GE Free Comox Valley

Say No to GMO

Monthly Archives: December 2013

▶ Elizabeth May – Saanich Town Hall – September 2013 – Genetically Modified Foods – YouTube

▶ Elizabeth May – Saanich Town Hall – September 2013 – Genetically Modified Foods – YouTube.


MLA Don McRae says GMO is Federal Issue

MLA Don McRae says GMO is Federal Issue

GE Watch members presented MLA Don McRae with letters from constituents supporting a GE Free BC and a petition to halt the introduction of the GE (non-browning) apple. McRae says it is a Federal issue.

Comox Valley GE Watch members petition MLA Don McRae

Don McRae MLA
Members of GE Watch Comox Valley met with MLA Don McRae on Dec 12th, 2013.

They presented him with letters from local people supporting a GE Free BC and a petition to halt the introduction of the GE (non-browning) apple. These were collected during the March Against Monsanto rallies and other events in the last few months.

As the MLA of this region, they look to him to voice their concerns to request the BC government to act on the Motion presented by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) to prohibit the import/export or growing of GE DNA plants, seeds and animals in BC. This motion was forwarded to the Legislature in September 2013 and a reply within 6 months is expected (Mar 2014).

McRae was very clear about what he thought by stating that he “cannot champion this issue” because there is a vast part of North Eastern BC that grows GE crops and would prevent this from being a winnable issue in BC. He reiterated that this is a matter for the Federal jurisdiction.

The unanimous UBCM motion to ban the GE Apple was sent to the BC legislature in October, 2012 but no reply has yet been received. Time is critical because it appears that Washington State is on the verge of commercializing the GE Apple. McRae acknowledged “the inevitable contamination to our apple trees” due to the proximity of the Washington orchards. Linda Cheu, GE Watch CV, asked him “As the birds and bees know no political boundaries, maybe we need to invoke NAFTA agreements to protect and compensate our pristine apple orchards?”

The group advised McRae that consumers are leading the way for a change and getting off the tread mill of GE ingredients, as witnessed in the growing organic aisles in grocery stores. “It’s easy to find organic milk in the stores now, even though it costs more.” pointed out Alan Goodacre, board member of CV Growers and Seed Savers. McRae was very positive about the lure of organic growers into the valley as the land here is fertile and large tracts of ALR land was never put under cultivation and is therefore still clean and uncontaminated.

The delegation came away with a clearer understanding of the BC Liberal’s agenda. They will not work towards a GE Free BC nor a ban on the GE Apple. Moreover, regional concerns and intentions, which do not coincide with government policy does not have a place in this agenda.

Linda Cheu


UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World – TECHNOLOGYWATER

Your Health and Genetically Modified Foods – Colin Palmer

View this video taken at the Your Health and Genetically Modified Food by Colin Palmer

colin-palmerColin Palmer is the Chair of Powell River Regional District and was instrumental in establishing the First GE Free Crop Zone in Canada in 2004.  Colin has resided in Powell River for 46 years.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree (English, history and geography) from the University of British Columbia in 1960.  Colin has served as a Councillor and Mayor of the City of Powell River.  He is at present the Director for Area C and Chair of the Regional Board. Among other community positions he has held, he has been President of the Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Community Futures Development Corporation and a member of the Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee and the Provincial Environmental Appeal Board.  After a 12-year teaching career, Colin has operated a printing business in Powell River since 1976.

Your Health and Genetically Modified Foods – Jan Slomp

View this video from the Your Health and Genetically Modified Foods Forum by Jan Slomp

Jan SlompJan Slomp and partner Marian own and operate a dairy farm since 1979, the first ten years in the Netherlands and since 1989 in central Alberta. Jan milked his first cow in 1962 and has seen dairy farming change, from before 1960 without any fossil fuel, through the green revolution, into a highly intensive and productive sector. He altered his objectives in the nineties, from ever increasing productivity into a more holistic and sustainable farming approach. The number one guide in pursuing his goals is soil and animal health. Jan is board member of the National Farmers Union and in that capacity was active in order to get a ban on the use of Bovine Growth Hormone in Canada. He is compelled to warn fellow farmers for the lack of a precautionary approach in the regulatory regime for agriculture in North America. Jan is delegate for Alberta Milk. Jan and Marian’s farm, was one of the three contestants for the 2013 Dairy Farmers of Canada Sustainability Award.

