Robbery of the soil

Here is a lecture Rabindranath Tagore delivered at the Calcutta university back in 1922, followed by another one by Leonard Elmhirst, who had joined Tagore for rural reconstruction efforts in Eastern India in the 1920s. Elmhirst, the agriculturist, concentrated on how the city takes all and returns little or nothing of real value to the soil’. Tagore, the humanist, talked about the importance of replenishing what you take from society as well as what you take from the soil.

He said : “We are as much the children of the soil as (product) of the human society. If we fail to make commensurate returns for what society contributes to nurture our mind and spirit, then we shall only exploit, and, in time, exhaust what society gives us”.

Today, life has come full circle, and what Tagore wrote back in 1922 seems all too relevant not just for India, but indeed for much of the world and even the entire planet. We are destroying our very living space through overconsumption and developmental greed, all in the false claim of growth.

I decided to post the full speech here. My goal is to also get it read out as an audio file so folks can listen to it instead of reading it. If any of you believe in what Tagore said below, and would like to lend your voice, please contact me by clicking here.

The standard of living in modern civilization has been raised far higher than the average level of our necessity. The strain which this entails serves at the outset to increase our physical and mental alertness. The claim upon our energy accelerates growth. This in its turn produces activist that expresses itself by raising life’s standard still higher.

When this standard attains a degree that is a great deal above the normal it encourages the passion of greed. The temptation of an inordinately high level of living, which was once confined only to a small section of the community, becomes widespread. The burden is sure to prove fatal to the civilization which puts no restraint upon the emulation of self-indulgence.

In the geography of our economic world the ups and downs produced by inequalities of fortune are healthy only within a moderate range. In a country divided by the constant interruption of steep mountains no great civilization is possible because in such places the natural flow of communication is always very difficult. Like mountains, large fortunes and the enjoyment of luxury are also high walls of segregation; they produce worse divisions in society than any physical barriers.

Where life’s simple wealth does not become too exclusive and owners of individual property find no great difficulty in acknowledging their communal responsibility.  In fact wealth can even become the best channel for social communication. In former days in India public opinion levied heavy taxes upon wealth and most of the public works of the country were voluntarily contributed by the rich. The water supply, medical help, education and amusement were naturally maintained by men of property through a spontaneous sense of mutual obligation. This was made possible because the limits set to individual right of self-indulgence were narrow and surplus wealth easily followed the channel of social responsibility. In such a society civilization was supported by strong pillars of property, and wealth gave opportunity to the fortunate for self-sacrifice.

But, with the rise of the standard of living, property changes its aspect. It shuts the gate of hospitality which is the best means of social communication. Its owners display their wealth in an extravagance which is self-centred. This creates envy and irreconcilable class division. In other words property becomes anti-social.

Because property itself, with what is called material progress, has become intensely individualistic, the method of gaining it has become a matter of science and not of social ethics. Property and its acquisition break social bonds and drain the life sap of the community. The unscrupulousness involved plays havoc the world over and generates a force that can coax or coerce peoples to deeds of injustice and wholesale horror.

The forest fire feeds upon the living world from which it springs till it exhausts itself completely along with its fuel. When a passion like greed breaks loose from the fence of social control it acts like that fire, feeding upon the life of society. The end is annihilation. It has ever been the object of the spiritual training of man to fight those passions that are anti-social and to keep them chained. But lately abnormal temptation has set them free and they are fiercely devouring all that is affording them fuel.

But today the blight that has fallen upon our social life and its resources is disastrous because it is not restricted within reasonable limits. This is an epidemic of voracity that has infected the total area of civilization. We all claim our right, and freedom, to be extravagant in our enjoyment if we can afford it. Not to be able to waste as much upon myself as my rich neighbour does merely proves a poverty in myself of which I am ashamed, and against which my women folk, and other dependents, naturally cherish their own grievance.

Ours is a society in which, through its tyrannical standard of respectability, all the members are goading each other to spoil themselves to the utmost limit of their capacity. There is a continual screwing up of the ideal level of convenience and comfort, the increase in which is proportionately less than the energy it consumes. The very shriek of advertisement itself, which  constantly accompanies the progress of unlimited production, involves the squandering of an immense quantity of material and of life force which merely helps to swell the sweepings of time.

Civilization today caters for a whole population of gluttons. An intemperance, which could safely have been tolerated in a few, has spread its contagion to the multitude. This universal greed, which now infects us all, is the cause of every kind of meanness, of cruelty and of lies in politics and commerce, and vitiates the whole human atmosphere. A civilization, which has attained such an unnatural appetite, must, for its continuing existence, depend upon numberless victims.

These are being sought in those parts of the world where human flesh is cheap. In Asia and Africa a bartering goes on through which the future hope and happiness of entire peoples is sold for the sake of providing some fastidious fashion with an endless supply of respectable rubbish.

The consequence of such a material and moral drain is made evident when one studies the condition manifested in the grossness of our cities and the physical and mental anaemia of the villages almost everywhere in the world. For cities inevitably have become important. The city represents energy and materials concentrated for the satisfaction of an exaggerated appetite, and this concentration is considered to be a symptom of civilization. The devouring process of such an abnormality cannot be carried on unless certain parts of the social body conspire and organize to feed upon the whole. This is suicidal; but, before a gradual degeneracy ends in death, the disproportionate enlargement of the particular portion looks formidably great. It conceals the starved pallor of the entire body. The illusion of wealth becomes evident because certain portions grow large on their robbery of the whole.

