Ledikeni, Sepoy Mutiny, Nova Scotia, and Glyphosate

It all started with me looking afresh at the list of 21,000 folks that supported my petition for the Government of Canada, Ministry of Health, to disclose safety test data on the chemical Glyphosate, in herbicide RoundUp and VisionMax, by Monsanto. That lead me to a few places in Canada were apparently named after a Mr. Canning where the petition had a few supporters. I knew the name Canning, as the last name of a noted English high born family of the mid nineteenth century. I remembered a place in India bearing the same name. Further, the name reminded me of a number of mystical water colour paintings of India created more than 150 years ago, by a noble Englishwoman named Charlotte Canning, or Lady Canning, perhaps the most prolific of all major female painters from India till date. Finally, I remembered a local sweet of Bengal that was named after Lady Canning – “ledikeni”. And all of this, somehow, was vaguely related to my effort to raise awareness on the dangers of the synthetic molecule glyphosate.

Charlotte Canning

Lastly, I contemplated covering this tenuous link between seemingly unconnected far flung towns spanning opposite ends of the globe, as a chapter of my never ending book – from the unique perspective of an immigrant from eastern part of India, to settle in the western edge of Canada, who was also involved in finding ways to expose, raise awareness on, and help curb within my means a reckless use of the toxin glyphosate, which I believes to be at the root of not just a global health crisis, but also a symbol of a crisis of civilization where sovereignty of nations were being undermined by corporate power.

Ironically, the first global corporation that emerged, and had enough power to subjugate large nations and even entire continents – is the East India Company, whose seat of power within India was a mere hundred miles from my birth place.

Courtesy Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The petition allows me to download a list of supporters and their towns, but not their emails of contact details. I was looking at the data to see if I could figure out which provinces and towns had how many people that had reservation about Glyphosate being present in our food or environment, and thus ended up supporting my petition.

In the process I came across two locations in Canada that drew my attention.

I had three supporters from a village named Canning, in Nova Socitia, on the far eastern edge of Canada, and four more from the town of Cannington, Ontario, in the outskirts of Toronto.

Courtesy – Victoria & Albert Museum, London

For me, a visit to the village of Canning, Nova Scotia, if undertaken by road, would involve a 6,000 km drive that would likely take me nine days of driving six hours a day, conducted largely across the border through nine states in USA and then three provinces in Canada, literally a coast to coast journey, from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

Having been born in in Santiniketan, near Kolkata, India, I could not help but compare it to a hypothetical trip from that eastern town of india, right through the country, then crossing multiple international borders and driving through Pakistan, Iran, Isis controlled regions of Iraq and possibly Syria, then into Turkey and driving right across its length to the edge of Bosphorus straight, to the city of Istanbul.

But of course I was not planning to drive, either to Canning, Nova Scotia or to Istanbul, Turkey. I had already been to Nova Scotia, and might have driven right past Canning on my way to Halifax. And I had already been to Istanbul a long time ago, as a sailor whose ship docked there.

Courtesy – Victoria & Albert Museum, London

But the name of Canning and Cannington, struck a bell. Coming from West Bengal, India, I was aware of a coastal village called Canning, to the south of Kolkata, and a Bengali sweet called “ladikeni” which is derived from an English noble woman of the time, Lady Canning.

I wondered if these names, Canning and Cannington in Canada and Canning in India, halfway across the planet, had any link. And, as I soon found out, they did have a common link – a family name of the British aristocracy, of Earls, a title that, in absence of any living descendant, died out a generation after family was elevated to the rank of Earl.

The village of Canning, Nova Scotia, and the neighbourhood of Cannington, Ontario were named after the British Prime Minister George Canning. The coastal village in India was named after Lord Charles Canning, son of George, who was the Governor General of India during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, later promoted to Viceroy, and the family rank elevated to Earl. He was also the last Canning of his lineage, since he and his wife Charlotte did not leave any descendant, and therefore were the first and the last Canning with the title of an Earl.

Sepoy mutiny was the first and only major nationwide armed rebellion against British rule in India. It was participated mostly by the sepoy, or the Indian rank and file soldiers of the Royal British Army, in which the general population of India did not take part. After a brutal and bloody rebellion, the uprising was eventually subdued, having failed to dislodge the British from power. It did, however, usher in a lot of changes to the nature of the administrative system overseeing the British colony for the next ninety years, till India finally gained independence in 1947.

The mutiny was the first major rebellion in India against British rule, where Indian soldiers actually killed many of their white superior officers as well as European civilians. It was also occasion where Hindu and Muslim soldiers fought side by side against a perceived common enemy, the British. The next time this was to happen would be during the second world war, almost three generations later, when an Indian National Army under Subhash Bose would fight the British on Indian soil in Kohima during the later phase of the second world war.

