Why farmers are not celebrating CETA’s five-year anniversary
September 21 marked the five-year anniversary of the provisional application of the Canada–EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). It is no surprise to the National Farmers Union (NFU) that farmers are not happy with the results. Negotiations on the agricultural chapter were strained to the point that it was one of the last areas to be agreed upon. In the media, the issues were presented as a trade-off between allowing the EU more access to our supply-managed dairy market in return for gaining more access to the EU’s market for Canadian beef. Some political commentators looked for cheap points by framing this purported stalemate as a conflict between western ranchers and dairy producers in Ontario and Quebec. The NFU had a more sophisticated analysis, which time has proven to be accurate.
Op Ed – Testing the Waters
Despite persistent efforts to enclose and privatize it, water is still something that we try to govern by balancing private rights and the public interest. It is part of what is sometimes called “the commons,” the shared cultural and natural resources on which all members of society, and all economic activities, ultimately depend. If we are to retain even a modicum of respect for our common heritage, Saskatchewan will need effective water governance, and wetlands policy that will keep our farmland and waterways healthy and diverse, and the federal government will need to continue carrying out its responsibilities to protect water quality across the country.
Op Ed – Health Minister must ensure new gene edited foods are properly and democratically regulated
 On May 18, Health Canada announced how it will regulate foods from gene-edited plants. The new “regulatory guidance” turns its back on science and transparency by actually exempting many new gene-edited foods from regulation. Our health minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, has decided to allow Health Canada to open the door for product developers to sell gene-edited organisms without any government oversight. He has abandoned his responsibility to Canadians who rely on the government to ensure our food system is safe. Without proper regulation, there is no assurance for Canadians or our export customers, that our products are safe.
Flexible Support— Consistent Income Needed for Farmers to Continue Their Essential Work
The interconnectedness of Canadian farmers’ income security and the climate crisis cannot be denied; yet, neither issue is being addressed with the urgency it warrants. As two young people in
Scapegoating Not the Answer to Potato Wart Problem
Blaming someone or something for the wrongdoing, mistakes or faults of others for convenience, is an ancient tactic. Scapegoating is used to deflect people away from seeing true agendas of
Counter productive investments
A letter written by NFU member Fred Tait—Rossendale, MB. Our federal government has been promoting a plan to plant millions of trees for the purpose of combatting climate change. The
Op Ed – Farmers Beware the Variety Use Agreement
The VUA is a pilot project of Seeds Canada, where some companies make specific new varieties available only under a contract requiring the farmer to pay the company a fee every time they use the variety for farm-saved seed. Farmers should be aware of the history of the VUA and what it means for their right to use farm saved seed.
A chorus of ‘precision agriculture’
The NFU agrees that the use of the new ag-technology, implied by “precision agriculture”, can improve many aspects of farming. However, our most important question always is whether or not the best interests of farmers are being served by innovations. Or is this another way to consolidate corporate control, making a possibly good thing into a deeper threat for independent farmers?
CFIA gene editing regulatory proposal not science-based or transparent
Canada is deciding how to regulate gene-edited plants – and is largely proposing not to. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for regulating genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) plants for environmental safety under the Seeds Act Regulations - Part V. These regulations define what is considered a “Plant with Novel Traits” (PNTs) and how PNTs are regulated. The CFIA is proposing a new interpretation that would exempt many gene edited plants right away, and more in the future. The proposed regulatory guidance turns its back on science, allows biotech companies to determine safety, and leaves farmers, future regulators and the public in the dark.
Op Ed: Seed is key to the kingdom
By Cathy Holtslander This Op Ed was originally published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives on The Monitor Online. On March 31, newly confirmed United States Trade Representative (USTR)