A living relationship, in a physical or in a solid body, depends upon sympathetic collaboration and helpfulness between the various individual organs or members. When a perfect balance of interchange begins to operate, a consciousness of unity develops that is no longer easy to obstruct. The resulting health or wealth are both secondary to this sense of unity which is the ultimate end and aim, and a creation in its own right. Whenever some sectarian ambition for power establishes a dominating position in life’s republic, the sense of unity, which can only be generated and maintained by a perfect rhythm of reciprocity between the parts is bound to be disturbed.

In a society where the greed of an individual or of a group is allowed to grow uncontrolled, and is encouraged or even applauded by the populace, democracy, as it is termed in the West, cannot be truly realized. In such an atmosphere a constant struggle goes on among individuals to capture public organizations for the satisfaction of their own persons ambition. Thus democracy becomes like an elephant whose one purpose in life is to give joy rides to the clever and to the rich. The organs of information and expression, through which opinions are manufactured, and the machinery of administration, are openly or secretly manipulated by the prosperous few, by those who have been compared to the camel which can never pass through the needles eye, that narrow gate that leads to the kingdom of ideals.

Such a society necessarily becomes inhospitable, suspicious, and callous towards those who preach their faith in ideals, in spiritual freedom. In such a society people become intoxicated by the constant stimulation of what they are told is progress, like the man for whom wine has a greater attraction than food.

Villages are like woman. In their keep is the cradle of the race. They are nearer to nature than the towns and are therefore in closer touch with the fountain of life. They have the atmosphere which possesses a natural power of healing. Like woman they provide people with their elemental needs, with food and joy, with the simple poetry of life and with those ceremonies of beauty which the village spontaneously produces and in which she finds delight. But when constant strain is put upon her through the extortionate claims of ambition, when her resources are exploited through the excessive stimulus of temptation, then she becomes poor in life. Her mind becomes dull and uncreative; and, from her time honoured position as the wedded partner of the city, she is degraded to that of maid servant. The city, in its intense egoism and pride, remains blissfully unconscious of the devastation it is continuously spreading within the village, the source and origin of its own life, health and joy.

True happiness is not at all expensive. It depends upon that natural spring of beauty and of life, harmony of relationship. Ambition pursues its own path of self-seeking by breaking this bond of harmony, digging gaps, creating dissension. Selfish ambition feels no hesitation in trampling under foot the whole harvest field, which is for all, in order to snatch away in haste that portion which it craves. Being wasteful it remans disruptive of social life and the greatest enemy of civilization.

In India we had a family system of our own, large and complex, each family a miniature society in itself. Ido not wish to discuss the question of its desirability, but its rapid decay in the present day clearly points out the nature and process of the principle of destruction which is at work in modern civilization. When life was simple, needs normal, when selfish passions were under control, such a domestic life was perfectly natural and truly productive of happiness. The family resources were sufficient for all. Claims from one or more individuals of that family were never excessive. But such a group can never survive if the personal ambition of a single member begins separately to clamour for a great deal more than is absolutely necessary for him. When the determination to augment private possession, and to enjoy exclusive advantage, runs ahead of the common good and of general happiness, the bond of harmony, which is the bond of creation, must give way and brothers must separate nay even become enemies.

This passion of greed that rages in the heart of our present civilization, like a volcanic flame of fire, is constancy smuggling to erupt in individual bloatedness. Such eruptions must disturb mans creative mind. The flow of production which gushes from the cracks rent in society gives the impression of a hugely indefinite gain. We forget that the spirit of creation can only evolve out of our own inner abundance and so add to our true wealth. A sudden increase in the flow of production of things tends to consume our resources and requires us to build new storehouses.  Our needs,  therefore, which stimulate this increasing flow, must begin to observe the limitation of normal demand. If we go on stoking our demands into bigger and bigger flames the conflagration that results will no doubt, dazzle our sight, but its splendour will leave on the debit side only a black heap of charred remains.

When our wants are moderate, the rations we each claim do not exhaust the common store of nature and the pace of their restoration does not fall hopelessly behind that of our consumption. This moderation leaves us leisure to cultivate happiness, that happiness which is the artist soul of the human world, and which can create beauty of form and rhythm of life. But man today forgets that the divinity within him is revealed by the halo of this happiness.

The Germany of the period of Goethe was considered to be poverty stricken by the Germany of the period of Bismarck. Possibly the standard of civilization, illuminated by the mind of Plato or by the life of the Emperor Asoka, is underrated by the proud children of modern times who compare former days with the present age of progress, an age dominated by millionaires, diplomats and war lords.

Many things that are of common use today were absolutely lacking in those days. But are the people that lived then to be pitied by the young of our day who enjoy so much more from the printing press but so much less from the mind?

I often imagine that the moon, being smaller in size than the earth, produced the condition for life to be born on her soil earlier than was possible on the soil other companion. Once she too perhaps had her constant festival, of colour,  of music  and of movement;  her  store-house was perpetually replenished with food for her children. Then in course of time some race was born to her that was gifted with a furious energy of intelligence, and that began greedily to devour its own surroundings. It produced beings who, because of the excess of their animal spirit, coupled with intellect and imagination, failed to realize that the mere process of addition did not create fulfilment; that mere size of acquisition did not produce happiness; that greater velocity of movement did not necessarily constitute progress and that change could only have meaning in relation ,to some clear ideal of completeness.

