Friday, March 31, 2006

Vidharbha, India


Vidharbha's agrarian crisis has worsened. The farm group Vidharbha Janadolan Samiti (VJS) says these farmers are the innocent victims of failed government policies. These policies include promoting B. t. cotton. Over 300 of the farmers who committed suicide in the cotton-growing heartland opted for B. t. cotton, which failed.

See chart showing farmer suicide locations since June 2005 at

Monday, March 27, 2006

From the paper

"... The march was supported by the Canada-Haiti Action Network and a group dedicated to stopping Operation Charging Bison, a military urban warfare training exercise scheduled for Winnipeg April 30 through May 6. Approximately 500 soldiers, from 38 Canadian Brigade Group, will participate in the seven-day exercise that will simulate modern urban battlefields in Afghanistan. Yesterday's protest was supposed to be a trial run for a larger demonstration against a three-day international gathering in Winnipeg of business leaders and politicians originally scheduled to begin May 31. But the $8-million tab for security has forced Manitoba to withdraw as host of the North American Summit Hemispheria. Mayor Sam Katz wasn't surprised at the provincial pullout. "That was a lot of money for security," Katz said yesterday from Tucson, where he's looking at how the Arizona city operates a combined fire-paramedic service. "The city will still be hosting the Big City Summit and the mayor of Kansas City will be in Winnipeg to discuss the trade corridor," said Katz. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani will be the keynote speaker at the two-day gathering beginning May 3..."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Copy, paste, edit, and send



Dear Premier Williams:

I am contacting you only to ask that you release the Natural Areas Plan for public review. The Protected Areas Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PAA) and Parks and Natural Areas Division compiled the Natural Regions Study in 1989. In 1992, the PAA submitted a plan framework to Parks and Natural Areas Division. In 1995, the Parks and Natural Areas Division formed the Natural Areas System Plan Committee, who identified a number of representative samples for area protection and a list of unique areas.

Although the committee recommended immediate release of the areas for public debate, ten years have passed and the plan has not been released.

Newfoundland and Labrador is the only Province in Canada that has not released its protected areas strategy. Many of the areas that were designed in 1995 to 1996 have been altered or even dropped from the plan within Government.

Please release the Natural Areas Plan for public review


[Insert your name here.]



Dear Stephen Harper,

Protecting public water is a goal shared by people all around the world. Everyone on the planet depends on water.

In Canada, the supply of water is limited. One-quarter of municipalities have faced shortages and one-third currently rely on groundwater for drinking. Unfortunately, natural resource profiteers have set their sights on water as a commodity. They are buying and controlling essential water services, and profiting from situations of scarcity.

Canada needs a national water policy. This policy must ban the export of water, create national standards for clean drinking water, and commit federal funds to help Aboriginal communities and municipalities upgrade their water infrastructure. A national policy must also include a comprehensive water conservation plan. It must ensure that water cannot be traded in existing and future trade agreements.

I worry that the privatization of water resources in Africa, Asia, and Latin America restricts people's access to safe, affordable water. At the international level, 1 in 6 people do not have equal access to clean drinking water. The government of Canada can ensure equitable access to water by supporting publicly or cooperatively-run water systems. We must oppose international financial agreements and policies that promote the privatization of water services and lead to the degradation of natural water sources.

I urge you to protect clean, affordable public water in Canada and around the world, forever. I look forward to your reply. (And for heaven's sakes, try to be a little less obedient.)


[Insert your name here, too.]


Peter Gordon MacKay
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency


Rona Ambrose
Minister of the Environment

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

from Queen Mab by Shelley

Nature rejects the monarch, not the man;
the subject, not the citizen; for kings
And subjects, mutual foes, forever play
A losing game into each other's hands,
Whose stakes are vice and misery. The man
Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys.
Power, like a desolating pestilience,
Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame
A mechanized automaton.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

With all due respect to Canadian Men & Women representing our Military on foreign soil, we join with those who want your safety and prompt return.

Group says "NO" to urban warfare training.
Opposes 'Operation Bison.'

