Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Two Letters


The Honourable Gary Doer
Premier of Manitoba
Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
450 Broadway
Winnipeg MB R3C 0V8

Dear Gary Doer,

My name is _. I am a _. I am writing to you today because industrial developments are advancing quickly into northern Manitoba, there is only a limited amount of time to safeguard the wilderness for future generations. Please do not waste any more time. On December 14th, 2006, six park reserves in Manitoba's spectacular north are expiring, leaving them vulnerable to intensive industrial activities such as clearcut logging and mining. Extending the park reserve designations for these areas now will allow time for the province to fulfill its obligation to work with local communities and the public toward permanent protection from ecologically harmful industrial developments.

Premier, please let me know if you will extend protection of Sturgeon Bay, Pemmican Island, Kinwow Bay, Goose Islands, Grand Island, and Pelican Islands park reserves until full and timely community and public consultations are complete. I would also like to know if you will grant the recent request from local First Nations for park reserve status for Cormorant Islands, a colonial bird nesting haven.



Rod Bruinooge
2855 Pembina Highway, Unit 27

Winnipeg MB R3T 2H5

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dear Rod Bruinooge,

My name is _. I am a _. I am writing to you today because it is my conviction that the Canadian Government needs to legislate a national ban on the so-called Terminator gene technology to assure the people of Canada, particularly farmers, that Terminator will never be field tested or commercialized. A national ban is the only way to stop corrupt companies like Monsanto and Syngenta from trying to commercialize Terminator seeds in Canada. Brazil and India have both banned Terminator to protect farmers.

Terminator is an immoral, anti-farmer technology. The only purpose of Terminator is to genetically engineer seeds to make them sterile so that farmers cannot save and replant them. Because the top 10 seed companies in the world own half of the global market, companies have an immense amount of control and could incorporate Terminator into all of their seeds. Genetic seed sterilization would secure a much stronger corporate monopoly for corporations than patents — instead of suing farmers for saving seed, companies would make it biologically impossible for farmers to re-use their harvested seed.

There will always be a risk of contamination with Terminator as the pollen from Terminator plants in the first generation can spread Terminator genes to other plants. Farmers might unknowingly save and reuse seeds that are contaminated with Terminator genes and will not germinate. This would result in unexpected yield loses and farmers could lose trust in their own seed stocks. This could also happen if imported grain contains Terminator genes.

If Canada approves Terminator, it will open the door globally to Terminator and put farmers in other countries at risk. In this respect, the Government of Canada may put the entire global food supply in jeopardy.

Because Terminator offers no benefits to farmers, companies are now trying to promote Terminator by arguing that the technology could be used to stop genetic contamination. Escaped genes from genetically engineered plants are causing contamination and pose threats to agricultural biodiversity and the livelihoods of farmers. For example, Saskatchewan organic canola farmers are suing Monsanto and Bayer for GE contamination (www.saskorganic.com/oapf). However, Terminator technology is a complex system involving multiple inserted genes that all work together in a sequence. Terminator would never work well enough to be used to stop contamination. The technology would need to be 100% effective in order to be used to stop genetic contamination – anything less would allow for dangerous contamination.

I need the government to legislate a ban, because powerful corporations will always try to introduce this technology since it would ensure their monopoly over the seed supply. A legislated national ban on Terminator is the only way to stop Monsanto, Syngenta and other corporations from eventually commercializing Terminator in Canada



is an extremely toxic herbicide, it poisons tens of thousands of people every year. It is manufactured by the world’s largest pesticide company, Swiss multinational Syngenta. There is no antidote for this dangerous pesticide, yet it is marketed in 100 countries and used in large quantities particularly by farmers in the Southern Hemisphere. Swiss NGO Berne Declaration is holding a virtual “People’s Vote” on Syngenta’s practices and asking for your participation. PAN groups and many others are collaborating in the broad public campaign to bring public attention to Syngenta’s inhuman business policies. Please join me in demanding that Syngenta take responsibility for the devastating health impacts of this highly hazardous pesticide and stop production now. Visit http://www.stop-paraquat.net to read the case against Syngenta and register your verdict of Guilty for Syngenta. Paraquat is one of the world's most controversial herbicides. Not approved for use in Switzerland since 1990 because of the risks associated with it, the poison is increasingly used in countries of in the Southern Hemisphere by plantation workers and small farmers to kill weeds. Thousands of people are poisoned every year because they lack protective equipment and clothing or have insufficient information about paraquat. Thousands die a painful accidental death or commit suicide using this pesticide. The campaign against Syngenta’s irresponsible production and marketing of paraquat needs the support of at least 50,000 people by the end of the year, in order to garner a groundswell that would equal a public referendum on this matter.The Berne Declaration is an independent Swiss non-profit group managing the public proceeding against Syngenta in conjunction with AN Asia Pacific, PAN UK and thirty-six other international environmental and human health organizations.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

My name is Timothy Schwinghamer. I am a graduate student at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. I am writing to you today because - from what I have seen - it seems like the Government of Canada intends to stand by and do nothing to address the global climatological crisis. Canada's disregard for the Kyoto Protocol concerns me deeply, as it will likely make life impossible for much of the world. The impact of your inaction will visit disaster largely upon ecosystems including the people and nations least responsible for climatic crisis.