Through machinery of tremendous power this race made such an addition to their natural capacity for gathering and holding, that their career of plunder entirely outstripped natures power for recuperation. Their profit makers dug big holes in the stored capital of the planet. They created wants which were unnatural and provision for these wants was forcibly extracted from nature.

When they had reduced the limited store of material in their immediate surroundings they proceeded to wage furious wars among their different sections, each waning his own special allotment of the lions share. In their scramble for the right of self-indulgence they laughed at moral law and took it to be a sign of superiority to be ruthless in the satisfaction each of his own desire. They exhausted the water, cut down the trees, reduced the surface of the planet to a desert, riddled with enormous pits, and made its interior a roiled pocket, emptied of its valuables.

At last one day the moon, like a fruit whose pulp had been completely eaten by the insects which it had sheltered, became a hollow shell, a universal grave for the voracious creatures who insisted upon consuming the world into which they had been born. In other words, they behaved exactly in the way human beings of today are behaving upon this earth, fast exhausting their store of sustenance, not because they must live their normal life, but because they wish to live at a pitch of monstrous excess.

Mother Earth has enough for the healthy appetite other children and something extra for rare cases of abnormality. But she has not nearly sufficient for the sudden growth of a whole world of spoiled and pampered children.

Man has been digging holes into the very foundations not only of his livelihood but of his life. He is now feeding upon his own body. The reckless waste of humanity which ambition produces is best seen in the villages where the light of life is gradually being dimmed, the joy of existence dulled, and the natural bonds of social communion are being snapped every day. It should be our mission to restore the full circulation of life’s blood into these martyred limbs of society; to bring to the villagers health and knowledge; a wealth of space in which to live, a wealth of time in which to work, to rest and enjoy mutual respect which will give them dignity; sympathy which will make them realize their kinship with the world of men and not merely their position of subservience.

Streams, lakes and oceans are there on this earth. They exist not for the hoarding of water exclusively each within its own area. They send up the  vapour which forms into clouds and helps in aside distribution of water. Cities have a special function in maintaining wealth and knowledge in concentrated forms of opulence, but this should not be for their own exclusive sake; they should not magnify themselves, but should enrich the entire society. They should be like the lamp post, for the light it supports must transcend its own limits. Such a relationship of mutual benefit between the city and the village remains strong only so long as the spirit of co-operation and self-sacrifice is a living ideal in society as awhile. When some universal temptation overcomes this ideal when some selfish passion finds ascendancy then a gap is formed and widened between them. The mutual relationship between city and village becomes that of exploiter and victim. This is a form of perversity in which the body becomes its own enemy. The termination is death.

We have started in India, in connection with Visva-Bharati, a kind of village work the mission of which is to retard this process of race suicide. If l try to give you details of the work the effort will look small. But we are not afraid of this appearance of smallness, for we have confidence in life. We know that if, as a seed, smallness represents the truth that is in us, it will overcome opposition and conquer space and time. According to us the poverty problem is not so important. It is the problem of unhappiness that is the great problem.

The search for wealth which is the synonym for the production and collection of things can make use of men ruthlessly can crush life out of the earth and for a time can flourish. Happiness may not compete with wealth in its list of needed materials, but it is final, it is creative therefore it has its own source of riches within itself. Our object is to try to flood the choked bed of village life with streams of happiness. For this the scholars, the poem, the musicians, the artists as well as the scientists have to collaborate, have to offer their contribution.

Otherwise they live like parasites, sucking life from the country people, and giving nothing back to them. Such exploitation gradually exhausts the soil of life, the soil which needs constant replenishing by the return of life to it through the completion of the cycle of receiving and giving back.

The writer of the following paper (Elmhirst), who was in charge of the rural work in Visva-Bharati, forcibly drew our attention to this subject and made it clear to us that the civilization which allows its one part to exploit the rest without making any return is merely cheating itself into bankruptcy. It is like the foolish young man, who suddenly inheriting his fathers business, steals his own capital and spends it in a magnificent display of extravagance. He dazzles the imagination of the onlookers, he gains applause from his associates in his dissipation, he becomes the most envied man in his neighbourhood till the morning when he wakes up, in surprise, to a state of complete indigence.

Most of us who try to deal with the poverty problem think of nothing else but of a greater intensive  effort of production, forgetting that this only means a greater exhaustion of materials as well as of humanity, and this means giving a still better opportunity for profit to the few at the cost of the many.  But it is food which nourishes and not money. It is fullness of life which makes us happy and not fullness of purse. Multiplying materials intensifies the inequality between those who have and those who have not. This is the worst wound from which the social body can suffer. It is a wound through which the body is bled to death!


Bill C-51

How does bill C-51 stack up for a constitutional democracy?

Should we be concerned about possible loss of personal freedom in the name of protection from terrorism?

How important is protection from terrorism? Who is out to terrorize Canada? Are we doing something around the world that we should not be doing, and are we creating enemies that we should not be creating? Are we hurting or killing innocents in far off lands using Canadian tax payers money that the tax payers have no say in? What is going on?

Well, here are a few comments on Bill C-51 – Anti-terrorism Act of Canada.

Perhaps this blog and others, covering issues that should be important for Canadian voters, will help the reader in forming an educated opinion on where Canada is heading, and where you might consider casting your vote.

I would recommend voters to know individual candidates and not go blindly for a party. Thee are great politicians and rogue politicians all across the landscape. We need good ones that keeps the Canadian constitution, its land, water, air, nature and people in mind first, and money, corporations and shareholder interest, later.