Your Health and Genetically Modified Foods – Thierry Vrain

View this video from the Your Health and Genetically Modified Foods Forum by  Thierry Vrain

Thierry Vrain

Dr. Thierry Vrain was a soil biologist and a genetic engineer with Agriculture Canada for 30 years.  He was the Head of the Biotechnology Department at the Summerland Research Centre, managing the research programs of 40 professional and technical employees and providing leadership for scientific committees and organizations to evaluate research proposals, educate and advise on scientific issues. He provided scientific journals with reviews and editorial evaluations of scientific manuscripts, and technical expertise to governments to evaluate diagnostics and exclusion policies, and to Universities in Canada and abroad to educate students and staff, and supervise research projects. Thierry retired in 2002 and created a little herbal farm on Vancouver Island where he teaches soil health. He has slipped into the persona of “a scientist turned activist” and he lectures about GMOs.

CBAN e letter Dec 2013, Seralini retraction, Aussi organic Farmer sue , New Ag Omnibus Bill,Brazil terminator

[cban e-News] News: Terminator Defeated for Now, Seralini Study Retracted, Organic Farmer Sues, Canada’s Agriculture Omnibus Bill‏

Groups, Newsletters
Outlook Active View

Help This Farmer Stop Monsanto’s GM Canola/Oil Seed Rape – Short Version
play video

Dear Friends,

We are reporting some incredibly important developments from around the world, including the Canadian government’s new Agriculture Omnibus Bill. The news below exposes the intense fight around the future of GM crops.

Last week your protests helped to stall the biotech industry’s move to get GM sterile seeds (Terminator technology), despite an international moratorium. The update from Brazil is below. CBAN is coordinating the Canadian Ban Terminator Campaign as part of the international campaign. Industry will do everything they can to be able to use this technology, and we will do everything we can to stop them.

Meanwhile, an Australian farmer is close to his court date: he lost his organic certification due to GM canola contamination. This is a familiar story to Canadians but is a new fight in Australia, and for the first time, a single farmer is taking his neighbour to court for contaminating his farm.

Below are also updates on the retraction of the Seralini study of GM corn – this first long-term study of GM corn has now been retracted by the scientific journal that published it. This means that it is no longer a part of the scientific literature. Its an astonishing story, with lots of strong analysis that you can read.

The right to save seed is under attack. Terminator technology is only one tool that could be used to stop farmers from saving seeds. Next year, CBAN will join with farmers across Canada in stopping further enclosures on seed saving. We introduce the newly proposed Agriculture Omnibus Bill below.

As you can see, next year is already shaping up to be a defining time in the movement for food sovereignty. We look forward to working with all of you to create a better future. Thank you for joining us.

Best regards, Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

P.S. You can donate today at Your tax-deductible gift is greatly appreciated.


Your Actions Worked! Terminator Stopped for Now

Fate of Pro-Terminator Bill Uncertain – Brazil’s Judiciary Commission in Confusion: Charges, Counter-Charges and Confrontations

Confronted with 35,000 institutional and individual signatures on a petition growing by several hundred an hour, Brazil’s Judiciary Commission agreed to take the Pro-Terminator Bill off the agenda leaving open the possibility that the bill will not be passed until Congress reconvenes in early February. Terminator technology is GM sterile seed technology.

“There is no reason to trust this process or reduce our pressure,” says Maria José Guazzelli of Centro Ecológico, “although the government and commission have been taken aback by our opposition, they could pass the bill at almost any moment. If the vote doesn’t come before Friday, December 20, we will have a breathing space until February but anything could happen next week and everything could happen in February.”

Brazilian allies both in the Commission and among the civil society organizations attending the negotiations say that representatives and government officials have been shocked by the scale in ferocity of global opposition to the proposed legislation.

Supporters of the suicide seed legislation have privately argued that GMO opponents should welcome their bill since it will prevent farmers from reusing GM seeds. This is both technically and politically wrong. Terminator technologies are highly imperfect and the sterility trait will inevitably bleed into neighboring fields and crops meaning that farmers will unwittingly plant seeds that they will never be able to harvest. More ominously, Terminator is fundamentally a ground-shifting market strategy. If major seed companies are allowed to use Terminator technologies they will immediately transfer all of their plant breeding research onto the suicide seed platform which affords them anywhere from 2 to 4 times the profitability of non-Terminator seeds. With the incentive of windfall profits, the multinationals will use every resource at their command to persuade government regulators to accept Terminator varieties and will quietly withdraw less-profitable, non-Terminator varieties from the market leaving both farmers and countries stranded with only the Terminator option. Terminator profoundly transforms the economic and political dynamics of global plant breeding.

