The successful Town Hall Meeting held on Sunday, November 26th in MP Chuck Strahl’s Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding is now taking its demand for a ban on Terminator seeds directly to the Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister and the policy-making bureaucrats at Agriculture Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
“Although Ag Minister Strahl declined his invitation to attend, it would have been an excellent opportunity to hear what local farmers as well as farmers from across the country have to say about Terminator seeds,” said GE Free BC representative and event organizer Michael Clarke. “Our petition with over 120 signatures adequately demonstrates that local farmers and residents not only have concerns about this controversial technology, but that they also want government at all levels to act in a responsible manner that is in the best interests of family farmers and communities everywhere.” Terminator refers to genetic engineering technologies that allow companies to introduce seeds whose sterile offspring cannot reproduce. This prevents farmers from saving and re-planting seeds from their harvest and fattens the bottom line of trans-national agri-business corporations. Speaking at the event were Tony Beck of GE Free BC and Colleen Ross, Farmer and Women’s President of the National Farmer’s Union, who warned the audience “Terminator, also known as Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT), not only worsens the economic situation of farmers, it threatens biodiversity, food security and food sovereignty for us all.”
In March 2006 the UN Convention on Biological Diversity reaffirmed and strengthened its global moratorium on field-testing and commercializing Terminator technology, in spite of pressure from the Canadian delegation to weaken it. Now our government appears ready to ignore the UN CBD moratorium altogether as it considers regulations to make Terminator seeds a commercial reality despite widespread global opposition. On Dec. 7 in Ottawa hearings will be held by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture on the future of Terminator in Canada, which is why a resolution was unanimously passed on Sunday that demands a comprehensive ban.
The Terminator Town Hall Meeting is part of a nationwide campaign by the Coalition for a GE Free BC, the National Farmers Union of Canada, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, the Council of Canadians and Greenpeace Canada.
For information contact: Michael Clarke, GE Free BC: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the Resolution passed at the TSTH Meeting:
WHEREAS trans-national agri-business corporations assisted by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have developed and received a patent on new agricultural biotechnology known as Terminator technology that is applicable to plants and seeds of all species that creates sterile seeds; AND WHEREAS this patent will increase the value of proprietary production and ownership, enabling them to dominate world food production with genetically engineered food; AND WHEREAS this combination of biotechnology and the granting of patents will effectively stop farmers from using seed from their own crops, thus destroying the plant-to-seed-to-plant-to-seed cycle that supports most life on this planet and is fundamental to human existence:
BE IT RESOLVED that we petition the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of British Columbia and their respective Ministers of Agriculture to take immediate and decisive action to ban terminator seed technology which could spread plant sterility among all seeding plants potentially creating a global catastrophe and foster the growing monopolization of our food production industry:
AND BE IT RESOLVED that we urge the governments of Canada and of BC to act immediately to prevent any corporation from patenting, and thus controlling and monopolizing, any seed stock of any variety in Canada or elsewhere in the world.