All your seed are belong to us redux


The last time I used that title it was in reference to our government's support for breaking a moratorium on the use of terminator seeds -- seeds that are genetically altered to be infertile so that farmers can't replant seed garnered from the previous year's crop. The idea, of course, is to force farmers to buy new seed each year at whatever exorbitant price agribusiness wants to charge since it would then have a captive market.

Here's a variation on the same theme, from a website that's been set up to inform us all about the ongoing negotiations between our government and the EU on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

The trade deal would almost entirely eliminate the rights of farmers to save, reuse and sell seed.

Plant varieties can be protected as intellectual property through Plant Breeders Rights as well as patents on genes. The trade deal would give rights holders an unprecedented degree of control over seeds and farming by committing Canada to adopt UPOV'91, the draconian 1991 version of The International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties. The inclusion of UPOV'91 in the deal is completely unnecessary and is excessively harmful to Canadian farmers. Seed breeders would have the right to collect royalties on seed at any point in the food chain!

The draft of the trade deal also says that biotech corporations could seize the crops, equipment, and farms, and freeze the bank accounts of farmers who are deemed patent infringers, like farmers who find unwanted contamination in their fields.

Notice that our government isn't telling us much about these negotiations and so far there's certainly no public debate about them. I have a problem with that and you should too. I'm sure the large, multinational corporations are quite happy with the way negotiations are proceeding but they may be the only big winners from this. And if that's not the case, why isn't the Harper Government™ — normally so quick to advertise what it's doing on our behalf — keeping us better informed?

H/t to Toedancer at Bread & Roses.

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I'm so glad you've posted this pogge. It's all being done behind our backs as usual.

Another important issue for us as food consumers is labelling GM foods, Canada is working to shut down negotiations on GE food labeling at the international UN Codex meeting May 3-7 in Quebec City. The US is trying to stop the negotiations and Canada is helping them. 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 at the World Trade Organization. The Codex meeting in Alberta (May 5th)- Despite US and Canadian objections, the Codex meeting agreed to continue their work to develop guidelines for labeling GM foods.
To write the Health Minister go to: (Canadian Biotechnology Action Network).
Thank goodness on April 15, 2010: Bill C-474 went to the Agriculture Committee for study. See how they voted @ CBAN.

I have some difficulty seeing the Conservatives dropping Supply Management. They are a rural party, and going down that road, or even appearing to go down that road will get them killed. I can see them maybe doing it in the first year of a large majority mandate, but even then....
Poultry Egg and Dairy farmers have watched international Trade meetings like hawks for decades, ready to defend their livilyhoods. The CWB is perhaps the most vulnerable because not all its members are happy with it, but as for the rest, they're rock solid.

What do you call a government that will sell out its own supporters to big agra?


This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

Thanks folks, I'm here all week. Try the fish.