As you may remember, I asked you last month if you would join me, and thousands of other Ontarians, in calling on the provincial government to ban the hunt of Ontario’s snapping turtles. Hundreds of you responded by sending the Minister of Natural Resources (MNR) an email letting him know that our turtles are at risk of disappearing from Ontario and should not be hunted.
I deeply regret to tell you that the Minister of Natural Resources, Michael Gravelle, did not listen to us. His ministry also ignored a petition signed by more than 11,000 people asking that the hunt be stopped.
Ontario Nature, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre released a report, The Road to Extinction: A call to end the snapping turtle hunt, documenting the plight of Ontario’s imperilled snapping turtles and also revealing that many snapping turtles have concentrations of PCBs that are unsafe for human consumption.
MNR has disregarded this report.
Snapping turtles are listed on the federal and provincial endangered species list. Yet Ontario permits the legal hunting of up to two snapping turtles a day.
Instead of ending the hunt, MNR has recommended that reporting the number of turtles killed per hunter be mandatory (the recommendation is now posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry).
This is not good enough. In all likelihood, MNR cannot enforce this directive. Besides, mandatory reporting of hunted animals yields notoriously inaccurate data.
Please click this link to the EBR posting and ask MNR to do the right thing and ban the snapping turtle hunt or impose a moratorium until MNR has accurate estimates of population trends on which to base an informed decision.
Thank you so much for sticking with this campaign to protect snapping turtles in Ontario,
John Urquhart Conservation Science Manager To read more about the opposition to hunting snapping turtles, click here
Let your MP know that on June 7th, alfalfa farmers told the House of Commons Agriculture Committee that they support the Bill C-474:
“Bill C-474 is the first step in offering some protection in the future for Canadian family farms. Market acceptance must be made part of the evaluation process and incorporated into the Seeds Regulation Act.” - Kelvin Einarson, Director and Secretary Treasurer, Manitoba Forage Seed Association Inc.
This summer you can take action in your community to support Bill C-474 and alfalfa farmers. MPs need to hear from you this Summer and then again in the Fall, before the final vote on Bill C-474. For information and action options check http://www.cban.ca/474
More excerpts from June 7th testimony:
“Forage producers support Bill C-474 because we believe it would have the ability to protect the alfalfa industry from the truly dangerous effects of introducing GMO varieties that are not approved by our customers.” - Jim Lintott, Chairman, Manitoba Forage Council.
“The bill is perfect the way it stands. It's a perfect requirement. Why would you produce anything with no market for it?” - Jim Lintott, Chairman, Manitoba Forage Council.
“…the point is that we have a situation where we have a large corporate entity that does not care about the farmer's ability to market that product. They are moving that product, specifically the Roundup Ready alfalfa, and pushing that thing through regardless of market resistance from the producer and the consumer end.” - Jim Lintott, Chairman, Manitoba Forage Council.
“In closing, it has been said that Bill C-474 will create another layer of “red tape” for seed companies to go through in order to sell seeds in Canada. I feel this is better than creating “red ink” on the producer's bottom line.” - Kurt Shmon, President, Imperial Seed Ltd.
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 email@example.com www.cban.ca
Montreal Urgent Action: Friday June 4 Solidarity with Haiti’s Farmers
Union Payasanne, Action SOS Haiti, and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network call on people in Montreal to gather outside the Haitian Consulate to express solidarity with Haitian peasant groups who are rejecting Monsanto’s donation of hybrid corn seeds. Haitian peasant farmers will march Friday June 4 in Haiti and are asking groups around the world to “Struggle Against Monsanto and its associates.”
DATE: Friday, June 4, 2010 TIME: 10:00 AM LOCATION: 1100, Boul. René Lévesque Ouest (corner of René Lévesque and Peel – Station Bonaventure)
This is a symbolic action in solidarity. A delegation will deliver a letter to the Haitian consulate in support of the farmers’ concerns.
Solidarity actions were called for by the Haitian Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) and supported by La Via Campesina. Please see below. (You can also check www.cban.ca/Monsanto and www.viacampesina.org)
The current political framework and the processes of economic integration carried out by governments and transnational capital together make it necessary for us to unify our vision and strengthen our action strategies against this new imperialist attack.
