Letter to the Editor

It was quite laughable to read Federal Minister Gerry Ritz stating, “I cannot stress enough that amendments to the plant breeder’s rights act allow for farmers to retain the right to save, clean, and store seed for their own operations.” This is misleading nonsense look at the Minister’s record.

This is the same Minister who promised farmers a vote to decide on the future of the CWB single desk! This is the same Minister who told a Commons committee meeting that he was never invited to a single desk CWB directors meeting and less than three minutes later into that meeting had to recant, and state that he had actually been invited to a CWB directors’ meeting but had refused to attend.

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The Minister also states, “the legislation has the support of all relevant farm organizations.” Ironic that APAS, KAP, and the Alberta Federation of Agriculture were not even mentioned. The “relevant’ farm groups Minister Ritz mentioned were his usual puppets, some of which receive funds from the federal government and others which have Industry representatives dominating their boards! Aside from Minister Ritz, does anyone else believe his paid cheerleaders are really farmer organizations?

The Minister fails to mention that farmer saved seed was enshrined in the previous act as a right, but now it will be dealt with, as a privilege in a not yet written regulation. This regulation can be changed by the Minister without a review of the Act. Do you think the seed companies’ lobby will be trying to accomplish this?

The Minister also conveniently forgets to mention the fact that end point royalties, which are the fees farmers may have to pay under this new legislation when they sell their seed to an elevator company, will raise farmers’ costs. Farmers can expect to lose control of their seed pool. How long will it be before farmers have no choice but buying packaged seed and inputs from their “new” seed suppliers?

The Minister has set the wheels in motion for the canola seed model to be forced on us for wheat, barley and other grains. How long will it be before we pay $600 a bag canola prices for wheat and barley seed? Can per-acre technology use agreement fees and company spies be far behind? I just hope farmers can remember who they can thank for this!

Kyle Korneychuk
Pelly, Sask.

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