Images of the Sepoy Mutiny, 1857

The mutiny also signalled the end of rule of a Corporation – British East India Company. From that point on, the British Government under Queen Victoria, took over the reigns of India. The country would thence be a British colony for the next ninety years, till Gandhi and a new generation of Indians took up the movement and spread it to the Indian masses on a platform of non-violence from the inside, and Subhash Bose declared war on Britain by the Indian national army from the outside, developments that eventually resulted in a split subcontinent gaining independence as two separate nations – India and Pakistan, in 1947. Pakistan was to bifurcate again with Bangladesh as an offshoot in 1971.

Images of the Sepoy Mutiny

Meanwhile, Governor General and later viceroy Charles Canning made some significant changes in the way of British policy towards ruling India in the aftermath of the mutiny and the brutal suppression and revenge killing that ensued. Two of the best known measures where conflicting and controversial, and one of them had a long standing historical relevance to this day.

The first was his observation that the success of the mutiny and its brutal effect in killing British and other white people was because the entire Indian solider class fought together without internal friction and hatred, in spite of the historical animosity between the Hindu and Muslim factions. Therefore, the British should adopt a policy of stoking this hatred and keeping the soldiers divided along religious lines, so the soldiers would no more be united, and each would prefer the British to maintain balance of force and each would assist the British in preventing any effort of the other to take over the reins of India. Thus, the Indian soldier should never again pose a unified threat to British Rule. That policy advice and doctrine became a sort of standard British policy all the way to India’s independence, and was critical in triggering the eventual “partition” of the nation along religious lines after a horrific sectarian violence and religious riots – ending up in creation of the nations of a Muslim majority Pakistan as a separate nation alongside a Hindu majority India.

Viscountess Charlotte Canning at right.

The second notable act of Lord Canning was his decision that the British should not indiscriminately punish every Indian soldier that did not fight on alongside the British during the mutiny, and instead, make a distinction between the actual rebels that took up arms against the British and those that abandoned the army in the wake of the turmoil and went back home, to sit out the mutiny. For this act of clemency, against deep rooted and loud protest from other British officials, he was also given the nick name – “Clemency Canning”. His post of Governor General was also elevated to Viceroy. He came to India after Marquess of Dalhousie and he was succeeded by Lord Elgin.

Today, a lot of places around the world has bears the name of Canning, mostly for the father but also the son. Surprisingly, the place “Canning, West Bengal, India” is not listed, or I could not find a reference to it in wikipedia and a few other resources, possibly because no volunteer offered to add that information.

George Canning, FRS, former British Prime Minister

Bengali people like sweets. And one of the enduring sweets is ledikeni – named after Lady Canning. That was Charlotte Canning, or Countess Canning, wife of Lord Charles Canning, Governor General and later Viceroy of India. She reportedly liked that sweet, or might have actually created it or popularized it.

Charlotte Canning was better known around the world as perhaps the best known woman artist of India of the time, and perhaps even till now. Some three hundred and fifty water colour paintings of her can be seen in Victoria and Albert Museum in London, most of them of scenes and people from India. Most of them are in ink, pencil, pastel or water colour wash. Most of them are also exquisite and carries a nostalgic sense of the times a century and half ago.

Earl Charles Canning, former Viceroy of India

Photography was just being invented and popularized around the time, and had arrived in India. So, Lord and Lady Canning also arranged to create and collect a vast number of photographs depicting various regions and people of India, which has left an enduring photographic record of the times.

She died in India a few years after the mutiny, in 1961, at the prime age of 44, from malaria. In that short span, and an even shorter combined tenure in India, she produced some 350 water colours representing the country, and thus left her legacy that has endured perhaps even more than her illustrious husband or father-in-law.

Lady Charlotte Canning

Fast forward to the present and I was looking at the names of three people from a single village of Canning, Nova Scotia, a thinly populated eastern province in Canada signing up on my petition on Glyphosate. This should not come as a surprise – Nova Scotia, along with Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, are often lumped together in calculations of pesticide use,  and has the highest per capita and per acre pesticide load in Canada. The region also enjoys the dubious unenviable record of being a sort of cancer capital for Canada. The region was also being used extensively for aerial spraying of Agent Orange on an experimental basis, before it was used in Vietnam, and for which deformed babies are still a fact of life there, and people in the eastern Canada are still fighting for the Government to accept that people were poisoned during that horrific test by American producers.

That leaves four more people from Cannington on the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario that also signed into the petition. I did speak in Toronto, Ontario, along with Dr. Thierry Vrain, about the dangers associated with allowing glyphosate in our environment. Perhaps some of the people signing up from there had heard me speaking.

Ledikeni

And that leaves the Bengali sweet “ledikeni”, which survives till this day in West Bengal, India. A cheese-based fried sweet, its distinctive features is its molten sugar syrup of lightly flavored cardamom powder. One of the main ingredient of any Indian sweet is of course – sugar. In India, it is made from Sugarcane.