Concerned citizens have formed a group, “Stop Charging Bison,” to oppose urban warfare training exercises scheduled to take place in Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada) April 30 to May 6 this year. “We are shocked that Mayor Katz has not consulted people about holding these exercises in Winnipeg,” said Kristen Andrews, a group spokesperson. “We are calling on City Council to revoke the invitation to use Winnipeg as a training area for urban warfare, and we are calling on the Minister of Defence personally to cancel the exercises.” “These exercises will train the Canadian military for places like Afghanistan, Haiti and Iraq”, said Steph Steele, another spokesperson. “We’re told that they’re in those places to bring peace and security; to help rebuild nations. Then why are we training our “peacekeepers” to use violence, to kill, to be part of an attack force? We’re opposing these war games because we don’t believe in what these soldiers are training for.” "These excercises are training for the suppression of people defending their own land in foreign and domestic territories. No one should be subjected to the occupation of their land by these powers", said Ari Aisensee, another spokesperson. “It is ironic that the name of the exercise is Charging Bison,” said Cheryl-Anne Carr, another spokesperson. “One of the first measures of the colonial occupiers of Manitoba was to kill nearly all the Bison, as a way of eliminating resistance by Aboriginal peoples. “Urban warfare training anywhere in Winnipeg is certain to cause trauma to children and refugees with bitter experiences of warfare in their home countries,” said Andrews. “We are a diverse, and growing group, we will support initiatives in the community to oppose the exercises,” said Carr. The group’s meetings are held every Monday evening at the University of Winnipeg, and everyone is welcome. For meeting details, contact the group at 786-6818

For Information or Interviews,
contact Kristen Andrews 942-7992
Cheryl-Anne Carr 233-7116
Ari Aisensee 786-6818
Steph Steele 772-5703

Monday, March 13, 2006



Dear Prime Minister Harper,

Terminator technology (Genetic Use Restriction Technology or GURTS) concerns me. I am emailing you with the hope that you will uphold the United Nations moratorium on Terminator technology. Please take a strong position against Terminator technology at the meeting of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, 8th Conference of the Parties in Curitiba Brazil March 20-31.

Terminator technology, i.e., genetically engineered seed sterilization technology, has been universally condemned because of its serious potential impacts for farmers, Indigenous peoples, food security and biodiversity. The technology offers no agronomic benefits. Instead, Terminator is designed to maximize industry profits by preventing farmers from saving and re-using harvested seed. The technology threatens the livelihoods of Canadian farmers and the (more than) 1.4 billion people who depend on farm-saved seeds as their primary seed source.

Seed and biotechnology corporations are promoting the false argument that Terminator could be used to stop unwanted genetic pollution from industry’s genetically modified crops. However, Terminator technology is too complex and unreliable to prevent the movement of genes. If commercialized under the guise of a “biosafety” tool to prevent gene flow, Terminator genes could actually introduce new biosafety hazards since they can spread to neighbouring crops and wild relatives via pollen in the first generation. The spreading of sterile genes could result in catastrophe for farmers and agricultural biodiversity. Farmers who save and re-plant seeds contaminated by Terminator genes may find that these seeds do not germinate, potentially translating into significant yield losses.

I am particularly concerned because past Canadian government delegations to UN meetings have tried to undermine the UN Decision V/5 that recommends governments not approve Terminator for field-testing and commercial use. Most recently, Canada supported the inclusion of language of “case-by-case risk assessment” which is a serious threat to the moratorium.

I urge the Conservative Government to respond to the concerns of Canadians and ensure the continued reaffirmation of Decision V/5 at the UN CBD.

I ask for your support to ensure that Canada will not approve the use of Terminator seeds. I urge you to work towards establishing a national ban on Terminator.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please take these steps to prohibit Terminator in order to protect farmer livelihoods, biodiversity and food security in our country and in countries across the world.


[Insert Your Name Here]


Minister of Agriculture
The Honourable Chuck Strahl

Minister of the Environment
The Honourable Rona Ambrose