of sharecropping from a local farmer to grow organically) to Kaslo (where I bumped into an old friend at the local coffee shop who helped turn Kaslo into a GE free zone), I’ve noticed that there are more young people wanting to get into farming- especially is we stretch young to under 40. Given the demographics with many Canadian farmers due to retire in the next 10 years, this is a positive sign. And the young farmers I have spoken to are into local and organic. I heard the same from friends outside York in Ontario recently. Who knows if this is a trend or just the places I’ve been going to, but there’s a magazine article to support this hypothesis:

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/new-livelihoods/a-growing-movement

Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government shuts down debate on Biotech harm to farmers

April: We are at a point where we need every human in Canada (and abroad) to let the Conservative (and Liberal) government know we are tired of being pushed out of decisions that affect us! Please take action today: we are running out of time and please, spread this message to all you know. This is a classic form of force over people: is this the world you want?

You can take action – www.cban.ca/474

For Immediate Release

Conservatives Shut Down Debate on Biotech Harm to Farmers

Parliamentary hearings canceled to protect biotechnology corporations

October 28, 2010, Ottawa – Today, House of Commons Agriculture
Committee hearings on Private Members Bill C-474 – dealing with the
issue of genetic engineering – were canceled and invited witnesses
were turned away because, last night, Conservative Members of
Parliament voted down a motion to extend debate on the Bill. The
motion to extend the debate by 30 days was defeated by just 4 votes.

Bill C-474 would support 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.”

“The Conservatives ended the debate in order to protect the biotech
industry from any more scrutiny,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. “This Bill spurred the first real debate in Parliament over the negative impacts of genetically engineered crops and that’s why Conservatives shut it down.”

Continue reading

The Ontarion | A pig of two tales: Enviropig

The Ontarion | Enviropig: invention continues to be a heavily debated issue for professors, students and Guelphites alike: Kelsey Rideout: The issue of genetically modified meat into our food supply.

via The Ontarion | A pig of two tales 
.

Bill C-474: Chronological Order

Liberals and Conservatives Vote Down Bill C-474

Inaction on genetic engineering will cost farmers – groups vow to protect alfalfa in ongoing controversy

Thursday, February 10, 2011. Ottawa – Last night, a majority of Liberal MPs joined with Conservatives to vote down an important Private Members Bill on genetic engineering (GE). Bill C-474 would have required that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.” The Bill was defeated 176 to 97.

“Farmers had everything to gain if the Bill was passed. Now we have everything to lose while biotech companies once again have everything to gain,” said Colleen Ross, Vice President of the National Farmers Union. “Our government has been supporting genetic engineering at any cost. But we refuse to accept their willingness to sacrifice some farmers and some crops for the sake of the biotech industry,” said Ross. “Our democracy has to work for farmers and consumers and not just for multinational biotech corporations.”

“The excuses for not supporting the Bill were never truly valid,” said Maureen Bostock, speaking for the Ecological Farmers of Ontario, “This is a clear case of politicians siding with the powerful biotech industry.”

“The Bill was voted down but a real debate about the impacts and future of genetic engineering has now started,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, “Canadians defied the tremendous power of the industry lobby by pushing the Bill further than any other on this issue.”

“Its crazy that the economic risks to farmers are not considered before GE crops are put on the market,” said Genevieve Grossenbacher a young Quebec farmer speaking for the Canadian Organic Growers. “Its farmers who pay the costs of GE contamination, not the biotech companies.”

An immediate concern shared by both conventional and organic farmers is the threat of crop contamination by GE alfalfa. On January 27th, the US Department of Agriculture approved plantings despite widespread opposition from farmers and consumers, and after protracted legal cases. Canada is only one step away from allowing GE alfalfa to be planted here. “It’s urgent that our Members of Parliament take action to stop GE alfalfa from being imported or being approved and grown in Canada. This is the only way to protect our conventional and organic alfalfa from loss of markets and loss of livelihoods,” said Cathy Holtslander speaking for the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate. Because alfalfa is a perennial crop pollinated by bees, GE contamination is inevitable. In addition to export markets for processed alfalfa products, alfalfa is used as pasture and high-protein feed for animals like dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs, and pigs and is also used to build up nutrients in the soil, making it particularly important for organic farming.