These days, the sugarcane plants is being desiccated with RoundUp, with Glyphosate as a killer poison, in many parts of Bengal, I am told. So, it is more than possible, and very likely that the sweet ledikeni, prepared in Bengal today, contains glyphosate and will bring its share of ill-health to the people of Eastern India, much as any sweet in Canada or USA, coming for sugar beet, also laced with Glyphosate, is bringing ill-health in North America.

Click to go to the petition

And that brings me back to where I am, looking at the list of 21,000 people that supported my petitions, and trying trying to find new ways to resist the approval of this chemical for use in Canadian agriculture on one side, and trying to add a chapter for my book on the other.

And, I so like the paintings of Charlotte Canning.

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Paris Talks on Climate – a gathering of liars

I do not believe the Paris Climate talks will produce any result other than a lot of empty talk and photo shoot. Why do I feel that ? Because the world leaders appear to be allergic to calling a spade a spade, and spend their time on obfuscation that to me looks like deliberate attempt to hide the truth from the people who is responsible for the carbon, or total greenhouse gas emission. And the trick is – total emission by nations, and per capita emission by citizens of nations. If you cannot wrap your head around these two figures, you may fail to get to the bottom of this issue.

Here are a few graphs and sources of what I mean.

The above twin chart was made by me, taking CO2 emission figures from Wikipedia, World Bank, World Resources Institute and COTAP. The left half of the chart is what the major leaders would like to talk about – singling out China as the one polluting the planet. The same figures are also at the right half, but sorted according to per capita emission, or how much each person in these countries are emitting. And here you see a different pattern – the Anglo Saxon world is leading the attack on our environment, leading by far in carbon emission. Since these nations, and in particular USA, gives the impression of being among the best country in the world that others should imitate, they are setting the worst possible example for the rest of the planet. And this is something I would like to hear from Malcolm Turnbull, Barak Obama, or Justin Trudeau, And that is exactly what these leaders will not talk about, and will not accept.

Let us look at some more figures. This one is from Wikipedia

The list is sorted according to total emission of CO2 by nation. China is touted to look like the bad guy, having overtaken USA as the single largest CO2 emitting nation. But the bars at the right, give you the per capita figure. I added the red arrow to single out the greatest polluters on a per capita basis. Again, the Anglo saxons stand out as the worst environmental degraders, along with a few countries with easy access to fossil fuel such as Saudi Arabia, Kazakstan and UAE.

Now let us check a chart of total Green House Gas emission (Carbon Dioxide is not the only GHG) per capita, among the ten largest total emitting nations of the world, by World Resources Institute.

 I added the red and blue dotted horizontal line and the ellipses around USA and Canada. Notice that the world average emission is just over six (tons per person per year), along the dotted line. This means, if the playing field was made level right now, and the world decided not to increase carbon emission any further than what is today, every one will be allowed to emit only around 6 tons per year. Of course that is not what the world likes to aim at. They would like to limit total green house gas emission to what it was back in 1990. That total figure, of around 37 or so giga tons per year, when divided by the current population, of say 9 billion people, comes to, around 4 tons per person per year. That line was superimposed by the fat blue dotted line by me.

So now, let us see what this means. First, why do folks want to go back to the 1990 total, or reduce emission even less than the 1990 total? That is because folks have figured out that the cumulative effects of global warming and climate instability has a lag period in relation to the greenhouse gas emission. This means, even if every human dies today and stops producing any more CO2, the warming effect would continue for a while, before it begins to fall off. And we are not planning to all die off. Far from it. So, it was decided that going back to 1990 level would be a start. Even achieving that would ensure the world climate would change for the worse, up to a point, and then stay that way and not get any worse.

That was the basis for the 1990 emission level. So, now we understand the issue, and that the world average annual emission, based on 1990 total emission and current world population, should be around 4 tons.

This effectively means, if we really wish to make the playing field level, and that every human on earth is allowed have the same limit of GHG emission, then Canada, for example, will have to learn to do with a sixth of its current level of emission, or say 17% of its current level. And USA, the so called leader of the free world, will have to learn to live with a fifth of its current emission level. Can USA, or Canada, or Australia, manage to go back to energy consumption of a century ago? Can anybody imagine it? I do not see any of our leaders even talk about “per capita” emission, let alone setting any limit. And I know no poorer or developing country is going to accept any level that is lower pollution level than what the rich nations now enjoy. So, as long as the rich and the powerful are not willing to call a spade a spade, the rest of the world has every right to tell the leaders to go fly a kite, even if the outcome is environmental destruction that makes the earth’s surface less habitable by large air breathing vertebrate animals.

Meanwhile, how it is going to be for China, if the limit of 4 tons was to be implemented today ? Well, China will have to cut its own per capita emission to almost half. China is of course not at all ready to do that. In fact, China’s understandable argument or accusation has been that it is the west that caused the problem through four centuries of “development”, and damned if China is going to be penalized for that. China has every right, and will exert that right, to catch up with the west.

