Bill that threatens seed saving under fire

Valley farmers and gardeners are gathering Saturday, March 29 at 1:30 p.m. at Glenora Hall to protest a federal law that would stop them from saving home-grown seed.

An information session on Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act, will feature speakers from the National Farmers Union "The main thing is losing our seed sovereignty," said Jan Slomp, president of the National Farmers Union from his Alberta farm.

He will be joined at the session by NFU director Peter Eggers.

Dan Ferguson, a Glenora farmer and NFU member, said Tuesday that he was happy to see such a high-level presentation coming to the Cowichan Valley.

"It’s pretty bad news. People on the Prairies are really going to be hammered by this. We won’t see the results as much here because the government won’t be able to easily go after backyard gardeners but the age old farmer rights of collecting your own seeds are being fairly heavily eroded there," he said Slomp said his group is greatly concerned about changes in seed legislation, in variety registration and royalty collection and how the legislative changes will open more doors to big corporations and foreign ownership of Canadian farmland.

Not being able to use the seed from this year’s harvest for next year’s planting is going to hit many farmers right in the wallet, while boosting "an international community of usually large chemical corporations," he said.

"This [C-18] is facilitating a royalty regime that will give them extensive power to collect royalties and farmers will lose out. And, our public plant breeding is being systematically under-funded and that vacuum calls for this legislation.

"Farmers are paying more in levies for public plant breeding and on top of that they pay more in royalties for these private varieties."

The result is while farmers feel the pinch, the public still pays significantly towards variety development but "that revenue is clearly going to an international structure of corporations," he said. Meanwhile "our government is moving forward with legislation

that further impedes the ability to deal with climate change from a farmer perspective as it sacrifices the public sector that has a crucial role to play in food security."

Stromp also pointed out that C-18 includes border controls that will allow chemicals, additives and drugs into the country for agriculture "without having scientific assessments by our regulatory bodies taking place. The foreign regulatory regime will be automatically deemed sufficient for importation into Canada."

He called it "draconian, cutting costs while undermining democracy."

In addition, the NFU president will address the subject of multiple-year advance payments for farmers for agricultural enterprises.

"It’s red-tape cutting: farmers can apply once and qualify every year as long as they are still farming but the danger is here that we open the door farther for foreign corporations owning Canadian land. And Canada financing that development itself with advance payments," he concluded.

Just Posted

The province has come through with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project. (File photo)
Funding comes through for Duncan Manor’s renewal project

Money will come from the province’s Community Housing Fund

The former St. Joseph’s School site will remain an art studio at least into early next year. It will take some time before being converted to an addictions recovery community. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Addiction recovery facility will be all about building community together

Society on a clear path with members’ experiences to provide valuable help

Seniors in the Cowichan Valley are being moved into the new Hamlets. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
New Hamlets in Duncan admitting seniors

Residential-care facility has 88 beds

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
Arrests continue to mount at Fairy Creek as protesters complain about RCMP tactics

Number of arrests approach 200 in ongoing southern Vancouver Island logging protest

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Most Read