The earthquake which occurred in Haiti on the 12th January killed 300 000 people, injured 500 000 others and left thousands of people homeless…35 seconds made 3 million disaster victims. Haiti’s vulnerability in the face of natural catastrophes has many causes underlying which are the actions of the colonial and neo-colonial powers, principally Spain, France, United States, as well as the policies of the International Financial Institutions and of transnational corporations and the national groups holding political and economical power.
With their deadly gift to the Ministry of Agriculture of 475 tonnes of hybrid seeds, Monsanto and its accomplices are worsening the situation of the Haitian peasantry. This is a new earthquake; together with our national and international friends and the Via Campesina we must struggle against it. That is why, we, Haitian organizations members of the Via Campesina, are calling for a large-scale demonstration and march on June 4th 2010 at the Papay Peasant Movement “Lakay” training centre in Papaye. The primary goal of this mobilization is to “Struggle against Monsanto and its Accomplices in Haiti “. We will begin the demonstration by sowing native varieties of corn and planting trees in order to celebrate World Environment Day and to show once more our commitment to protect Haiti and the whole planet. After that, we will march, accompanied by the rhythm of drums, to Charlemagne Peralte de Hinche to burn Monsant’s seeds.
We are calling on all peasant organizations and national and international social movements to show their solidarity by participating, directly or indirectly, in this large-scale march against Monsanto. People who are not able to be present in Haiti can organize a solidarity action wherever they are. Those who are able to do so can interview the leaders of la Via Campesina in Haiti by telephone while the march is taking place:
Chavannes Jean Baptiste Mouvement Paysans de Papaye et membre du CCI : 509-34 55 15 86 Filfrant St. Nare Mouvement Paysans de Papaye (MPP): 509 34 46-23 82 Festil Pierre Doudou, Mouvman Peyizan National Kongrè Papay (MPNKP): 509 34 57 37 09 Rose Edith Raymonville, Mouvman Peyizan National Kongrè Papay (MPNKP: 509 3669-74 24 Rosenel Jean Baptiste, Tet Kole Ti peyizan Ayisyen (TK): 509 37 7 1 86 32 Iderle Brenus , Appuie Technique de la Via Campesina de la Caraibe : 509 3427- 5622
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™”
Food Inc. You’ll never look at dinner the same way!
How much do we really know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families? Food, Inc. filmmakers lift the veil on the food industry for a close and shocking look at the not so savory underbelly of the US food industry, well hidden from everyday consumers.
We’re much better off here in Canada – or are we?
Join the Climate Change Action Group of Erin and Credit Valley Conservation for an exposé on the industrialization of our food system and its effect on our environment, health, and economy.
Thursday, May 20 Film starts at 7:00 pm sharp! (doors open at 6:30) Erin Canadian Legion Hall 12 Dundas St. East, Erin
FREE admission, plus great prizes and organic popcorn too! Film Sponsored by Treehaven Natural Foods in honour of Helen Lakusta
For more information contact: Liz Armstrong, Climate Change Action Group of Erin 519-833-4676, ext. #1 Lisa Brusse, Credit Valley Conservation 905-670-1615 Ext. 444
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.
Please circulate this call for action. Issued: April 17, 2010
April 17 is the International Day of Peasant Struggle called by La Via Campesina, the international small-scale farmers movement, with the theme “Say “No” to Corporate Control of Agriculture and Food.” Stop Monsanto’s GE Alfalfa!
This April, take Action to stop contamination.
Send some tiny alfalfa seeds to your Member of Parliament! Tell the government to stop Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa. Help your Member of Parliament see how tiny alfalfa seeds really are – and why no one will be able to stop contamination if they allow Monsanto’s GE alfalfa in Canada.
1. Print out our sample letter or write your own letter to the Minister and/or to your MP. 2. Look up your MP’s mailing address at www.parl.gc.ca. 3. Buy some organic alfalfa seeds at your local health food store. Tape a few alfalfa seeds to your letter or draw a picture of this tiny seed! 4. Post - No stamp necessary!