Chris George is a politician and a contestant in the coming election from Okanagan-Shuswap riding in BC on behalf of the Green Party of Canada. Here is what he had to say.


Alex Atamanenko is a sitting MP, for the NDP, and here is a speech he made directly in the Parliament about this bill C-51, back in Feb 2015. I got a copy of it directly from Alex. Here is a transcript. Now that a fresh election is called, members of parliament are not allowed to make any recorded talks, and hence I could not get him to read this letter out.

Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior)
2015-02-23 13:01 [p.11510]
Mr. Speaker, let me start by saying how proud I am of our leader and our party for taking a principled stand against this flawed piece of legislation.

Alex Atamanenko – outgoing MP, NDP

As I move closer to retirement, I have been reflecting on my past nine years here in Ottawa. I often think about all those individuals, not only in my riding but right across this country, who are deeply committed to the cause of social justice. As a member of Parliament, it has been an honour for me to work with them in our common struggle for a better world. The issues have been many: world peace, food sovereignty, climate change, the environment, poverty, violence against women, and many others.
As a party, we have taken principled stands against the ideologically driven policies of the current Conservative government, such as its so-called tough-on-crime agenda, the abandonment of environmental protection, and anti-labour legislation. Today our position on Bill C-51 is consistent with this proud NDP tradition.
I should say that with all this anti-terrorism and anti-Muslim hype generated by the Conservatives, it would have been easy to come out in support of this draconian piece of legislation. After all, it appears, as the polls are saying, that Canadians are afraid, and they want tougher laws to protect them against terrorists. However, as the official opposition, that would not be in the best interests of Canadians.
I believe that my party has taken the responsible approach, and I am very proud of it. After carefully listening to experts and studying Bill C-51 in detail, we have determined that the bill would be a direct threat to the rights and freedoms we currently enjoy in this country. Here I would like to offer my sincere thanks to my colleagues from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca and Alfred-Pellan and the research team for their due diligence on Bill C-51.
The following points summarize our concerns.
This bill threatens our way of life by asking Canadians to choose between their security and their freedoms. The bill was not developed in consultation with the other parties, all of whom recognize the real threat of terrorism and support effective, concrete measures to keep Canadians safe.
What is more, the bill irresponsibly provides CSIS with a sweeping new mandate without equally increasing oversight. It contains definitions that are broad, vague and threaten to lump together legitimate dissent with terrorism. It does not include the type of concrete, effective measures that have been proven to work, such as working with communities on measures to counter radicalization of youth.
We agree that terrorism is a real threat and everyone agrees that public safety should be a top priority for any government, but Canadians should not have to choose between their security and their rights. The Prime Minister is offering them a false choice.
We need concrete measures that protect Canadians without eroding our freedoms and undermining our way of life. However, time and time again, the Prime Minister goes too far and puts politics before principles.
As I endeavoured to study this bill, I read through various articles that appeared in our mainstream media. A number of them, such as the National Post editorial of February 19, dealt with the efforts of university professors and national security specialists Craig Forcese and Kent Roach, who have produced three exhaustive analyses of Bill C-51. They are concerned about the new powers granted to CSIS to engage in disruptive activities.
We have also recently learned from an internal RCMP document that the environmental movement is already being targeted as a national security threat. According to the National Post, “that does not require a particularly paranoid mind to be interpreted as evidence that the environmental movement is already being targeted as a national security threat”.
Prior to CSIS being created in 1984, the RCMP had engaged in disruptive activities that were illegal. That is why the McDonald Commission was created and why CSIS was given a mandate to collect and analyze information and produce intelligence about potential national security threats to Canada. Now, under Bill C-51, they would be able to do legally what the RCMP was doing illegally in the 1960s and 1970s. This is a direct threat to the rights and freedoms we currently enjoy.
As our leader stated:
Bill C-51 would expand CSIS’s mandate to spying on ‘interference with infrastructure and interference with economic or financial stability.
The language is so broad that it would allow CSIS to investigate anyone who challenges the government’s social, economic or environmental policies. What is to stop this bill from being used to spy on the government’s political enemy?
We have also learned that former CSIS officer Francois Lavigne is alarmed by this bill. According to an article that appeared in The Windsor Star:
He believes the measures proposed in C-51 are unnecessary, a threat to the rights of Canadians and that the prime minister is using fascist techniques to push the bill.
Mr. Lavigne was part of the barn burning, off-the-leash Mounties group whose law-breaking ways led to the McDonald Commission and the eventual establishment of CSIS in 1984. He spent years tracking dangerous radicals without the powers the government wants to give CSIS. He said:
I find it a little convenient that in the past few years that these radicalized people are the biggest threat to ever hit us. There are more people dying because of drunk drivers or because of gang violence.
It would also appear that the Conservative government is using terror to deflect us from real problems facing Canadians, such as the loss of jobs, the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, and climate change, to name a few. History is full of examples of irresponsible leaders rallying their citizens by exaggerating threats to their security. As Mr. Lavigne goes on to say:
Some of these tactics are taken right out of the fascist playbook. Create an enemy that is hard to identify. Make it an enemy that is nebulous and seems to be able to do things that nobody else can. Don’t define the enemy. Just identify. Generate fear around that enemy. Then send out the message that the only people who can deal with this enemy are us.
This is totally irresponsible and, I would say, immoral on the part of the Conservative government.
As our leader said, the NDP believes that current laws, at this time, allow the police and intelligence officers to do a good job. Providing new legislative tools is not the only solution. We must first ensure that our officers have the financial resources they need to better enforce laws.
In the end, any legislative measure to fight security threats must satisfy the following principle: the legislative measure must protect both Canadians and their civil liberties. The protection of civil liberties and public safety are both fundamental Canadian values. What is needed is a more rigorous legislative approach to fight terrorism based on evidence and facts, an approach that provides for strict monitoring of security agencies.
There is a lot of concern that this bill has been rammed through with the typical time allocation, not giving enough time for experts and the public to consult with the government, as happened in 2001 after what happened in New York City, when it took time, and committee meetings and hearings were held. This is being rammed through under the guise of fear.
I would like to quote from a disturbing article I read this morning in The Globe and Mail by Campbell Clark, which said:
Two things are clear: First, the Conservatives think this bill will help them win an election, and second, they don’t want people to understand it. That’s a bad combination for a bill that will change things in secret, in ways we won’t know for years.