Lots of people had difficultly with the petition – we now have the petition in English and for non-Portuguese speakers: in order to sign to the petition on, you must enter your first name (Nome), last name (Sobrenome), email address, street address (Endereço), city (Cidade), state (Estado), zip code (CEP); tick the first box if you want to receive mailings from; tick the second box if you want to receive updates on the Terminator issue.

For more information on Terminator technology please see

November 28, 2013: The editor of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has decided to retract the (long-term) study by the team of Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini, which found severe toxic effects, including kidney and liver damage and increased rates of tumours and mortality in rats fed Monsanto’s genetically modified NK603 maize and/or the associated herbicide Roundup. The decision to retract the paper follows the journal’s appointment of Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto scientist and an affiliate of the GMO industry-funded group, the International Life Sciences Institute, to the specially created post of associate editor for biotechnology.

GMWatch believes the retraction of Prof Séralini’s paper is “illicit, unscientific, and unethical” and violates the guidelines for retractions in scientific publishing

Most recently, the editor of the journal published a defence of the retraction. He says, “It is the entire paper, with the claim that there is a definitive link between GMO and cancer that is being retracted.” However the Seralini paper does no such thing. There is no claim or conclusion in the paper relating to cancer.

“Uncertainty is inherent to science, as is the debate between conflicting explanations of findings. Openness of this debate and independent research to find the truth are crucial prerequisites for the survival of independent science.”

You can also read an Open Letter to Canadian Consumers from E. Ann Clark, Associate Professor (retired), Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph.

Landmark Legal Case in Australia: Organic farmer suing his neighbour for GM contamination

Steve Marsh is an Australian farmer who lost his organic certification when Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) canola blew onto his farm from a neighbouring property in 2010. Since then, Steve lost most of his income and has been struggling to get his organic certification back.

Monsanto has a no liability agreement with GM farmers that prevent them from being sued. The only avenue Steve had to protect his livelihood was to take his neighbour to court. It is due to start on the 10th February 2014 in the Western Australian Supreme Court and is scheduled to run for three weeks.

This is the world’s first case of an organic farmer using the courts to recover loss and damages from a GM farmer. This case has been described as a landmark case to determine who should take responsibility in case of GM contamination. If Steve wins it will set a precedent to guide the application of common law to GM contamination and will be of interest to lawmakers worldwide.

From 2001 to 2007 Saskatchewan Organic Directorate’s Organic Agriculture Protection Fund (OAPF) committee supported the province’s certified organic farmers to bring a legal action against Monsanto and Bayer to obtain compensation for losses due to contamination of fields and crops by GM canola. Because the courts would not certify the case as a class action, the issues of liability due to GMO contamination have never been tested in a Canadian court. The OAPF Committee continues its work to protect the right to farm GMO-free and the right to eat GMO-free.

Please watch and share the short video explaining Steve’s story and share it with friends, family and colleagues.
You can also donate to support this landmark case.

The Safe Food Foundation, Australia!/SafeFoodFound

Seed Saving Under Attack in Canada: New Agriculture Omnibus Bill

Canada’s Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz has just introduced the Agricultural Growth Act (AGA). The government is calling the AGA an omnibus bill for agriculture because it proposes amendments to a number of acts dealing with plant breeders’ rights, feed, seed, fertilizer, animal health, plant protection, monetary penalties, ag marketing programs and farm debt mediation.

The Act would amend the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act to align it with the requirements of UPOV ‘91 (the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants). UPOV ‘91 is about restricting what farmers can do with seed and giving seed companies powerful new tools to extract money from farmers: “These seed corporations would be able to extract money from farmers on their entire crop,” Terry Boehm of the National Farmers Union explained, “The cascading right would allow seed corporations to collect royalties at any point in the food system, but most likely when farmers sell their crop. This means that the seed companies would generate revenue on a farmer’s entire production rather than just on the seed purchased to grow the crop…The plant breeder/seed corporation would have total control of seed, including exclusive control of conditioning (cleaning and treating), stocking (bagging or storage), importing, exporting, and sales of seed. This upsets thousands of years of normal agricultural practice whereby farmers always saved seed for their next crop.”

The National Farmers Union Seed and Trade Committee is undertaking a thorough reading of the Act, and will prepare a detailed analysis of its implications for farmers in the near future.

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506

Carol Alt on GMOs – A Healthy You – Fox News

Carol Alt, host of A Healthy You, on Fox News discusses GMOs in a must see video.   A Healthy You & Carol Alt | Fox News

110213_gmos_445 | Fox News Video


Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research?: Scientific American

Scientists must ask corporations for permission before publishing independent research on genetically modified crops. That restriction must end

Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research?: Scientific American