Guelph, Ontario – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Terry Boehm will be conducting a speaking tour of Southern Ontario in late June, to draw attention to the dangers posed by the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) currently being negotiated between Canada and the European Union. “The CETA agreement is really a corporate bill of rights. It is more far-reaching than any trade agreement we have ever had before. Mr. Boehm has a lot of expertise in this area, and we are looking forward to having him share his knowledge with farmers in Ontario,” stated NFU Board Member Ann Slater.
Boehm has devoted his life to defending the rights of farmers to save their own seeds. Not only has Boehm thoroughly analyzed past trade agreements, he has actively protested their implementation. As a farmer who has saved his own seeds throughout his life, Boehm is warning that CETA will impose a culture of fear on the countryside. “CETA allows the courts to order the precautionary seizure of all of a farmer’s assets, simply for being accused of violating a gene patent or other intellectual property right. Just for being accused, a farmer can be put out of business instantly. It is crucial that Canadians become aware of this,” stated NFU President Terry Boehm.
The CETA negotiations have been taking place behind closed doors for more than a year. The negotiations are scheduled to wrap up by the end of 2011. The agreement will have far-reaching implications for local purchasing policies by governments, farmer’s ability to save their own seeds, and corporate control of patents for drugs and chemicals. “The agreement will have very serious consequences for Canadians from all walks of life. For instance, the implications for Ontario's growing local food movement are a huge concern. This agreement will undermine efforts to increase the use of local food at schools, universities and hospitals. Federal, provincial and municipal governments will all be forbidden from favouring local businesses,” said Slater.
“The NFU has taken the lead role in informing farmers about the CETA agreement and what it means for them. There have been a lot of misconceptions that CETA will give market access for our farm commodities, but that simply is not true. In fact, Canada is giving away a lot and getting very little in return. I encourage all Ontarians, farmersand city-folk alike, to come and learn about this agreement and how we can stop it,” stated Slater.
This tour is organized and sponsored by the following NFU Ontario Locals: Perth/Oxford, Hastings/Prince Edward/Northumberland, Bruce, Huron and Middlesex.
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Speaking Tour Information:
June 28 – 7:00 p.m. Victoria Jubliee Hall, 111 Jackson St. S., Walkerton
June 29 – St. Marys United Church Hall, 85 Church St. S., St. Marys
3:00 – 5:00 p.m – Discussion of the implications CETA will have on local food systems and local procurement policies for federal,
provincial and municipal governments.
7:30 p.m – A presentation and discussion on 'The Threat CETA Poses to Family Farms and Our Right to Save Seeds'
June 30 –7:00 p.m. Thurlow Community Centre, 516 Harmony Rd , Corbyville (just north of Belleville, off Hwy. 37). Joint event with the Council of Canadians.
Everyone welcome to all of the above events.