What does that mean, in terms of total emission ? If china is to catch up with the west, meaning primarily the anglo saxons (USA, Canada, Australia), it can easily double its per capita emission. That would add at least another 10 giga tons of carbon annually, and increase the global total by a fourth. In short, if the Anglo Saxons do not agree to decimate their emission level, China promises to increase global emission by 25%, from the current total level of around 40 to around 50 giga tons. What would that mean, in terms of average rise in temperature ? I do not know, and would appreciate anyone clarifying that.

Now, what about India? If we are to believe what some of the leaders are saying, it is USA, China, India, EU that are the power blocks. India is not high on total or per capita emission levels. But India is being taken seriously because it has the second highest population and is slated to overtake China as the most populous country soon. Not just that, but India is also an emerging nation, meaning it is recording a faster growth rate going over 7% annually, and its fuel consumption, deforestation, and contribution towards GHG emission is expected to climb exponentially for the coming decades.

Interestingly, among the top ten total emitters of today, in the chart above, only two nations, Mexico and India, have a per capita emission that is lower than the current average, while India is the only one that is below the average based on 1990 level too.

So, if India was to jump from its current low emission to the 1990 average level, there would not be a significant rise in global emission. But, if an agreement is not reached, and India too decides to go like China, and catch up with the Anglo Saxons, it can in essence increase its per capita emission ten fold, and national total by almost 20 giga tons, or 50% of the world total as of today. How much would that translate into a climate crisis ? How much would China+India catching up would cost the world in environmental greenhouse effect ?

Do we, as Canadians, have the right to demand that we continue to burn up 20 tons per man per year, and that China stays at 8 and India stays at 2? Will India or China agree to such a demand? Will USA agree to go back to the stone age with regard to fossil fuel consumption ?

Is anybody talking about these issues? I do not see truth coming from any of our leaders, not even second tier leaders. Not even small party leaders like Elizabeth May of the Green Party.

If we check the cumulative effect of CO2 emission since the dawn of the industrial age, from Dennis Silverman’s Southern California Energy blog, again USA stands out as a major villain, along with Germany, Russia, China. Eurasia, comprising of a rather vast region, and a slew of nations, still comes up with far less cumulative emission in the past two and a half century.

Greenhouse gases might be one out of more than one weapon of mass destruction we have unleashed on the planet – a chemical onslaught being at least one other. And since no leader is at all willing to call a spade a spade, I do not see how the higher planetary life can survive. Our leaders are calling a spade a Micky Mouse.

Whats the matter with the Anglo Saxons?

In general the more developed a nation is, more it has been polluting the environment with GHG. But out of them all, Australia, Canada and USA stand out as particular bad apples. Why? Is it something to do with their ethnicity, or culture, or work view or language, or geography? Well, Geography can be discounted since Australia, USA and Canada do not share identical climate geographic region. I shall let experts ponder this one out, but at first glance, the Anglo Saxons seem to be the least likely to provide a way out of this environmental dead end, because, as an ethnic group, it appears to be the most polluting in the entire planet. Unfortunately, the same anglo saxons also often assume they are in fact the leaders of the world, along with UK of course. Time for us to have a paradigm shift in our thinking, if we are going to solve this problem and get out alive as a civilization.

In general, the world is screwed, and human development and technology are, when you cut it to the bone, responsible for this crisis.

May be the solution would not come from humans at all, but from the micro organisms. I doubt man’s destructive “developmental” habits will be able to harm much of the micro-biota of the planet though. Those nitrogen fixing, oxygen breathing or exhaling, Methane eating, biochemically inventive micro-organisms might collectively produce a feedback loop, and begin to address the climate crisis, like in James Lovelock’s gaia hypothesis.

That, is a whole different story.

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Rosemary Mason sends a letter

Rosemary Samson is a British Scientist. I came to know more about her from her article in Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, this year, the heading of which is in the image below. Clicking on the image should take you to the article itself.

I knew we were in a phase on a major mass extinction. Still, it was both depressing and chilling, to face facts as Rosemary articulated. It forces us to look at the world afresh, and stop accepting business as usual model of existence for our human race. We were hurtling towards a cliff, and it is wholly man made, or more specifically, made by the GDP addicted technologically savvy corporate driven economic model of human development.

Subsequently, I got to speak with her, and even had her read out a section of Tagore’s “Robbery of the soil”, which, a century down the line, still appears so relevant on a global scale.

Anyhow, she did sign my petition, requesting the Canadian Government to disclose to the people what direct safety test data it has seen that indicates glyphosate (RoundUp herbicide) may be good for agriculture. You can find the petition by clicking on the image below.