Wayne James on sustainability in farming and politics

Wayne James is an organic farmer, overseeing 150 acres of ancestral farmland, and lives near the town of Beausejour, Manitoba.

He is also a Green Party candidate from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, Manitoba.

The farm was organic in his grandfathers time. During his fathers time, it followed the Govt promoted trend and became chemical dependent, toxic and unsustainable for the land and the planet.

Wayne has reconverted it back to organic. He does not do it to make a huge profit, though it pays the bills. He did it to live in harmony and in partnership with the land and the living planet and hopes to leave the land and the environment as good for the future, as it was in the past when his ancestors first stepped on this land.

He does not promise miracles for the constituents of his rural riding, but invites them to join hands with him in a responsible, sustainable stewardship of their land and environment that is recklessly being destroyed in the phoney promise of growth, development and economy that is actually pushing degradation, poverty and decay on Canada.

Here is a 7 minute video where Wayne speaks with Tony Mitra, about his views on farming, economy and why he entered politics.

Rose Stevens volunteers to improve voter participation in their riding

Rose Stevens is a holistic practitioner, an organic farmer, a concerned citizen and a fire breathing anti-GMO/Glyphosate activist from Manitoba. She is knocking on doors and talking to people at the dentists, the grocer, the gas station and anywhere else she finds people in their rural spread out riding, convincing people to register and vote, and vote for Wayne James of the Green party - and support the platform of clean air, clean water, clean food and clean politics.

I spoke with her and below is the ten minute talk as a podcast which you can listen to, by clicking on the play button below.


Questions for Canadian election candidates

Canadians are facing an election. It is our duty, as citizens, to be responsible in voting.

I decided to ask the candidates my question, directly, to ascertain what each candidate feels about it. Here is a copy of it.

Letter sent to :
Conservatives : Kerry-Lynne Findlay
NDP – Jeremy Leveque
Liberal – Carla Qualtrough
Green – Anthony Devellano

Dear candidate (name) from Delta,

I am a voter and a concerned citizen. I believe it to be my duty to be engaged this election season as a concerned citizen. That is the reason behind this letter, trying to understand the individual candidates of my riding.

I am against voting along party lines.

I am an engineer and have worked in multiple continents with folks from all across the world. I have also studied the economic, social and political systems of the nations of this planet within my means, and looked at them through the lens of time. In short, I believe I am not completely stupid.

I have serious reservations on the general economic model that is often pushed by the Canadian Govt. under different leaders and different parties.

Carla Qualtrough, Liberal, Delta BC

I have decided not to vote for any logo or picture of party leaders and will vote for the person from my riding that seems to be most balanced and with good convictions that rhyme with my views. 

Jeremy Leveque, NDP, Delta BC

I am not interested in learning what a candidate can do for me. Instead, I am keen to learn what he or she will do for the long term health of Canada – its land, its air, its water and its people. Canada has been doing poorly those areas for a while now.

To that effect, I need to find answers to questions that are not being asked by the mainstream media, and what I have not heard a candidate address so far. Again, I am not so much interested in what their party leaders have to say. I am supposed to be voting for a person and not a lamp post that carries a party tag.

My questions are, briefly :

1) Canada has a huge landmass and huge reserve of resources and forestry and a small population to manage and distribute this wealth to. Yet, Canadian people are fast sliding to be at the bottom of the barrel in quality of life, public support systems towards healthcare, education, transportation, jobs, living wage, housing, poverty index, and toxicity in their environment. This is what I believe. Question – what do you believe ?

Anthony Devellano – Green Party, Delta BC

2) Canada is signing trade agreements that allows foreign corporations to trump Canadian citizen’s concerns. This destroyed our independence and democracy. Canada should not be for corporations to loot. This is what I believe. Question – what do you believe ?

3) Canadian food and agriculture is moving away from small farmers growing organic food, to mega farms producing potentially toxic food that is also patented by foreign corporations. The toxicity of these crops and pesticides have never been independently tested by Canadian institutions that are outside of influence by either the corporations or the Government. The patent rights intends to have all useful living organisms to belong to a few patent holding corporations instead of Gods own creation. Seeds will not longer belong to farmers. Trees will no longer belong to nature. This is what I believe. Question – what do you believe ?

Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Conservative, Delta BC

4) Canada has surpassed Brazil and every other country on earth in most rapid destruction of its forestry and depletion of its carbon reserve This is disastrous and shameful. We are cooking the planet and killing ourselves. This is what I believe. Question – what do you believe ?

