Write your MP to express your concern over omnibus Bill C-18, which would further erode farmers’ rights to save, reuse, select, exchange, and sell seeds.
The United Church is concerned that the omnibus Bill C-18 (Agricultural Growth Act) will continue the trend of concentrating power over food, in particular seeds, in ever fewer hands while increasing farmers’ costs, reducing farmers’ autonomy, and threatening Canada’s food and seed sovereignty.
- Write, call, e-mail and/or meet with your Member of Parliament to express your concern over Bill C-18. Tell them it will further concentrate the control of seeds in fewer and fewer hands, and turn seeds into mere commodities to be bought and sold for profit rather than something understood fundamentally as part of the global commons and a life-sustaining gift from the Creator. The House of Commons website has a complete list of MPs’ e-mail addresses, parliamentary and constituency addresses, and fax and phone numbers.
- To help in the drafting of your letter, see the United Church’s statement on Bill C-18 [PDF: 3 pp/125 KB] or see this sample letter to MPs [RTF: 1 p/67 KB].
Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act, is currently before Parliament. This omnibus bill proposes amendments to several federal agricultural laws including the Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) Act, the Health of Animals Act, the Feeds Act, and the Seeds Act. Bill C-18 is, we and other organizations believe, legislation designed to enable large agribusinesses to secure greater control over new plant varieties and seeds, and generate greater profits at the expense of Canada’s farmers. It would give multinational seed companies greater control over Canada’s food system. Canadians deserve a strong, healthy, and democratically controlled food system—one that allows farmers to retain customary use of seeds and to be fairly remunerated for their efforts.As an alternative, some Canadian organizations, including the National Farmers Union (NFU), are calling for the creation of a new Seed Act for Farmers. It would:
- re-establish and increase funding for public institutions and public plant breeders/researchers and resume public plant breeding to the variety level
- recognize that seeds are a part of the global commons and enshrine in legislation the inherent rights of farmers—derived from thousands of years of custom and tradition—to save, reuse, select, exchange, and sell seeds
- re-orient Canada’s agriculture laws toward the principles of food sovereignty—healthy food, ecological biodiversity and sustainability, and democratic control
Please send copies of your letters or e-mails to:
Barbara Lloyd, Program Coordinator, Public Witness, General Council Office, United Church of Canada (The KUC webminister is currently trying to get an email address for Barbara to include here.)
Gary Kenny, Program Co-ordinator, Emergency Response and International Development
Tel. 416-231-7680 ext. 4051 Toll free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 4051