‘The seed bill’ threatens local farmers

'The seed bill' threatens local farmers Open letter to Yukon Senator Daniel Lang: I am writing to encourage you, as our Senate representative in Ottawa, to oppose Bill C-18, known informally as "the seed bill," and instead work for a bill that will hel

Open letter to Yukon Senator

Daniel Lang:

I am writing to encourage you, as our Senate representative in Ottawa, to oppose Bill C-18, known informally as “the seed bill,” and instead work for a bill that will help farmers, instead of a bill that works to line the pockets of global agri-business corporations.

This bill has serious repercussions for farmers across Canada, and since farmers’ ability to access seed to grow food for animals and people eventually affects consumers, will also have serious repercussions for all Canadians.

In a nutshell, this bill does the following:

1) restricts farmers’ rights to save seed – nowhere in this bill does it say that farmers can actually “stock” their seed, saving it for subsequent years for planting or selling. A seed company could sue a farmer for storing harvested seed saved to plant the following year!

2) gives corporate seed companies the ability to charge royalties on seed crops grown, not just on the cost of seed to grow the crops (so farmers can be charged twice, not just once) That’s a great new revenue generator for corporations, but not great at all for farmers.

3) allows the government to use tests and studies done by foreign governments and organizations instead of using

Canada’s own science to support approvals or licensing of food products in Canada – not good for Canadians, period.

4) allows the government to pass regulations removing classes of farmers, plant varieties and entire crop types from the so-called “farmers’ privilege” (right to save seed). Yes, read that again: “removing classes of farmers.” Doesn’t that sound weird?

I could go on and on, because this bill is another infamous “omnibus” bill, which means that an overwhelming amount of stuff is stuffed in there – making it impossible for the average person to understand the far-reaching implications and devastation this bill will have on Canada’s food system.

But I will close with a simple thought: “Those who control the seed, control the food system. Those who control the food system control people. Do we want to entrust Monsanto and their like with this power?” That’s Terry Boehm, past president of the National Farmers Union of Canada.

Please stand up for farmers, and Yukoners, and ultimately all Canadians and oppose this bill.

If you would like backgrounder information about Bill C-18, I suggest going to the National Farmers Union website, where they have gone to a lot of trouble to figure out what exactly this bill means.

Barbara Drury

Circle D Ranch, Yukon

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