And since she signed the petition, she started getting emails of my updates. Fast forward to an incidence where one of the persons that signed the petition had an uncomplimentary comment to make about qualifications of Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff and essentially question the wisdom behind the petition. This is a time proven tactic of the pro-Monsanto lobby shills, to divert from the topic at hand, and try to insult scientists or people  that are objecting to the chemical onslaught on Canada through large scale toxicity and endocrine disruption. And me being me, I made an update touching on the subject of Anthony Samsel speaking to me about the sealed Monsanto safety test documents on Glyphosate, first part of which can be seen here:

 

And that prompted a letter from Rosemary Mason. She said:

Dear Tony
Good that you have got Anthony Samsel on board!
You might be interested in this new document I have just sent to the medical worthies in the UK…who as you can see are promoting the corporations.
I am not sure that you are aware that EFSA has approved glyphosate…it claims it has no effects on human health or the environment. But in Chapter 3 on human health page 56, and Chapter 4 Loss of Biodiversity and chemicals in the environment page 72, I am disputing this.
 
We haven’t a hope of winning unless we get the press in the UK to publish, but it becomes increasingly unlikely.
This is my last document!
Warm regards for Christmas.
Rosemary

Her open letter to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of UK can be read by clicking on the image below:


And of course, Rosemary was referring to the last of the papers on Glyphosate so far published by Samsel/Seneff team : Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases IV: cancer and related pathologies, published in Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry 15 (2015) 121–159 Received 5 August 2015; accepted 24 August 2015

. That can be read in full by clicking the image below:

My thanks go to Rosemary Mason of UK. I also hope that the British, and indeed the Europeans, will show sanity and courage in the face of unprecedented pressure from US trade, industry and Government lobby, and will act to save their own land, eco-system and people first, and American commercial interest later.

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Canada should start for testing glyphosate

Time to ask our governments to start testing people and food for glyphosate

Things have changed in the past year. We have been badgering the previous (Harper’s) Government in Ottawa for two years to get labs set up in Canada where people could test their urine and food for glyphosate. Some of our letters to the minister has been hand carried by then MPs to the then Minister of Health to respond to.

Sample table of compiled results

Sample table of compiled results

The good news is – today an increasing number of Canadian labs are coming up to test food items for detection of glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in RoundUp herbicide.

Unfortunately, we still have not located a lab that will test glyphosate in human body fluids such as urine, blood or mothers breast milk. We hope that happens soon. But we have now found ways to send samples across the border to USA for testing, which was proving to be expensive and difficult due to US customs rules.

Meanwhile, from various communication we have had with the Canadian Government, including through the Access To Information Act, it appears increasingly unlikely that our Government has actually seen any result of safety test of glyphosate, and may have approved it based on maker’s own statement and third party opinions. We are trying to look through this cobweb by asking the Government to disclose and make public what safety test it saw while approving Glyphosate. The response has been unsatisfactory less than transparent, with a veil of secrecy wrapped around the issue.

So, a separate petition is promoted on line, for the new Minister of Health to disclose safety test data on Glyphosate for people to verify.

Meanwhile, it is perhaps now our duty as citizens concerned about public health and quality of food, to keep our provincial Governments informed of the fact that glyphosate may have been approved circumventing the law and without studying any safety test record. It should therefore be of interest to the local governments to start testing our food and our people, to see concentration of glyphosate, and to let the people know of these results. This testing is now possible and within reach of the Government, since tests only cost from CAD 100 to around 250.

Meanwhile, we the citizens can initiate limited testing ourselves within our means, and start putting the results up on line for people to see. A sample table is put up here.

Folks interested to write to their governments, federal, provincial and municipal, we encourage you to do so and invite you to join our collective effort.

This may not be easy for a single person, but together, we can force our Governments to show diligence in ensuring that safety information as well as contamination from toxins are measured and people are kept informed.

This is a blog that will likely evolve as the efforts coalesce. Watch this space and feel free to contact me.

Thanks

Tony Mitra


Meanwhile, here is a brief list of Glyphosate MRL from Health Canada on various food items

GLYPHOSATE MRL – by Health Canada

Database reveals questions, and offers hints

I started looking afresh at the Health Canada public website for details put up my PMRA on pesticides in food, and their maximum recommended Residue limit in various kinds of food.

First, the unit used for MRL (maximum residue limit) was not mentioned in the results of search. For example, if you search for safe maximum residue limit of glyphosate in wheat, it will produce result of 5, but will not say if it is 5 ppm, or 5 mg/Kg of the wheat, or 5 mg/Kg body weight for the consumer or 5 ppb or what. This absence of indication of unit is something I found puzzling and also unprofessional. I had to ask a lab test expert from New Brunswick, who told that form his quick look, the unit appears to be ppm. I presume it is ppm in the wheat itself, in other words 5 mg/Kg of wheat.

I intend to dig into this a bit more regarding PMRA’s limits, and what unit is used, and what exactly it means.


The other interesting things I noticed were, in general, as follow

1) Most all factory farmed animal products including meat and milk are declared to have some MRL value for glyphosate.