This action continues through the Spring –you can also: • Organize a little alfalfa sprout stand at your local health food store (contact CBAN for an action kit). • Screen the “The World According to Monsanto” for your community or friends (order your copy from CBAN).
You can also work to support Bill C-474 in April and May – a Bill that could stop GE alfalfa! For more information: http://www.cban.ca/474
Thank you for taking action to support Canadian farmers and stop Monsanto – in solidarity with small-scale farmers across the world.
Why is alfalfa important? Alfalfa seeds are tiny but play a huge role in food and farming - that means big trouble if GE alfalfa contaminates our crops. It’s not just the green sprouts in your sandwich – alfalfa is fed to dairy and beef cows, and organic farmers use it to improve soil fertility without chemical fertilizers. GE contamination of alfalfa would severely impact the entire food system. As well as negatively affecting conventional grain growers and livestock farmers, GE alfalfa could end organic grain and livestock farming as we know it.
What is the Day of Peasant Struggle? On April 17th 1996, nineteen landless Brazilian peasants who were defending their right to produce food by demanding access to land were massacred by the military police. Since the massacre at El Dorado dos Carajás, every year on this date actions are organised around the world by farmers’ organisations, communities, student groups, non-governmental organizations and activists, in order to demand food sovereignty and peasants’ rights to produce food. La Via Campesina says that transnational corporations (TNCs) “exacerbate poverty and economic recession, worldwide. As they consolidate their control over lands and agricultural markets, TNCs expel small farmers and peasants from their lands and reduce employment opportunities in rural areas, thereby swelling urban slums with even more desperate and unemployed families. TNCs are making huge profits while hunger and poverty are on the rise.” http://www.viacampesina.org
This action is called by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and endorsed by National Farmers Union http://www.nfu.ca and Union Paysanne http://www.unionpaysanne.com , CBAN members who are also members of La Via Campesina.
Come out to hear Gerard Choplin from Via Campesina Europe talk about farming, GMOs and trade - 4 events starting Saturday... the Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement negotiations next week in Ottawa form an attack on Canadian and European farmers and the right to save seed!
Event Tour Notice: April 17 -21 Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto
Halifax, Saturday, April 17 - International Day of Peasant Struggle in support of Via Campesina and Food Sovereignty
11:00am- March starting at the Farmer's Market (Lower Water St) Bring instruments, banners, placards, friends and family! 12:00pm- Celebration on the North Commons Food, Speakers, information, entertainment, drum circle, puppets, face painting, guerrilla gardening & goats!
Speakers include: Gerard Choplin - Via Campesina European Coordination, Members of the National Farmers Union, Local Food Activists For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org Endorsed by: Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, National Farmers Union, Via Campesina, Oxfam, CAF, KAFKA, FAC, ACORN, Food Not Bombs. NSPIRG, The Grainery
Trade Justice Now! European voices against a Canada-Europe free trade agreement
Ottawa - Monday, April 19, 7:00-9:00 pm Saint Paul’s University Amphitheatre, 223 Main Street, Ottawa (Traduction simultanée sera fournie sur place)
Montréal - Le mardi 20 avril à 19 h Pavillon Athanase-David de l’UQAM, local D-R200 1430, rue Saint-Denis, (angle Maisonneuve, métro Berri-UQAM)
Toronto - Wednesday, April 21, 7:00-9:00 pm International Student Centre (Pendarvis Room), University of Toronto, 33 St. George Street (just north of College)
Food sovereignty, public services, climate justice… All are under threat from a new free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. Haven’t heard of it? That’s because even though negotiations are halfway finished, the public is being kept in the dark.
Join us to hear three prominent European social justice activists speak about Europe’s international trade agenda and raise questions about a free trade and investment agreement with Canada.
Featuring: Gérard Choplin, Via Campesina European Coordination, Belgium Rolv Hanssen, Public Services International, Norway Frédéric Viale, Attac-France, author of L’horreur européenne, France
This is the biggest, most intrusive free trade agreement Canada has ever considered. It could be nastier than NAFTA or the WTO. Negotiators are in Ottawa April 19 to 23 for what has been called the most important round of the free trade talks. They’re finalizing new rules that could affect culture, public services, environmental protection, economic development, water, health care, broadcasting policy, farmers and much more.
