It’s a Silent Spring

It's a Silent Spring

“Transgenic crops are the biggest uncontrolled experiment this world has ever done. We have no clue of the magnitude of the problem we’re creating.”
–Jeremy Rifkin

Trade rules the world. The World Intellectual Property Organization treaties are supported under public international law by trade agreements administered by the supreme authority of the World Trade Organization. Canada as a sovereign nation does not exist. People are protesting, but 30 years after the signing of the agreement, it’s mostly too little too late.

But maybe not. There’s still power in the unity of a people who’ve awakened after a long, drugged sleep!
Canada was signatory to The International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants under the leadership of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. The Conservative government pushed the treaty through legislation in compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) acting on behalf of the international pharmaceutical industry whose agricultural subsidiaries control agriculture. Our sovereignty as a nation was signed away, sealed and delivered by the very people we elected to defend our rights!

If Canadians have any doubts about the reality of a world government, these international agreements should enlighten them to the fact that the elected “leaders” in government are posturing puppets in the hands of international corporate interests!

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an international government organization. WIPO administers the world’s key treaties regarding “intellectual property,” with the exception of the agreement regarding Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

TRIPS is Big Business. So it’s controlled by the World Trade Organization (WTO). And the WTO administers the international treaties affecting “intellectual property,” including the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention) which was signed in 1971 and amended in 1991.

(It sounds like a new board game, but the rules are hidden, it’s hard to to figure out–and if you want to play fair, you’re out of the game!)

The Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants was established as a “union of contracting parties.” The participants agreed to confer “breeder’s rights” on each other provided that the plant variety is “new, distinct, uniform and stable!”

Read genetically engineered (GE)!

The present gene tinkered seeds, referred to as “modified,” do, indeed, adhere to the guidelines in two of the requirements: new and distinct. They are probably not uniform, however, and they are certainly not stable!

In a court of law, neither the government nor industry would be able to prove that the GE organisms released into an already-threatened global ecosystem adhere to the WTO treaty.

Picking up the Fight
According to a recent Angus Reid Poll, 78 per cent of Canadians are now aware of the gene-tinkered food issue. Seventy per cent of the polled group said they would be less likely to buy a food product if they knew it contained altered DNA. Only four per cent of the people said they would be somewhat more likely to buy if they found a product contain laboratory-altered genes. And one percent of the people actually said they would embrace a genetically altered food product!

Consumer wariness is a thorn in the side of industry. A Manitoba corn grower complains that our reluctance to eat gene-tinkered foods “creates confusion in the market, which is already a complicated jungle.” (Western Producer, Feb 3, 2000)

Consumer wariness resulted in failed WTO agreements in Seattle and the unresolved trade talks of January 29 when more than 130 countries met in Montreal to “regulate trade issues.” On the table were the environmental and health concerns of genetically engineered food as well as the strained international trade relations and national boycotts.

The United Nations-sponsored trade agreement was to establish a “framework for countries to use when making decisions about genetically modified crops.” The agreement requires labelling of commodity shipments that may contain GE foods, but there was no specific requirement for either farmers or industry to segregate conventional and gene-altered crops to the tune of billions of dollars!

At present the agreement must still be ratified by 50 countries.

The European Commission environmental minister said the failure of the trade talks was a “victory for consumers and [European] importers.” Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians said consumers have the upper hand and should press their advantage.

“We can bring genetic engineering down,” Barlow told a meeting of supporters in Montreal January 23. “I’m convinced we can win this. You ordinary people need to stand up and say [to industry], ‘You will not do this to our food. You cannot prove GE foods are safe!’”

Many of the GE organisms are designed to resist pesticides, encouraging more pesticide use. The problems created by indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides and herbicides are already enormous. Frogs have vanished. Bird song is absent. The swallows no longer return after their Capistrano winter. Snakes are history in most suburban and rural communities.
It’s a silent spring!

Demand your intellectual rights, along with your right to health, good food and a future for your family. Government must do the will of the people who elected it. International corporations must not control your life–and government officials need to hear that from you!

Write, phone and fax your member of Parliament, the prime minister, the mister of trade, the minister of agriculture, the minister of health. Postage is free to Ottawa MPs–send to your MP, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6.

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