2) Most all vegetable products are not in the list, probably an indication that these are not expected to have any traceable glyphosate, hence no limit has been set.

Deduction to be made from the above two – if you are deadly serious about reducing glyphosate – you might consider becoming a vegan, or seriously cut down on animal products.

Among vegetables there are tantalizing exceptions.
Soybean and Corn being known as large RoundUp ready crops, and most north American sugar coming from sugar beet – these are expected to have glyphosate, hence they also have MRL levels declared. So, if you want to avoid glyphosate, stay away from them.

Garden grown beet apparently is OK, as well as most other vegetables and fruits.

But for Mustard – watch out.

This one family, strangely, has multiple varieties listed with wildly varying figures.

Some are not in the list, such as standard (non branded) mustard and seed, indicating these are unlikely to have glyphosate. But other kinds, condiment type, oil seed type, and Hare’s ear mustard, can have as high as 10 ppm glyphosate. I have no idea what these are, but am very aware that GM mustard is already being grown in some places, which must have some brand name. GM mustard is also being shoved down India’s throat, so they produce a heck of a lot of it for local consumption and perhaps also for export. I do not know their brand names or where they originate from. but this multiple variety of mustard oil convinces me to be very careful about it.

Sugarcane cane is not listed, even if some of it is grown in Asia with glyphosate desiccation. So sugarcane question remains confusion.

I do not know why refined beet sugar does not have an MRL but sugar beet has a high MRL. Is it because Health Canada accidentally missed it, or could the refining process somehow remove the glyphosate? Can someone answer these questions.

I have included my first jotting of these partial readings into my blog, where I wish Canada starts testing their food, to see where the glyphosate levels in food are at this moment.

I understand the Govt is right now testing a lot of food, and might re-adjust these MRL figures as new information comes to light.

I am jotting this down so that future adjustments might be noticed.

Its a lot of work and takes a lot of time. Anybody wants to pitch in and help, is most welcome.


Meanwhile, this response comes back from the Access To Information (ATI) and Privacy Act Division of Health Canada, about revealing the safety test documents relating to glyphosate that the Government is supposed to have studied before approving use of glyphosate in agriculture

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Bill C-51. What is a Canadian to do?

I am in search of an expert that is willing to speak with me on record about Bill C-51 and how it might affect free speech and rights of Canadian citizens, as well as why Canada should need such a law


Bill C-51, also known as Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, was proposed by Conservative MP Steven Blaney, was discussed in the parliament, voted on, got Royal assent and became law in the summer of 2015.
Part 1 of this bill is suspected to be an act legitimizing sharing of secret information about Canadians citizens by Canadian security agencies.
Part 2 is suspected to enact a Secure Air Travel Act that can restrict rights of air travel to suspect individuals.
Part 3 is suspected to amend the Criminal Code.

I use the word “suspect” because I do not consider myself an expert on the bill, and neither have I studied the bill personally. However, the implication of the bill concerns me as a citizen of Canada. I wish to learn more about it, and wish to spread awareness about it for Canadian citizens.I am aware that the bill, proposed by a conservative MP and supported by the Conservative party then in power, did not have the necessary votes to pass it, and that the Liberal party in opposition voted in support of the motion, thus providing it with the necessary number.
I have so far failed to get hold of a person that is able and willing to speak on record, preferably in short clips of no more than 5 or ten minutes, on what precisely the wordings of some sections of the bill is, and how this can affect citizens rights, either providing better security or taking away their rights to due process of justice.
There is a broader question as to why precisely does the Canadian Government need this anti-terrorism act, and if Canada is engaged internationally in actions that are expected to expose Canadian citizens back home to acts of retaliation or terror. The traditional image of Canada had been one that is a kind, peace brokering sympathetic nations that does not engage in foreign wars that are not our business. As a result, traditional Canada should not need to curtail its citizen’s freedom in order to stop terrorists around the world.So, what has changed ?Since I have been frustrated in my effort to find an expert that is willing to speak on record, and ask direct questions, I wrote this letter to the Canadian Bar Association, based on their online executive summary on the bill.


To the Canadian Bar Association
Hello,
I am a blogger (www.tonu.org), podcaster, amateur videographer (https://www.youtube.com/user/Tonymitra/videos), wild bird photographer (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonu/), aspiring writer, a food security activist, a backyard organic farmer, a retired marine engineer and a concerned citizen of Canada. My blog gets between a thousand and two thousand hits a day.
I have been concerned about bill C-51 and its implications. I have been on a search to find a suitable person that is able and willing to speak with me, preferably on record, in order to create an brief audio podcast or a video to accompany a blog for the people, to explain how rights and freedom of Canadian citizens might be compromised by the bill C-51 and its broader implications as to why this bill has been created and what a secretive Government could do with this bill, to the people of Canada and to people outside of Canada, and why it should be important for Canadians to act on it, either supporting it or resisting it.
I have found many people that do not like the bill. I too do not like it instinctively. But unfortunately I am yet to find anyone that is knowledgable, has read the bill thoroughly, has checked how it infringes against people’s freedom point by point, and is willing to educate us on it.
I write to you because I have read your Executive summary on C-51, the anti-terrorism act of 2015 (http://iclmg.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/03/15-15-eng-Executive-Summary.pdf).