5) Canada, while promoting industrial chemical agriculture, has been steadily depopulating the rural landscape, forcing folks to move to towns and be unemployed job seekers, instead of reversing the trend, reducing massive corporate controlled farms and solving its employment, urban sprawl and civic services problem by repopulating its agricultural landscape with thousands of farming families and assisting rather than hindering them. This is what I believe. Question – what do you believe ?

6) Canada appears to be excessively in control of big corporations. It allowed these corporations to pay minimal taxes for taking away natural resources from our land, which essentially amounts to robbing the land. We aught to greatly increase tax revenue from these corporations, impose controls on how they do their business with regard to environmental degradation, and increase public owned firms to be involved in resource management, and thus improving the wealth of the nation instead of fattening the pocket of a few individuals and corporations and their share holders. Example to follow – Norway. This is what I believe. Question – what do you believe ?

7) I believe bill C-51 was a blow to democracy and takes away citizen rights that should have been unalienable. I believe a Canadian is more likely to be killed by a moose than by a terrorist. I believe we would not be targets of terrorism at all if our Govt stopped warmongering and bombing innocent people in far off lands that have done nothing to harm Canada, and that the best way to protect Canadian citizens is to stop bombing others and to stop supporting a military industrial model. This is what I believe. Question – what do you believe ?

8) I believe the Canadian constitution, on which elected officials should be taking oath of service, obliges the elected persons to a) abide by the constitution and b) follow the wishes of the electorate of his riding and NOT c) the wishes of the party leader. This is what I believe. Question – what do you believe ?

I shall be very happy to read your response, or speak with you either face to face or over the phone. My telephone number if 604-649 7535.

Based on my finding, I may donate, or volunteer or promote a candidate or a number of Candidates, as part of my duty as a citizen and a voter.

Looking forward to your response

Tony Mitra, a voter
(address & contact)

Canadian democracy – hijacked?

Canada is facing a general election later this year. A lot of us mere mortals are alarmed at the direction Canada is headed.

There is a widespread feeling that Canada, a vast nation with so much good land, one of the biggest forest and water and resources, is heading in a dangerous direction of denigration of its living space, its environment and its socio-economic fabric, for the sake of disproportionate profit by a few.

In the middle of this crisis, our very democracy might be facing new challenges.

Canadians as it is have a poor record of voting.

Now new facts are emerging raises question on the very process employed within many political parties in selecting their candidate that could be unethical, and cloaked in secrecy.

This blog is an effort to start chronicling firsts hand information and observations on this, and same time ask ourselves, as citizens of a free democratic nation, what we the people might do, to clean up our politics, our elections, and our nation. We owe it to ourselves to do so.

Clean democracy does not fall from the sky like snowflakes. We have to work to keep it clean, else it will taken away from under our feet. How? Well, there may be reasons to suspect that :

  • a large number of people are of a sudden becoming party members in droves just in time to participate in candidate selection, probably for the sole reason of influencing the selection process but otherwise taking no part in volunteering or promoting either party doctrine or our democratic process in any other way.
  • a number of these “sudden members” may not even know that they were members of a specific party, or that they might have voted in some candidate. In other words, there is reason to suspect that their name and signature may have been unethically produced.
  • that some of these members may not actually be living within the riding, and the address written in their forms seem not to be the place where they actually live.
  • that some of these people, might have been members of more than one party at the same time and their names may have been used for more than one party candidate selection process.

Introducing Ms Wendy Bales, of Deroche, BC, a small businesswoman, an organic farmer, a sustainable agriculture campaigner, and a politician, on her observations on what she found going on, in her riding.

She found some evidence of questionable goings on while canvassing for herself as an NDP potential candidate in the last Provincial election, wanting to be the selected member of the party. She subsequently found it hard to investigate the matter further because of difficulty in accessing membership and voting record data. She eventually resigned from the party, removed her name from it, and is now contemplating running for office in the federal election on an independent ticket.

The party in the process lost a genuine and hard wording candidate with a lot of responsible social work behind her, and Canada lost an honest and deserving candidate.

This is not to say that the problem exists only in her riding or only in NDP. She is now worried that the issue may be beyond individual parties and widespread, and the system is being abused because there is this lack of transparency and because parties can and do high their internal workings away from public eye.

It may be time for the people of Canada to demand that each political party makes all its books available first of all to all of its members, and then to the wider population, if they wish to earn the trust of voters.

This is the first of more videos and information on the topic.

If you know of questionable goings on in your own area, or have something to contribute to this topic – send me a note.

Glyphosate poisoning test for Canadians

This is an announcement for all Canadians.

We have been trying for a long time to have a system by which Canadians can test themselves for glyphosate poisoning, and also test their food to learn where the poison is coming from.

Unfortunately, Canada did not have a single lab that would test body fluids or food for glyphosate content. However, things are changing. Public awareness on the dangers of Glyphosate is rising daily, along with an awareness that our Government does not test imported toxins for possibility of harm, but bases its decision on third party information, and is influenced by foreign corporate power more than a genuine concern for any long term safety of the people. Thankfully, there are still some institutions that are willing to rise up against this trend. World Health Organization is one. It recently classified glyphosate as a class 2A probable human carcinogen.

Meanwhile, US-EPA started mumbling about testing American food, for glyphosate content, a mumble that is likely to be echoed by the Canadian counterparts.

A lab or two in Canada are appearing ready to test vegetables and processed food for presence of Glyphosate.

