it were a novel, people would criticize the plot for being too far-fetched – thriving colonies disappear overnight without leaving a
trace, the bodies of the victims are never found. Full story here.
Minister declares week of Dec. 22-29 "Organic Week" in Manitoba.
Chemical-free veggies, fresh from a MB garden. PLT photo
Manitoba's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, Ron Kostyshyn, (l.) enjoyed a 4-course, gourmet organic meal with organic producers and retailers at an intimate Winnipeg restaurant last evening. Fusion Grill is long known for its support of fresh, local and organic food.
Mr. Kostyshyn promised the guests his government would attempt to "raise the profile" of organic agriculture in the province.
He then signed a declaration, proclaiming Sept. 22-29th as "Organic Week in Manitoba." (The week just passed was National Organic Week.)
I was there, too, representing PLT and enjoying delicious dishes, ranging from roast heirloom squash to pumpkin crème brulee.
Please also read: "Manitoba Proclaims Organic Week," here.
PLT. Mr. Kostyshyn, I know the province is looking at banning the use of cosmetic pesticides on lawns and gardens and I think the Minister of Environmet seemed to sound like he might actually go for it (a ban). How big a leap is it to assume that some kind of ban or clampdown on agricultural pesticides might be in the works?
Minister. Well, obviously, Mr. Gord Macintosh is the Min. that's involved in the cosmetic ban at this point in time….
PLT. But you are the Minister of Agriculture.
Minister. But I'm Minister of Agriculture, but the pesticide ban as far as lawn pesticides falls under his jurisdiction.
PLT. I appreciate that.
Minister. So at this point in time, Mr. Macintosh and I have had some discussions but to speculate what's happening in future I think would be somewhat immature (sic) for me to make a comment at this time.
PLT. Is it difficult for the province to have any control or does it have much control at all about the regulation of pesticides province-wide or is that pretty well a federal purvue?
Minister. Basically, we rely on the scientists with the fed. agencies that go through the necessary testing of the product that's being questioned.
PLT. I wonder if you'd do me a favour, I just had an article published in the Journal Alternative about Roundup. It points out and lists and documents a long and growing list of medical studies on the adverse effects of Roundup on crops, livestock, wildlife, on human beings, and yet this science seems to be getting lost somewhere out there. Would you do me a favour and read that article and get back to me on what you think of it…like, you must be aware of some of these studies?
Minister. Basically, I've heard some documentation. I have to be quite honest with you, Larry, I haven't investigated. But your request to bring forward that piece of documentation, if you would forward it to my office….my special assistant...
PLT. Actually, I did that, 3 wks ago in an email….I don't know if …you must have missed it but I did send it to you and several other people.
Minister. I appreciate that. As you may remember, I was in Whitehorse, just got back..we were going thru "Growing Forward" and the hog industry…we were in the shortage feed….I'm not prioritizing..maybe the documentation is somewhere in the system but I haven't had the chance to read it.
PLT. if you could get back to me after reading and answer the questions in my email, that would be terrific.
VANCOUVER - A coalition of conservation groups is suing the federal environment minister to try and force Ottawa to protect endangered and threatened species along the proposed route of the Northern Gateway pipeline. Full story here. Southern mountain caribou (l.) one of the "at-risk" species. Photo from Nature Conservancy of Canada.Photograph by: Canada-World
Winnipeg Free Press A coalition of health and environmental groups is hoping the Manitoba government will impose strict regulations and ultimately full-out bans regarding the use of cosmetic pesticides.... Details here.
The Sydney Morning Herald AS ARCTIC sea ice hits a record low, focus is turning to climate ''tipping points'' - a threshold that, once crossed, cannot be reversed and will create fundamental changes to other areas. Full story here.
Children exposed to higher levels of mercury or lead are three to five times more likely to be identified by teachers as having problems associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to a scientific study published today. Full story here.
Winnipeg Free Press WINNIPEG - A Manitoba farm group is calling for $130 million in government loan guarantees to help producers deal with what it calls the worst crisis in the history of Canada's pork industry. Details here.
Brandon Sun MONTREAL - The federal government has tossed in the towel and will stop fighting international efforts to list asbestos as a dangerous substance, striking another blow to a once-mighty Canadian industry now on the verge of extinction. Full story here.
Cosmetic pesticides are those chemicals used merely to maintain an appearance of a lawn or garden. Their purpose is not to protect public health or prevent invasive species from spreading, which makes exposure to these chemicals an unnecessary risk. Sign here.
Maple Leaf and government policy
is to blame for the continued loss of hog producers and a risk to “thousands of
jobs” at the Brandon slaughter plant.
Manitoba Pork Council general
manager Andrew Dickson would have us believe that the province-wide hog
production ban and new manure treatment regulations are the culprits.
Does Dickson forget that the
loss of most independent hog farmers started when the Maple Leaf, Hy-Tek and
Puratone corporations set up their pyramid scheme-like operations and the
conservative Filmon government removed single-desk marketing protection in the
late 1990s? Well before a moratorium and phosphorus regulation was put in place. Further details here.
Droughts, heat waves, with the evidence mounting of major climate change, why aren’t parents taking action to protect their children from its dire effects? Mark Hertsgaard calls for parents to act just like they would if a train was heading toward their children. Full story here.
Damage from a wicked plow wind which struck a wide area of western Manitoba in July. PLT photos
The news has been flooded with all sorts of noise about the Stanford meta-analysis “Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?” Although both the researchers themselves and the media made it sound as if conventional came out on top, the numbers clearly made the case for organic. Here is what we saw when we read the report:
After a year of tough negotiations with companies and premiers that tested Ottawa’s resolve to fight climate change, Environment Minister Peter Kent is finally ready to present the final version of regulations to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from the coal-fired electricity sector. Full story here.
continues to embrace the widespread use of Roundup on Canadian farms by letting
corporate seduction trump scientific evidence.
A crop-duster sprays a GMO crop in
western MB. Larry Powell PinP photo.
In its quest to dominate the planet's agricultural biotechnology sector, Monsanto's business model has produced significant collateral damage.
farming families in South America, India and other robustly developing regions
have been devastated by the US-based multinational’s product line, namely its
flagship herbicide Roundup and the patented seeds that go with it. In the
1970s, the company began genetically modifying canola, and they’ve since created
their own patented versions of soybeans, corn, cotton and a range of other
crops. The havoc wreaked by Monsanto’s remarkable growth in the interim
includes widespread claims of pollution, illegal activity and damage to health
and livelihoods, as well as a systematic effort to crush detractors and
monopolize new markets with its financial heft.
Step Forward Paper is made with 80 per cent straw Manitoba farmers could see a lucrative new market for straw emerge, as the province moves closer to becoming the site of North America's first pulp and paper mill using straw. Full story here.
This podcast has been airing on the CBC Radio program, "The
Current." It suggests human activity has now placed us in an entirely
new geologic epoc. And not a good one!Listen here.
(PLT video & photo)
I shot this video of my home (above) just after these winds toppled two mature spruce trees, narrowly missing our house as we slept. The still photo (r.) shows the gap left in the shelterbelt which protects us from the elements. To me, climate change is now personal! Larry Powell.