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Ecological Farmers of Ontario say no to CETA

The Ecological Farmers of Ontario has passed a resolution against CETA on the grounds the Canada-EU trade negotiations are too secret, and the agreement would curtail the rights of farmers to save seeds, hurt public services and local development in Canada, and potentially compromise the food inspection system. Formed in 1979, the EFO is a farmer run association focused on “helping each other make a better living growing real food while improving our soils, crops, livestock and the environment.”

Across Canada, farmers, municipalities and their provincial associations, school boards and union locals are passing resolutions challenging the CETA negotiations. For a draft resolution you can take to your local town council, school board or other organization, click here. Click “Read more…” to see the EFO resolution.

Ecological Farmers of Ontario
Trade and Economic Agreements: Interim Policy – February 2011

Preamble

The Ecological Farmers of Ontario supports Canada participating in trade and economic agreements that enhance the quality of life of the people of Canada, that are fair, and that are based on real respect for local communities and for the environment, including healthy and sustainable agricultural practices. In the January/February, 2011 issue of Ecological Farming in Ontario, Ann Slater, EFO Past President, wrote an article entitled “Canada-EU Trade Agreement – A Global Corporate Bill of Rights”. Slater highlighted the major negative aspects of the secretive draft of the Canada European Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The restrictions on all levels of government, including municipal governments, and on farmers under CETA are far more encompassing than under past free trade agreements. The Canadian Government has been attempting to include genetically engineered food and hormone fed beef in the CETA agreement; it appears, as a result of the EU’s opposition, these have been excluded from CETA discussions. Detailed information on the scope of CETA issues is available from the following websites: www.tradeustice.ca; www.nfu.ca; www.canadians.org.

Whereas the essential right of farmers to save, reuse, exchange and sell seed would be curtailed and, further, alleged infringement of intellectual property rights attached to seed varieties attached to plant varieties would result in the precautionary seizure of assets like land, equipment, and crops, probably resulting in the loss of the farm; and

Whereas the European Union and European corporations, motivated by profit and opportunities to privatize services, are insisting on full access to procurement by sub-national governments – including school boards, universities, hospitals and other provincial agencies – which could significantly reduce or eliminate the right to specify local priorities, such as “buy local food” and “support sustainable practices” and the preferred hiring of local people, businesses or services; and

Whereas the health of Canadians could be endangered due to the restriction on the right of Canadian authorities to inspect food or other products from the EU until after a problem has occurred; and

Whereas if one province or territory accepts a EU product, no province or territory can refuse the product, and

Whereas not only is CETA being negotiated in secret with no or little public discussion but also it appears that transnational corporations will be given the right to sue, without reference to the Canadian judicial system, governments over policies or decisions these corporations believe prevent them from making profits:

Therefore Be It Resolved That the Ecological Farmers of Ontario oppose the Canada -European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and any other agreement that includes any or all of the restrictions listed above and, further, that the governments of Canada and Ontario negotiate a clear, permanent exemption for local and provincial governments from CETA.

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