A lab in the US is offering citizens test of urine, water and breast milk for glyphosate. These labs are using high end High Performance Liquid Chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MSMS) methods and are offering these tests at substantially lower rate than before.

And, our earlier problems of finding an easy way for Canadians to send body fluids across the border to labs in the US, has been solved, thanks to cooperation from Henry Rowlands of Feed The World Group. For logistical and technical reasons, testing of breast milk is not offered to Canada right now, but urine and water can be sent. I shall remind people here that in Canada it is possible now to test water as well as food for Glyphosate already, using both ELISA and HPLC-MSMS methods.

But for urine, which is so important for people to know if they have been poisoned or not, now Canadians can pay directly on line to the testing scheme, and then follow instructions specific to Canadians, as described in the attached video, regarding sending urine samples.

Please follow the instructions on the above you tube video, and the attached flyer below. Please do pass this information around to others that might be interested.

The idea of this test comes from realization that our Governments and Medical systems have been turning a deaf ear when it comes testing if the most used toxin in Canadian food system and agriculture has been poisoning our children, our elderly and ourselves.

This is the first prong of our citizens initiative to test ourselves bypassing our do-nothing Government. The second prong will be to test our own food by ourselves, possibly using one of our own Canadian labs. Details for that will be followed up by a separate blog and perhaps another “how to” video.

If you have any question, feel free to contact me.

Link to this blog has been sent to around 180 odd people across the world that I have had the pleasure of communicating with in regard to Glyphosate testing. Only one of the email did not go through. The failed emails are listed below:

1. Ms Sinvia Bishop – elected municipal councillor of my town, Delta, BC : The emails service returned a note that my email was rejected by her server.

The remarkable story of Richard Miller

Richard Miller was a healthy, barely thirty young man back in the 1990s, when he started getting sick with an incurable and permanently present migraine headache. The illness made him unfit to work every so often. Some days he would be unable to get off his bed, or keep his food down. He was visiting the Hospital sometimes 18 to 20 times a year. He lost his regular job. He spent countless thousands of dollars trying to cure himself, without success. He got progressively sicker, became obese, developed blood cholesterol and other problems, got into an indenting list of medicines he had to take. But nothing helped.

Then, in the fall of 2013, he saw Dr. Mercola on TV, in Hawaii. The doctor was taking in calls from the public. So Richard called him, and luckily got through. The doctor, after listening to his story, suggested that Richard tries to go 100% organic for a month, and see if that helps.

Richard did. On the tenth day, he woke us without a headache and feeling better than he had for the last 20 years. The experience changed him. Today he looks trim and healthy, years younger than his fifty plus years. And along with himself, he is changing his very neighbourhood in Chilliwack, BC, Canada.

Now, he is a messiah that is converting his neighbourhood, one house at a time, to get them to start growing their own organic food in their own front and/or backyard, and promoting chemical free food, including organic sprouts. In order to help convince his neighbours, Richard passes out free seeds, saplings, compost, and even his own about, to help a neighbour get started.

Watch the remarkable story of Richard Miller, in his own voice.

Anthony Samsel and Monsanto’s Secret on Glyphosate

Dr. Anthony Samsel got hold of the Trade Secret files on Glyphosate from EPA, that had been sealed and protected from public eye for 35 years. He had to sign a legal agreement not to copy or show those documents to anybody, although he is allowed to study the content and talk of his own opinion about them.

And express his opinion he did. IN an hour long telephone interview with me, he disclosed how Monsanto used unethical means and unrelated information from other tests, to find an excuse to ignore what their own tests glaringly showed – evidence of harm to the animals exposed to Glyphosate.

I broke the talks into two parts, part 1 of 19 minutes and part 2 of 12 minutes. The rest of the conversation was more from me and less from Dr. Samsel and covered issues within Canada, and how Glyphosate might have been approved by the Canadian Govt. Those issues I feel are outside of the main scope of this blog and this topic – which is – Glyphosate is unsafe to be in our food or environment. All herbicides are unsafe to be in our food or in cattle feed or in nature. These chemicals should be banned. Also, the practice of using unrelated, contaminated, historical controls to explain away glaring evidence of harm in lab tests is a practice that should be banned in science.

In my view – what Monsanto did was not science. It was voodoo.

Nationwide Glyphosate Testing comes to Canada

Feed The Word is offering the first validated public testing for glyphosate in the World for urine and water. The lab that created the testing is based in the U.S. and therefore there are difficulties for Canadian citizens to get involved in the testing project. However, we believe we have now solved these difficulties and we would like to involve Canadian citizens in this vital public testing.

Feed The Word is offering the first validated public testing for glyphosate in the World for urine and water. The lab that created the testing is based in the U.S. and therefore there are difficulties for Canadian citizens to get involved in the testing project. However, we believe we have now solved these difficulties and we would like to involve Canadian citizens in this vital public testing.

This testing will also provide the first validated peer-reviewed data for use in challenging Canadian regulators on the World’s most used herbicide – glyphosate.

NATIONWIDE GLYPHOSATE TESTING, a Canadian citizen action grassroots group, is  proud to join hands with Feed The World to bring a hassle free first step effort for Canadians to get their urine or water tested in a high quality per reviewed system for detecting Glyphosate, at a price which is a third of what a commercial lab in the US might charge. We are aware that Canada does not even offer a lab at the moment to the public for testing Glyphosate in people, food, animals or plants.

The future aim of Feed The World and Canadian Citizen group, with local NGOs is to push for a lab in Canada to either develop a method for testing or to license the U.S. method – however long it might take. Canada deserves a lab that tests for glyphosate in biological samples as a long-term solution.

