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Op Ed - Bill C-49: Helping the railways farm the farmers

Here we go again! Some prairie farmers cannot ship their grain. Grain companies and their friends are blaming the railways for not getting the grain to port. After months of being lobbied, the federal government is pushing new transportation legislation, claiming Bill C-49 will punish the railways for neglecting grain shipments. Yet this legislation effectively deregulates those same railways. The railways are quiet and the grain companies are happy. Anyone paying attention should notice a lot wrong with this picture.
Is it really true that prairie grain is not moving to port? If you believe the grain companies and their friends in the Ag Transport Coalition, the railways are ignoring their rail car orders. Yet, the more grain the railways haul, the more money they make, so this claim does not meet the smell test.
Measuring grain movement is a fairly simple task.

The National Farmers Union sends condolences to the Pfenning family

The National Farmers Union lost a valued member, leader and friend last week. Andreas Pfenning, son of Jennifer and Ekk Pfenning, passed away suddenly when he accidentally slipped into the Nith River while hunting on February 26th. Andreas was 24 years old.
Andreas was an active member of our organization. He currently held the position of President of Local 340 - Waterloo Wellington. Most recently, he attended the NFU Convention in Ottawa in November where he engaged in conversations with fellow members.
Andreas was passionate about farming and migrant workers rights. He was a great chef and loved to cook and brew beer.
Our hearts go out to the Pfenning family -- Jenn, Ekk, and his brothers Markus and Tristan -- and everyone who was fortunate to have known Andreas -- as we mourn his loss.

NFU Celebrates and Promotes Women’s Leadership and Diversity

A Statement on International Women’s Day

(March 8, 2018, Ottawa, ON) -- Today, on International Women’s Day 2018 Coral Sproule, National Farmers Union (NFU) President, highlights the growing leadership of women in farming.  “When I was a kid, I thought all farmers were men on tractors,” said Sproule. “But now, I’m a farmer and a role model.”
Even with the rapidly increasing proportion of women involved in farming, they still face barriers to inclusion and leadership which need to be overcome.  The NFU has encouraged leadership of women and youth since it was founded in 1969.

Passing flawed Bill C-49 Transportation Bill will not help farmers, says NFU

(March 6, 2018, Saskatoon) – The Senate is now studying Bill C-49, a bill to amend Canada’s Transportation Act and other related Acts, which the House of Commons passed in November. The National Farmers Union (NFU) is one of many groups urging the Senate’s Transportation and Communications Committee to amend the bill before it goes back to the Senate for a final vote.
“As it currently stands, Bill C-49 is so flawed that it is unlikely to provide any relief to farmers,” said Hanley-area grain farmer, Cam Goff, NFU 2nd Vice President. “Its provisions actually weaken the position of farmers and offer empty solutions to real problems.” 
“A system of reciprocal penalties for non-performance by grain companies and railways could prove useless for improving service or reducing costs for farmers.

Food Sovereignty

Empowering people to make the important decisions about food and agriculture
The National Farmers Union and other family farm/peasant, indigenous and rural workers organizations work within the global movement, La Vía Campesina, to resist the global trade agreements and the WTO, stop the destruction of  communities, cultures and environments, and build an alternative: food sovereignty. 
Food sovereignty is about empowering people – farmers and eaters – to make the important decisions about food and agriculture. It is the condition where people define their own food and agriculture systems to produce healthy and culturally appropriate food for people through ecologically sound and sustainable methods.

Prison Farms to Re-open at Kingston

(February 28, 2018, Kingston ON) - A nine year campaign to save the prison farm program at federal institutions paid off today where it counts — in the federal budget.
The national government will invest $4.3 million over five years, beginning in 2018, to support re-opening the penitentiary farms at Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions in Kingston, Ontario.
In 2010, the previous Conservative government closed Canada’s six prison farms — one in each of the Prairie provinces and New Brunswick, and two within Kingston.
For 18 months, from the spring of 2009 to August, 2010, hundreds of Kingston and eastern Ontario people campaigned to save the program, citing its benefits to inmates and to the community.
“People of all political leanings told us closing the prison farms didn’t make any sense,” says Dianne Dowling, a member

NFU - Manitoba Region 5 2018 Annual Meeting

Sat, 03/03/2018 - 09:00 - 18:00
We invite you to attend the Region 5 Annual Meeting which will be held Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Canad Inns, 2401 Saskatchewan Ave, Portage la Prairie, Manitobawith the theme:  Farmers in the Crosshairs: Our Institutions at Risk. The official Convention will commence at 9:30 A.M. and run into the evening this year.  The registration fee is:  $35 for non-members and $25 for members. Youth under 26 can attend for free.  Included lunch will be soup and sandwiches.  Let us know if you can make it so we can book meals in advance.

Letter of Solidarity to Brazil's MST

Letter of Solidarity 
to Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement,
Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST)
The National Farmers Union (NFU) of Canada expresses deep sadness over the murder of Márcio Matos (Marcinho), leader of the MST in the state of Bahia, Brazil, on January 24th 2018. We denounce his murder and add our voices to yours, demanding the Government of Brazil conduct a full investigation to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to trial. 
As a member of the global small-scale farmer movement, La Vía Campesina, we seek to build solidarity with farmers internationally. The NFU is therefore deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of MST leaders.  The death of Márcio Matos has added to a disheartening surge of violence against peasants in Brazil in the last two years under Michel Temer’s illegitimate government.

“Polluter Pay” principle at stake as Supreme Court hears Redwater Appeal

(February 13, 2018, Red Deer, AB) – On February 15, 2018 the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the case, Orphan Well Association, et al. v. Grant Thornton Limited, et al., also known as the Redwater Appeal. The case involves the bankruptcy trustee of an oil company, Redwater Energy Corp. that disclaimed Redwater’s old, non-producing and orphan wells as a way to increase the returns to creditors by avoiding liability for the costs of abandonment. Abandonment involves properly sealing the wells and remediating the land where they are situated. The trustee, Grant Thornton Limited, ignored Alberta Energy Regulator’s abandonment and remediation orders, arguing that the federal Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act takes precedence over Alberta’s environmental regulations.

Region 3 Annual Convention and NFU-O AGM 2018

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 19:00 - Sat, 03/03/2018 - 12:00
Trouble in the Fields: Reclaiming the Food Landscape
Keynote with Sarah Harmer and Joan Kuyek
Doors at 7:00pm, event at 7:30pm
Core Arts and Culture Centre
223 Pinnacle St, Belleville ON
Join us for a keynote talk by Sarah Harmer and Joan Kuyek on the importance of community organizing.
Sarah Harmer is a Canadian singer, songwriter and environmental activist from Burlington, Ontario. In 2005, Sarah co-founded PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land), an organization which campaigned to protect the Niagara Escarpment from a proposed gravel development which would see some parts of wilderness near the escarpment removed.