Your government must put a climate change plan into action in Canada. Canada ought to uphold the Kyoto Protocol and show the rest of the world that we do not want to be a contributor to the global climatic crisis. The federal government needs to regulate a reduction of pollution from heavy industry because this accounts for half of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

If the government fears the economic repercussions of accepting Kyoto, then it must overlook (and not threaten with law or violence) such actions as the people in Canada must take to put an end to the industries that jeopardize their future, and the future of the biosphere.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hon. Monte Solberg
Minister of Citizenship & Immigration
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Solberg,

Re: Hassan Raza family

I am a graduate student at the University of Manitoba. I think it is necessary for Canada to show more compassion towards refugees and uprooted people. The Canadian government ought to act with some compassion toward the Raza family who are in sanctuary at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church in Winnipeg.

Please meet with the leadership of the United Church to find an appropriate and friendly resolution this situation. Deportation to Pakistan is not in the best interests of the six Raza children. Their parents want a safe environment for them. The children speak English and know of Canada as their home. They have already made a positive contribution to the community and want to continue to do so.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Judy Da Silva and Roberta Keesick,

Indigenous leaders of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, embarked on a week-long tour to share front-line stories from the Trans-Canada Highway blockade and the struggle to stop clear-cut logging on their traditional territory. Sponsored by RAN, the tour reached 450 people in six cities throughout Canada. Highlights included a keynote address by Judy Da Silva at a conference focused on collaborations between Indigenous groups and non-governmental organizations like RAN called "Re-envisioning Relationships," and the unfurling of a banner on the front steps of the Ontario legislature in Toronto.

View the pictures here: http://ga3.org/ct/Q1N23tK1uRhE/

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sign the petition

To welcome the few remaining Vietnamese boat people to Canada:



Belief in or advocacy of peaceful methods as feasible and desirable alternatives to war; (espousal or advocacy of) a group of doctrines which reject war and every form of violent action as a means of solving disputes, esp. in international affairs. Also: advocacy of a peaceful policy or rejection of war in a particular instance.

1902 Proc. 10th Universal Peace Congr. 74

“M. Emile Arnaud... Speaking at length, in French,..said:... The negative programme of Pacifism is anti-War-ism.

1915 National Rev. Mar. 54

"The greatest war in history is now being fought in the cause of Pacifism."

1919 George Bernard Shaw
Heartbreak House, Great Catherine, and Playlets of the War p. xviii

“There was only one virtue, pugnacity: only one vice, pacifism. That is an essential condition of war.

1935 Fellowship Mar. 3/1

“Pacifism does not renounce the struggle, but carries it on with the more effective weapons of non-violence.

1941 Aldous Leonard Huxley
Letters 17 Nov. (1969) 470

"In war time, it would seem, psychological conditions are such that the application of pacifism to politics is for all practical purposes impossible."

1957 Alan John Percivale Taylor
Trouble Makers ii. 51

“Even Bright, who was sometimes nearer to pacifism, did not plead ‘that this country should remain without adequate and scientific means of defence’.

1960 Otto Nathan and Heinz Norden
Einstein on Peace Introd. p. ix,

“He [sc. Einstein] himself once said that his pacifism was not derived from any intellectual theory but was based on his deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred.”

1999 Dayton (Ohio) Daily News (Nexis) 23 July,

“He has stood for a pacifism toward Milosevic that has long been discredited by the latter's brutality and refusal to yield to anything but force.”

Friday, November 10, 2006

White Poppies

Check out http://www.whitepoppy.org/

I learned about the White Poppy campaign a few years ago from a young woman at the Cape Breton University. She was tabling. She sold me a poppy to raise money for a women's centre. If anybody knows the website for the CBU women's center, please leave a comment below.

Here's what Wikipedia says about White Poppies:

The White Poppy is used as a symbol of peace, worn as an alternative to the red poppy for Remembrance Day. It is worn to remember all victims of war.

In 1926, a few years after the introduction of the red poppy in the UK, the idea of pacifists making their own poppies was put forward by a member of the No More War Movement (and that the black centre of the British Legion's red poppies should be imprinted with "No More War"). Nothing seems to have come of this, until in 1933 the Women's Co-operative Guild introduced the White Poppy; their intention was to remember the war dead (as with the red poppy), but with the added meaning of a hope for the end of all wars.

