It is an honour to coincidentally feature two of Canada’s finest on this broadcast. Both are recipients of The Right Livelihood Award (the “Alternative Nobel”).
Water, The Blood of the Earth
Water has long been taken for granted throughout the Global North. We use it in seemingly ever-increasing ways without thinking much about where it comes from, where it goes, and how much water was used to produce the many products/services we use daily. The food system is just one of these significant users of water, and the current state of water around the world is of significant concern. The Council of Canadians’ National Chairperson, Maude Barlow, believes water is the greatest ecological and human rights crisis of our time. In March 2008, Deconstructing Dinner recorded her speak in Castlegar, British Columbia. This segment will mark the beginning of a more concentrated focus on water issues on shows to come.
Monsanto Pays Percy Schmeiser
Saskatchewan Farmer, Percy Schmeiser, spent between 1998 and 2004 standing up to one of the most influential agricultural companies in the world – Monsanto. While it was Monsanto that took Schmesier to court on that occasion, the roles were reversed on Wednesday March 19, 2008, when Monsanto found itself being taken to court by Schmeiser.
It was the first case between Monsanto and Schmeiser that led to the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada Decision that ruled in favour of Monsanto. While the decision assured that regardless of contamination, a farmer cannot grow patented seeds, Schmeiser recognized that if the company is indeed the owner of the plant, then they should be liable for the damages that their property causes others.
There is yet no legal precedent in Canada that has determined who maintains the liability for damages caused by patented plants. Monsanto does however accept moral responsiblity for what are known as “volunteers” (unwanted plants appearing on farmers fields). The company employs a program that offers to remove volunteer plants from farmers fields.
In October 2005, Schmeiser’s farm was visited yet again by Monsanto, and again, in the form of their RoundUp Ready Canola. Schmeiser took advantage of the company’s removal program, but discovered that they would only remove the plants if he signed a release form that contained a confidentiality clause, which he disapproved of. What followed led to an out of court settlement on March 19, 2008, and Monsanto paid Schmeiser the $660 it cost him to have the plants removed.
Tune in to this broadcast to hear an exclusive interview with Percy by CFCR’s Don Kossick (Making the Links Radio) – the only media standing outside the courthouse on that momentous day. Also learn of the interesting dialogue between Host Jon Steinman and Monsanto’s Public Affairs Director, Trish Jordan.
Percy Schmeiser, Farmer, www.percyschmeiser.com (Bruno, SK) Schmeiser is a 77-year old farmer who, along with his wife Louise, have received global recognition for their passion and devotion to standing up for the rights of farmers. In December 2007, the Schmeisers were awarded the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the “Alternative Nobel”). “I have always campaigned on the right of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed. This is what I have been doing for the last 50 years. I will continue to support any efforts to strengthen the rights of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed.”
Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of Canadians (Ottawa, ON) – The Council of Canadians is Canada’s largest public advocacy organization. Barlow is also the co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which is working internationally for the right to water. She serves on the boards of the International Forum on Globalization and Food and Water Watch, as well as being a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council. Maude is the recipient of six honorary doctorates, the 2005/2006 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, and the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”) for her global water justice work. She is also the best-selling author or co-author of sixteen books, including Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop Corporate Theft of the World’s Water and the recently released Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water.
Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclips: – Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)