“Genetic engineering has become more controversial over the years, not less,” said Eric Darier, Director of Greenpeace Quebec, speaking on behalf of the Quebec Network Against GMOs, a coalition of over 20 groups. “The problems with genetic engineering are not going away and the federal government is still refusing to address the issues head on.”

“Building a strong future for food and farming in Canada will take political leadership. Elected representatives must listen to what farmers and consumers are saying,” said Tony Beck of the Society for a GE Free BC, a coalition of local grassroots groups, “Canadians are becoming more involved in farming issues and want to support a sustainable food system.”

Private Members Bill C-474 was introduced by NDP Agriculture Critic and MP for BC Southern Interior, Alex Atamanenko.

For more information:
Colleen Ross, National Farmers Union, Cell: 613 213 1522;
Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 241 2267 ext 25;
Cathy Holtslander, Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, 306 384 2141;
Maureen Bostock, Ecological Farmers of Ontario, 613 259 5757;
Eric Darier, Quebec Network Against GMOs, Cell: 514 605-6497 (English or French);
Tony Beck, Society for a GE Free BC, Cell: 604 671 2106.

This post is long but has chronological information on Alex Atamanenko’s Bill C-474. It is about to “heat up” again, so for those that need a little history, read on.

It is imperative that this Bill be passed. It asks to take a closer look and do more testing on the introduction of GM crops/seeds/plants. It is a Bill that protects all farmers: organic, conventional and GM.

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) petition: please sign!

– – – –

September 30, 2010: Important Updates on Bill C-474

Please see below an article from this week’s “The Hill Times”
newspaper that reports on Parliamentary happenings – it exposes the
biotech industry’s extensive lobbying against Bill C-474. Please also
see below some important updates. Join us to make this concrete change
happen! http://www.cban.ca/474

INDUSTRY IS WORRIED: The Bill is having an international impact – the
global biotech industry is concerned that we might be able to make
this concrete change happen in Canada. Industry associations around
the world understand that this simple, reasonable Bill has the power
to stop them from commercializing GM alfalfa and GM wheat as well as
other GMOs. CBAN attended a recent industry conference where CropLife
International and the Biotechnology Industry Organization both warned
industry audiences that they need to fight the inclusion of social and
economic considerations in assessments of GMOs. Agribusiness giant
Syngenta has also been speaking directly against the Bill. The issue
of GE salmon and the GE “Enviropig” have heightened this conflict.

Continue reading

US Unsure if Cloned Meat Has Been Sold in North America

Lucy Sharratt: Please note there have already been 2 food contamination cases in Canada with experimental GM pigs : In 2002 experimental Enviropig piglets at the University of Guelph were accidentally sent to a
rendering plant and turned into animal feed instead of being destroyed
as biological waste. The GM pigs were not approved for animal feed but
contaminated 675 tonnes of poultry feed that was sold to egg farmers,
turkey farmers and broiler chicken producers. In 2004, experimental
genetically engineered pigs from the Quebec firm TGN Biotech were
accidentally turned into chicken feed instead of being incinerated.
The pigs were engineered to produce a pharmaceutical compound, (the
company no longer exists). You can write to the Minister of Health
instantly from http://www.cban.ca/enviropigaction

U.S. unsure if cloned meat has been sold in North America

By Sarah Schmidt, Postmedia News August 10, 2010
http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/unsure+cloned+meat+been+sold+North+America/3382347/story.html

OTTAWA: The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on Tuesday said he doesn’t
know whether cloned cows or their offspring have made it into the
North American food supply.

But Tom Vilsack, in Ottawa to talk trade with food exporters and
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, emphasized that if they have, the
animals are safe to eat.

“I can’t say today that I can answer your question in an affirmative
or negative way. I don’t know. What I do know is that we know all the
research, all of the review of this is suggested that this is safe,”
Vilsack told reporters, pointing to an assessment of the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration.

Continue reading