The White Poppy was at first produced by the Co-operative Wholesale Society, because the British Legion refused to be associated with its manufacture. In 1934 the recently-formed Peace Pledge Union joined the CWS in production of the poppies, and eventually took over production and distribution altogether. The annual White Poppy appeal is still run by the PPU.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Here's the Third World Farmer game link


Donald M. Raymond

Vice President - Public Market Investments
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
One Queen Street East
Suite 2700, P.O. Box 101
Toronto ON M5C 2W5

Dear Mr. Raymond,

First of all, I would like to congratulate the CPP Investment Board for adopting a new policy on responsible investing. I believe that socially responsible corporate behaviour can have a positive influence on a company’s long-term financial performance, and therefore I commend you for announcing that you are going to engage with companies to encourage improved environmental and social practices.

Secondly, I would like to draw your attention to six shareholder resolutions that address the human rights policies and practices of Canadian and American companies:
  • Alcan shareholders are calling on the company to sponsor an independent advisory committee to develop recommendations for improving community relations in Kashipur, India.
  • Chevron Corporation shareholders have submitted a resolution calling on the company to report the total costs relating to the health and environmental consequences of hydrocarbon exposures and Chevron’s remediation of Texaco drilling sites in Ecuador.
  • Dow Chemical shareholders are requesting that the company provide descriptions of any new initiatives instituted by management to address specific health, environmental and social concerns of the survivors of the Bhopal gas leak in India.
  • A Power Corporation shareholder requests the company to prepare a report describing its policies and management practices that promote and protect human rights in China and Tibet.
  • A Nortel shareholder has asked the company to cooperate with independent human rights assessments and prepare a report describing its policies and management practices that promote and protect human rights in China and Tibet.
  • A Bombardier shareholder has submitted a resolution calling on the company to develop and adopt a human rights policy.
I am concerned that the value of the Canada Pension Plan could be affected by human rights concerns associated with the companies it invests in. Lawsuits and other costs associated with these scandals could result in an increased financial burden or liability for these companies.

Furthermore, the negative publicity generated by such cases is damaging to the companies’ credibility as socially and environmentally responsible corporate citizens, and can jeopardize their ability to compete in the global marketplace. Therefore, I urge you to vote favourably for these shareholder resolutions.

Lastly, I am aware that an Ivanhoe Mines shareholder filed a resolution asking the company to describe its direct and indirect security arrangements with the Government and Military in Myanmar, and its policies and management practices that preclude it from benefiting from forced labour in Myanmar. The company has refused to circulate the resolution to its shareholders. I would appreciate it if you would engage with Ivanhoe Mines on this issue.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

To: jcappelletti@cppib.ca

Mr. Cappelletti,

I am opposed to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board's bid to purchase the for-profit British water company Anglian Water. While Ian Dale of the CPPIB told the Ottawa Citizen that Anglian Water has a "sound environmental track record," in truth it has been fined over half a million pounds during the last six years and it is the only company in the industry to see an increase in major pollution incidents since 2004. After Britain's water system was privatized, prices rose by over 50 per cent in the first four years, and the real value of the fees, salaries and bonuses paid to the director's increased between 50 per cent and 200 per cent in most water companies. The British newspaper The Daily Mail wrote that, "the water industry has become the biggest rip-off in Britain" and that it is "the greatest act of licensed robbery in our history." The CPPIB should also recognize that major studies have shown that responsible investing does not affect the performance of pension funds. I am deeply concerned by the CPP's investments in weapons-makers, cigarette producers, top air polluters and companies whose activities have been linked to allegations of human-rights abuses, as reported recently by the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. The CPPIB should not be investing in private water corporations that seek profit over the fundamental right to water. I call on the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to end its bid to invest in for-profit water.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

To: solbem@parl.gc.ca

Re: Raza Family
Client ID # 5138-0579

Dear Minister Solberg,

The Raza family has no place to call home. I ask you to intervene on compassionate grounds to let the Razas stay - for the sake of their six children. I believe in this family. We ought to welcome them to Canada. Please act now, for the sake of Rubab, Mohsin, Zain, Farva, Massim, and Sima.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

To: Government of Canada

Whereas: it is accepted scientific knowledge that bottom trawling can cause significant damage to sensitive deep sea ecosystems; the vast majority of international waters do not fall under any fisheries management regime, and many that do are not effectively managed for biodiversity conservation; and scientists are only beginning to discover the great wealth of species, habitats and ecosystems that exist in the deep sea and how to ensure their continued existence and health; we, the undersigned, hereby declare our support for a temporary moratorium on bottom trawling in international waters until such time as effective conservation and management measures to protect biodiversity and ensure the sustainability of fisheries in these waters can be developed, implemented and enforced by the global community.

To sign this petition, click here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

To: pm@pm.gc.ca

Cc: Ambror@parl.gc.ca

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

Please reinstate and expand the Energuide program. Every car in Canada ought to have a fuel consumption gauge.