A Seed Act for Farmers, Not Corporations – Protect the Right to Save Seed Petition

From: “cdsapi”
Date: January 26, 2014 1:23:42 AM PST (CA)
Subject: A Seed Act for Farmers, Not Corporations – Stop Bill C-18″     Protect the Right to Save Seed Petition
Cdsapi’s Added Comment:  Protecting OUR Food Supply from becoming the Proprietary Property of huge Multination Corporations is extremely important.
Protecting the independence of farmers that grow our food and stopping their legalistic enslavement to the economic exclusivity and dictates of a handful of Multinational Corporations is therefore absolutely essential.
With every Bill that the Harper Government passes, the undeniable, inalienable rights of Canadian citizens are being erased and given to multinational Corporations, resulting in the PRIVATIZATION of the Common Good – which becomes the Proprietary Property of Multinational Corporations for unrestricted exploitation.
With the extension of ever more international Trade Agreements, these Corporations usurp a protected judicial right “to operate above the internal laws of any nation”.  These Agreements erase national sovereignty – replacing it with “international Tribunal sovereignty” to protect these usurped “Corporate Rights”.
The Harper Agenda seems to be determined to hand Canada and Canadian Rights over to Multinational Corporations, passing illegitimate laws that legalizes this Corporate theft, leaving Canadian citizens as slaves to their dictates and ruthless exploitation.
Please download the petition.
Your participation in collecting signatures on this petition is essential.
It is YOUR FOOD that is on the line.
forwarded message:
Needs letters to party leaders!
From: Lucy Sharratt – CBAN Coordinator <[email protected]>
Date: January 24, 2014
To: [email protected]
Subject: [cban e-News] Protect the Right to Save Seed – Stop Bill C-18 – National Farmers Union launches new campaign
“A Seed Act for Farmers, Not Corporations – Stop Bill C-18”
The National Farmers Union Proposes New Vision for Canadian Seed Ownership
On December 9, 2013 Bill C-18, the “Agricultural Growth Act” was introduced in Parliament.
This agriculture omnibus bill amends several federal agricultural laws including
– the Plant Breeders’Rights Act,
– the Seeds Act,
– the Health of Animals Act,
– the Feeds Act and
– the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act.
Bill C-18 would give multinational companies greater power and control over Canada’s seed industry.
“Those who control seed control food, and as a sovereign nation we must ensure that control of seed and food is protected in the public interest”, said Terry Boehm, Chair of the NFU’s Seed and Trade Committee.
The National Farmers Union previously succeeded in stopping the introduction of the restrictive UPOV ’91 regime of plant breeders’ rights through their “Save Our Seeds” campaign.  The amendments to the Canada’s Plant Breeders Rights’ Act outlined in Bill C-18 will align Canada with UPOV ’91 requirements which will give plant breeders total control of the seed system by providing them with exclusive control over conditioning (cleaning, treating, etc.)  and stocking (storing, bagging, etc.).  UPOV ’91 extends plant breeders rights from 15 to at least 20 years, andallows companies to double up their protection through both PBRs and patents.
You can read an opinion piece about UPOV ’91 here http://www.nfu.ca/story/op-ed-say-no-upov-%E2%80%9991
The NFU has released “Fundamental Principles for a Farmers’ Seed Act” which recognizes the inherent rights of farmers to save, reuse, select, exchange and sell seeds: http://www.nfu.ca/story/fundamental-principles-farmers-seed-act
More information on Bill C-18: http://www.nfu.ca/issue/stop-bill-c-18
Right to Save Seed petition:   http://www.nfu.ca/issue/stop-bill-c-18.
More information is also posted below.
Fundamental Principles of a Farmers Seed Act
The National Farmers Union calls for a new Seed Act for Farmers in which Canada recognizes the inherent rights of farmers — derived from thousands of years of custom and tradition — to save, reuse, select, exchange, and sell seeds.  Current and proposed restrictions on farmers’ traditional practices, whether from commercial contracts, identity preservation (IP) systems, or legislation—criminalize these ancient practices and harm farmers, citizens, and society in general.
Canadians therefore call upon Parliament to refrain from making any changes to the Seeds Act or to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act that would further restrict farmers’ rights or add to farmers’ costs.
Further, we call upon Parliament to enshrine in legislation the inalienable rights of farmers and other Canadians to save, reuse, select, exchange, and sell seeds.
In 2002 Canada ratified the United Nations International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.  As a signatory to this treaty, Canada:
• recognizes the enormous contribution that the local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world, particularly those in the centres of origin and crop diversity, have made and will continue to make for the conservation and development of plant genetic resources which constitute the basis of food and agriculture production throughout the world.