Presented by the Trade Justice Network. The Trade Justice Network is comprised of a number of environmental and civil society organizations as well as trade unions that have come together to challenge the scope and process of the Canada European Union free trade negotiations, and to highlight the need for a more sustainable, equitable and socially just international trade regime.
Subject: [cban e-News] Release: MPs listen to Canadians ahead of industry onGM CropsDate: 4/15/2010 10:44:50 AM
MPs listen to Canadians ahead of industry on GM Crops
Groups applaud MPs for moving Bill C-474 to Committee for study
For Immediate Release
Ottawa. Thursday, April 15, 2010 – Last night, Parliament passed Private Members Bill C-474 through second reading, in spite of intense pressure from the biotech industry. The Bill, which would require analysis of potential harm to export markets before the sale of new genetically modified (GM) seeds, will now be studied by the House of Commons Agriculture Committee.
“Finally MPs are taking steps to protect farmers from the economic chaos that GM crops can cause,” said Terry Boehm, President of the National Farmers Union, “GM contamination has already seriously damaged major export markets for Canadian flax farmers and would threaten the markets for our alfalfa and wheat growers.”
The NDP and Bloc Quebecois supports the Bill and last night Liberal Party MPs voted to allow the Bill to go to this next stage. The Conservative Party strongly opposes the Bill, though two B.C. Conservative MPs voted in favour. The Bill was introduced by Alex Atamanenko, NDP Agriculture Critic and MP for B.C. Southern Interior.
“Last night, the majority of MPs listened to Canadians instead of the biotech industry,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, “MPs will now have the opportunity to study and debate this Bill. We are witnessing the first substantive debate in Parliament over the negative impacts of GM crops.”
The biotech industry lobbied vigorously to stop the upcoming debate at Committee. Yet the strength of public and farmer concern over GM crops was apparent to MPs. Over 9000 thousand letters were sent from constituents in the past month asking MPs to support the Bill. At least 6 MPs were also presented with petitions.
Bill C-474 was supported by the National Farmers Union, which urged Parliamentarians and all Canadians, to support the Bill. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture took a cautious stance in favour of moving the Bill forward, to encourage debate at Committee.
“The current GM flax contamination crisis shows the value of this Bill. And the threat of GM alfalfa has made the Bill an urgent necessity,” said Sharratt. Canadian flax export markets closed in October 2009 when GM contamination was detected.
“We will not stand by and watch farmers struggle alone against the corporate juggernaut of biotechnology,” said Sharratt, “The time when Canadians are expected to accept GM crops without question, is over.”
For more information: Terry Boehm, National Farmers Union, 306 255 2880; Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 241 2267 ext.6.
Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Your actions gave the Bill another chance! Private Members Bill C-474 will be debated for a second hour in Parliament March 29. The vote will happen a few days later. Even if you have already written your MP, you are encouraged to send another letter before March 29 http://www.cban.ca/474action
Your concrete action could stop genetically engineered (GE) seeds from causing chaos in Canadian farming!
Bill C-474 would 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 could stop GE alfalfa and GE wheat.
This Bill is critically important because, as we know from experience, the introduction of new genetically engineered (GE) crops can cause economic hardship to farmers. Farmers are at risk when GE crops are commercialized in Canada without also being approved in our major export markets.
Flax farmers in Canada are now paying a heavy price because of this exact problem. Late last year, Canadian flax exports were discovered contaminated with a GE flax that is not approved in Europe or in any of our other export markets (except the U.S.). Flax farmers actually foresaw that GE contamination or even the threat of contamination would close their export markets. That's why they took steps in 2001 to remove GE flax from the market. Despite this measure, flax farmers were not protected. The GE flax contamination closed our export markets in 2009. It has created market uncertainty and depressed prices. Farmers are also paying for testing and cleanup and may be required to abandon their own farm-saved flax seed and buy certified seed instead. These costs are an unnecessary and preventable burden.
We cannot allow GE seeds to harm our export markets. Please support Bill C-474 and protect Canada’s farmers.
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