Wednesday, 13 July 2011

CBAN Clarifies Canada's Position on GM Food Labelling.

On July 11th, PLT reported that regulators from more than 100 countries had agreed on guidance on the labelling of GM foods. Read: "Consumer Rights Victory as US Ends Opposition to GM Labelling Guidelines"

I then asked Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network to clarify what Canada's position is on this old and contentious issue. Here is her response.  (Emphasis mine.)

Dear Larry,

Thank you for your question.

Canada allowed the Codex agreement to be finalized, after trying to stop it and/or sabotage it in various ways over the years.

So, officially Canada has agreed to the Codex labelling guidance which, according to the Codex press office: "World food standard body, the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission has stated that governments are free to decide on whether and how to label foods derived from modern biotechnology, including foods containing genetically-modified organisms. The labelling should be done in conformity with the text approved by the Codex Commission, to avoid potential trade barrier. The decision, which will help inform consumers' choices regarding genetically-modified foodstuffs, was taken at the 34th Session of the Commission, held inGeneva from 4-9 July 2011.  More than 600 delegates from 145 of the 184 member countries, UN, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations attended."

As you know, however, the Canadian government does not support mandatory labelling in Canada.

The Codex guidance is not mandatory so no country is compelled to label.

Please let me know if you would like further information or clarity. Thanks, Best, Lucy

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Happy 100th Birthday Parks Canada!

Nature Canada - The Parks Canada Agency, the World's oldest parks service, is reaching an important milestone: 100 yrs. of overseeing one of the most extensive, best-managed & highly-respected parks systems in the world. Details here.
In or near Jasper National Park. 
All photos by PLT.

Canada Mimics US Republicans

Dear Editor,

Well, it didn't take long for the new Harper government to start showing its true colours. And, if you care about the rights of ordinary workers, it doesn't look good.

With the help of his new "Sarah Palin wanna-be" Labour Minister, Harper has, predictably, legislated an end to the postal lockout. In his infinite "wisdom and mercy," he has imposed a wage settlement on the workers which is even lower than Canada Post had been offering. Canada Post's decision to lock out its workers (if indeed that decision was its own) played conveniently into Harper's hands. It allowed him to impose back-to-work legislation, which fit right in, not only with his own mean-spirited, hidebound ideology, but that of Republicans and Tea-Partiers everywhere. Up until the lockout, at least the mail had been getting through.

Sadly, it now seems our descent into American-style austerity, which treats working people as the enemy and the rich as our saviours, has now begun. And who is the next target, do you suppose? The folks who teach our kids? Fix our roads? Treat our sick? Help the poor? You know the mantra. Our teachers, labourers, health care and social workers just cost too damn much. And after all, jobs in the public sector aren't real jobs anyway.

But if you are a corporation, with way more money than you can roll in, now you're talkin'! Tear up the environment, produce dirty oil and you'll register high on the radar of this government. You're in line, not only for continuing, generous subsidies from the public purse but tax breaks, too!

Brace yourselves, folks. I fear this is just the beginning of a long ordeal for ordinary workers in this country - one which will only end when Harper is gone.  

Larry Powell
Roblin, Manitoba

United Nations Predicts Earth's Population to Hit 7 Billion in Fall 2011 (CBC TV)

This old world of ours is becoming a very crowded place, very quickly. (Watch video here.)

Courtesy, NASA

Monday, 11 July 2011

Exxon Crude Oil Spills Into Yellowstone River as Obama Mulls New Pipeline From Canada to Texas

Democracy Now - Jul 7
Oil giant ExxonMobil faces mounting criticism of its clean-up efforts after one of its oil pipelines ruptured on Friday and leaked 42,000 gallons of crude oil into Montana’s Yellowstone River.

Exxon workers scan a section of the river. 
 Details here.
Please also read - Receding Yellowstone Waters Reveal Extent Of ExxonMobil Oil Spill

Consumer Rights Victory as US Ends Opposition to GM Labelling Guidelines

05/06/11 Consumers International  
Consumers International (CI) and its member organisations celebrated victory today as regulators from more than 100 countries agreed on long overdue guidance on the labelling of genetically modified (GM) food. Details here.

Agriculture replaces fossil fuels as largest human source of sulfur to the environment

PHYS ORG A PinP photo. Historically, coal-fired power plants were the largest source of reactive sulfur, a component of acid rain, ...