• agrees not to limit any rights that farmers have to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed/propagating material, subject to national law and as appropriate.
In accordance with this Treaty, and in with the support of Canadians who desire a strong, healthy democratically controlled food system, we propose that Canada develop and implement a Seed Act for Farmers that would allow farmers to retain customary use of seed[1].
The fundamental principles of such a law include:
• The right of farmers to exchange and sell seed, including through farmer-owned organizations such as cooperatives, non-profit organizations and associations.
• The unrestricted right of farmers to grow, save and use seed for planting which cannot be negated by any contract. This right would be supported by:
• unrestricted right to clean seed
• unrestricted right to store seed
• unrestricted right to prepare seed for planting, including applying seed treatments
• unrestricted establishment of new seed cleaning plants
• unrestricted access to seed cleaning equipment and parts.
• Seed cleaning operations are an integral part of the seed system and thus shall not be prosecuted for the cleaning of protected varieties for a third party
• cannot be compelled to give out their client lists.
• Plant breeders rights legislation that would confer the right to claim royalties only at the time of seed sale. (i.e. no endpoint royalties or cascading rights)
• Following expiration of plant breeders rights varieties would be in the public domain allowing for unrestricted use and/or made available under a general public license[2].
• The opportunity for farmers and other non-accredited plant breeders to register new varieties.
• A variety registration system that would protect farmers and our food system by ensuring seed that meets farmers’ needs for quality, reliability and agronomic performance under local conditions across Canada is available.  This system would make distinctions in requirements for varieties to be used in conventional or organic production when necessary.
Such a system would:
• ensure that varieties remain in the public domain following the expiration of plant breeders’ rights;
• allow varieties to be registered under a general public license to ensure that such varieties remain freely available to farmers and public plant breeders;
• prohibit cancellation of varieties by the variety registrant;
• allow the cancelling of registration for varieties only if evidence, including input from Recommending Committees, supported the cancellation;
• have an accessible public appeal mechanism regarding registration and deregistration of varieties to support the public interest.  For example, to prevent the registration of unwanted genetically modified varieties; to maintain registration of older varieties;
• require robust, independent third-party merit testing for new varieties to ensure they are as good as or better than existing varieties, which takes into account market harm, ecological impacts, multiple farming systems, nutrition, disease resistance and other relevant factors;
• formally recognize the value of land races that are not intended to have uniformity and stability as defining characteristics, establishing mechanisms to allow  heritage plant varieties such as Red Fife Wheat to be utilized in appropriate rotations and markets
• A dispute settlement process that uses due process that would ensure:
• inspection and sampling would be done only with the farmer’s explicit permission and in the presence of, and verified by, a qualified neutral third party.
• binding arbitration carried out by a public commission would settle questions of infringement, etc. between farmers and companies. Such a commission would be modelled on the process used by the Canadian Grain Commission in settling grain grading disputes.
• No possibility that the production of seed could ever be considered counterfeiting or a violation of trademark.
• Prohibition of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs), sometimes referred to as Terminator Technology.
• No gene patents or other patent mechanisms on seed.
[1]“Seed” means seed and/or propagating material throughout this document.
[2]  A general public license is a binding legal agreement that makes germplasm available to plant breeders on the condition that it must likewise be made available to other breeders under a general public license, and without further restriction.
The petition is available at http://www.nfu.ca/issue/stop-bill-c-18
You can collect signatures and then personally submit them to your Member of Parliament (with at least 25 signatures) and ask him/her to present them in the House of Commons.
Please note: This petition is a hardcopy petition directed to the House of Commons.
Original signatures must be submitted for it to be used by your Member of Parliament
– online petition signatures cannot be used.
The petition says: “We, the undersigned citizens of Canada, recognize the inherent rights of farmers—derived from thousands of years of custom and tradition—to save, reuse, select, exchange, and sell seeds. Current and newly-proposed restrictions on farmers’ traditional practices—resulting from commercial contracts, identity preservation (IP) systems, and/or legislation—criminalize these ancient practices and harm farmers, citizens, and society in general. Therefore, your petitioners call upon Parliament to refrain from making any changes to the Seeds Act or to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act through Bill C-18, An Act to amend certain Acts relating to agriculture and agri-food, that would further restrict farmers’ rights or add to farmers’ costs. Further, we call upon Parliament to enshrine, in legislation, the inalienable rights of farmers and other Canadians to save, reuse, select, exchange, and sell seeds.”
Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
Suite 206, 180 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 1P5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506
[email protected]
[email protected]

By piotrbein