PAYMENT : US$ 119 per sample.  To register and pay for the testing visit here: Results will be sent within 12 weeks of receipt of sample via e-mail.

Sample Collection in Canada : Feed The World, with the help of Tony Mitra, has set up a collection point in Canada for urine and water samples. The cost of the postage to the Canadian address needs to be covered by you. Please send Mr. Tony Mitra a message via e-mail on or before the day you send the package to his address: and For more information – watch this page time to time watch this page.

Send sample to: After registering and paying for the test, send sample, with registration details to : Tony Mitra, 10891 Cherry Lane, Delta, BC, V4E 3L7, Canada.

Please send Tony Mitra a prior message via e-mail: and For more information – check Your samples will then be sent to the lab in batches so effort will be made to time them so that early samples do not wait too long in Canada before shipment to the US.

NEWSFLASH : We are informed that two more countries – Switzerland and Australia, has decided to follow the Canadian example and join the global effort to get Glyphosate detected in people.


To download the above flyer, click on it . It will take you to another page with the pdf file displayed. Download it from the file menu. Link :

 Dr. Anthony Samsel on Glyphosate & Cancer

Kate Storey of the Green Party nails it on GMO and Glyphosate

Kate is an organic farmer based in Manitoba. She is also the Agriculture critic of the Green Party and an aspiring politician that is standing for the coming federal and provincial elections, hoping to be either an MP or an MLA.

For me this was a back to back interview with two candidates of the Green Party. They are on a fast growth track, far as I can see, but are starting from a near zero level. Their system and policies stand apart from any other conventional party.

Besides, being concerned about Canada’s food security and this chemical and biological attack we are subjected to through foreign biotech corporations efforts to own everything in Canada and our politicians penchant to sell Canada piece by piece to the lowest bidder is, at least to me, a national crisis whose root is in political corruption and can only be resolved politically, by electing good people into our parliament. Just like Politicians have a duty to protect the land and the people, a task in which they are failing, citizens have a duty, to ensure good people get elected, and to keep our politicians in check. A functioning democracy needs both elements – good politicians and involved citizens.

I wanted to ask her questions that relates to the particularly unenviable position that Canada is in, with regard to exposure to transgenic organisms and nasty biocides such as Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide and others being used on our food system, our prairies, forests, parks and everywhere else.

I wanted to ask her if the Green Party might bolster its policy on UN convention on biodiversity and the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety, by proposing to ratify the Cartagena Protocol and actually pass a law that will protect indigenous flora and fauna. She agreed this is a good idea and asked me to send her the details. Members of the party can propose amendment on their party policy and she was a member, so she would consider helping the party adopt it.

Then she spoke for around ten minutes straight, describing the Green Party agriculture policy, possibly reading it out, and covered a lot of ground so we did not have to ask each item one by one. I was concerned about the rural heartland being depopulated as small farmers were driven to extinction, and becoming unemployed job seekers while mega corporate farms replaced them and turned to extremely energy and input dependent toxic chemical dependent mono-culture regime that only bring illness to the people and lifelessness to the land while impoverishing the people. She did a good job explaining all of that in one shot.

Then we went to another difficult issue – political alliance in ridings where the left vote is split and the conservatives gain by stealing the seat there. I got a response from Tom Mulcair about his effort to form an alliance with the Liberals, but that the Liberals refused. He did not mention the Greens.

Kate spoke on record that the NDP had refused to form any alliance with the Greens. The Greens had tried very hard to form alliance with both Liberals and the NDP but apparently none of the larger parties were interested. This is a tragedy, in my mind, because ego of the parties get in the way and open the path for the Conservatives, who are ruining the country.

I should be asking Tom Mulcair again to clarify the issue of alliance with the Greens.

Kate opposes absentee owners of the farm land and supports agriculture cooperatives for helping small farmers and dependence in local food instead of our cauliflowers coming from California.

Pesticide use has increased instead of decreasing, with widespread adoption of GM crops. The party is aware of Glyphosate poisoning of people and proposes all children being tested for Glyphosate.

I did not interrupt her to state that Canada does not even have a lab that will test children or our food for Glyphosate content. Canadian labs at this moment only offer testing Glyphosate in water and soil. I am personally involved in trying to coax labs to offer this service on one side, and asking the people to demand this test, so as to create a “demand” for this service, so that labs take note and get on board.

I should be asking Kate to consider writing in a policy to help in this effort so Canada gets a few labs that will test Glyphosate in people and food.

I asked her about mandatory voting law. Its not mandatory in Canada, and Canadian voter participation is rather poor. She things this is a great idea, as is the issue of proportional representation. The problem is, I thought, that current senators may never vote these systems in, because they are the beneficiary of the absence of these laws.

However, these are necessary goals and can only happen with public pressure and public demand.

She said NDP is in power in Manitoba and that they have a policy to support proportional representation, and yet, they have not passed this law. So,  somebody needs to ask NDP Manitoba about it. Perhaps I shall ask them by email, and see what they say.

Kate predicts that the Greens will get somewhere between ten and twenty seats in the next federal election, with British Columbia leading the way and perhaps PEI following suit.

All in all, this is one politician and hopefully a future MP that I really enjoyed speaking with.

I do hope she wins, and gets to kick some butt in Ottawa.

The podcast is just over 31 minutes long. You can listen to it by clicking the play button at the bottom of this page.