From Canadian Bar Association summary

From Canadian Bar Association summary

Can you help connect me with a person that might be willing to speak with me on record of the specifics of this bill and how each of them impact our freedom?I live in Delta, BC, and am able to drive within the lower mainlands in BC, or connect over the phone or on skype.
Thanking you
Tony Mitra
(contacts)


A sort of petition to the Liberal Govt

Open Letter to MPs, to amend or kill C-51

The following is an open letter addressed to all members of Parliament and signed by more than 100 Canadian professors of law and related disciplines.

Dear Members of Parliament,

Please accept this collective open letter as an expression of the signatories’ deep concern that Bill C-51 (which the government is calling the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015) is a dangerous piece of legislation in terms of its potential impacts on the rule of law, on constitutionally and internationally protected rights, and on the health of Canada’s democracy.

Beyond that, we note with concern that knowledgeable analysts have made cogent arguments not only that Bill C-51 may turn out to be ineffective in countering terrorism by virtue of what is omitted from the bill, but also that Bill C-51 could actually be counter-productive in that it could easily get in the way of effective policing, intelligence-gathering and prosecutorial activity. In this respect, we wish it to be clear that we are neither “extremists” (as the Prime Minister has recently labelled the Official Opposition for its resistance to Bill C-51) nor dismissive of the real threats to Canadians’ security that government and Parliament have a duty to protect. Rather, we believe that terrorism must be countered in ways that are fully consistent with core values (that include liberty, non-discrimination, and the rule of law), that are evidence-based, and that are likely to be effective.

The scope and implications of Bill C-51 are so extensive that it cannot be, and is not, the purpose of this letter to itemize every problem with the bill. Rather, the discussion below is an effort to reflect a basic consensus over some (and only some) of the leading concerns, all the while noting that any given signatory’s degree of concern may vary item by item. Also, the absence of a given matter from this letter is not meant to suggest it is not also a concern.

We are grateful for the service to informed public debate and public education provided, since Bill C-51 was tabled, by two highly respected law professors — Craig Forcese of the University of Ottawa and Kent Roach of the University of Toronto — who, combined, have great expertise in national security law at the intersection of constitutional law, criminal law, international law and other sub-disciplines. What follows — and we limit ourselves to five points — owes much to the background papers they have penned, as well as to insights from editorials in the media and speeches in the House of Commons.

Accordingly, we urge all MPs to vote against Bill C-51 for the following reasons:

  1. Bill C-51 enacts a new security-intelligence information-sharing statute of vast scope with no enhanced protections for privacy and from abuse. The law defines “activities that undermine the security of Canada” in such an exceptionally broad way that “terrorism” is simply one example of nine examples, and only “lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression” is excluded. Apart from all the civil-disobedience activities and illegal protests or strikes that will be covered (e.g. in relation to “interference with critical infrastructure”), this deep and broad intrusion into privacy is made worse by the fact there are no corresponding oversight or review mechanisms adequate to this expansion of the state’s new levels of information awareness. Concerns have already been expressed by the Privacy Commissioner, an Officer of Parliament, who has insufficient powers and resources to even begin to oversee, let alone correct abuses within, this expanded information-sharing system. And there is virtually nothing in the bill that recognizes any lessons learned from what can happen when information-sharing ends up in the wrong hands, as when the RCMP supplied poor information to US authorities that in turn led to the rendition of Maher Arar to Syria and his subsequent torture based on that – and further – information coming from Canada.
  2. Bill C-51 enacts a new “terrorism” offence that makes it criminal to advocate or encourage “terrorism offences in general” where one does this being reckless as to whether the communication “may” contribute to someone else deciding to commit another terrorism offence. It is overbroad, unnecessary in view of current criminal law, and potentially counter-productive. Keep in mind how numerous and broad are the existing terrorism offences in the Criminal Code, some of which go beyond what the ordinary citizen imagines when they think of terrorism and all of which already include the general criminal-law prohibitions on counselling, aiding and abetting, conspiring, and so on: advocacy or encouragement of any of these “in general” could attract prosecution under the new C-51 offence. Note as well that gestures and physical symbols appear to be caught, and not just verbal or written exhortations. In media commentary and reports, there have been many examples of what could be caught, including in some contexts advocacy of armed revolution and rebellion in other countries (e.g. if C-51 had been the law when thousands of Canadians advocated support for Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress in its efforts to overthrow apartheid by force of arms, when that was still part of the ANC’s strategy). So, the chill for freedom of speech is real. In addition, in a context in which direct incitement to terrorist acts (versus of “terrorism offences in general”) is already a crime in Canada, this vague and sweeping extension of the criminal law seems unjustified in terms of necessity – and indeed, the Prime Minister during Question Period has been unable or unwilling to give examples of what conduct he would want to see criminalized now that is not already prohibited by the Criminal Code. But, perhaps most worrying is how counter-productive this new crime could be. De-radicalization outreach programs could be negatively affected. Much anti-radicalization work depends on frank engagement of authorities like the RCMP, alongside communities and parents, with youth who hold extreme views, including some views that, if expressed (including in private), would contravene this new prohibition. Such outreach may require “extreme dialogue” in order to work through the misconceptions, anger, hatred and other emotions that lead to radicalization. If C-51 is enacted, these efforts could find themselves stymied as local communities and parents receive advice that, if youth participating in these efforts say what they think, they could be charged with a crime. As a result, the RCMP may cease to be invited in at all, or, if they are, engagement will be fettered by restraint that defeats the underlying methods of the programme. And the counter-productive impact could go further. The Prime Minister himself confirmed he would want the new law used against young people sitting in front of computers in their family basements, youth who can express extreme views on social-media platforms. Why is criminalization counter-productive here? As a National Post editorial pointed out, the result of Bill C-51 could easily be that one of the best sources of intelligence for possible future threats — public social-media platforms — could dry up; that is, extreme views will go silent because of fears of being charged. This undercuts the usefulness of these platforms for monitoring and intelligence that lead to knowing not only who warrants further investigative attention but also whether early intervention in the form of de-radicalization outreach efforts are called for.
  3. Bill C-51 would allow CSIS to move from its central current function — information-gathering and associated surveillance with respect to a broad area of “national security” matters — to being a totally different kind of agency that now may actively intervene to disrupt activities by a potentially infinite range of unspecified measures, as long as a given measure falls shy of causing bodily harm, infringements on sexual integrity or obstructions of justice. CSIS agents can do this activity both inside and outside Canada, and they can call on any entity or person to assist them. There are a number of reasons to be apprehensive about this change of role. One only has to recall that the CSIS Act defines “threats to the security of Canada” so broadly that CSIS already considers various environmental and Aboriginal movements to be subject to their scrutiny; that is to say, this new disruption power goes well beyond anything that has any connection at all to “terrorism” precisely because CSIS’s mandate in the CSIS Act goes far beyond a concern only with terrorism. However, those general concerns expressed, we will now limit ourselves to the following serious problem: how Bill C-51 seems to display a complete misunderstanding of the role of judges in our legal system and constitutional order. Under C-51, judges may now be asked to give warrants to allow for disruption measures that contravene Canadian law or the Charter, a role that goes well beyond the current contexts in which judges now give warrants (e.g. surveillance warrants and search and seizure warrants) where a judge’s role is to ensure that these investigative measures are “reasonable” so as not to infringe section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights. What C-51 now does is turn judges into agents of the executive branch (here, CSIS) to pre-authorize violations of Canadian law and, even, to pre-authorize infringements of almost any Charter right as long as the limits in C-51 – bodily harm, sexual integrity and obstruction of justice – are respected. This completely subverts the normal role of judges, which is to assess whether measures prescribed by law or taken in accordance with discretion granted by statute infringed rights — and, if they did, whether the Charter has been violated because the infringement cannot be justified under the Charter’s section 1 limitation clause. Now, a judge can be asked (indeed, required) to say yes in advance to measures that could range from wiping a target’s computer clear of all information to fabricating materials (or playing agent-provocateur roles) that discredit a target in ways that cause others no longer to trust him, her or it: and these examples are possibly at the mild end of what CSIS may well judge as useful “disruption” measures to employ. It is also crucial to note that CSIS is authorized to engage in any measures it chooses if it concludes that the measure would not be “contrary” to any Canadian law or would not “contravene” the Charter. Thus, it is CSIS that decides whether to even go to a judge. There is reason to be worried about how unregulated (even by courts) this new CSIS disruption power would be, given the evidence that CSIS has in the past hidden information from its review body, SIRC, and given that a civil-servant whistleblower has revealed that, in a parallel context, Ministers of Justice in the Harper government have directed Department of Justice lawyers to conclude that the Minister can certify under the Department of Justice Act that a law is in compliance with the Charter if there is a mere 5% chance a court would uphold the law if it was challenged in court. Finally, it is crucial to add that these warrant proceedings will take place in secret, with only the government side represented, and no prospect of appeal. Warrants will not be disclosed to the target and, unlike police investigations, CSIS activities do not culminate in court proceedings where state conduct is then reviewed.
  4. We now draw attention to effectiveness by noting a key omission from C-51. As the Official Opposition noted in its “reasoned amendment” when it moved that C-51 not be given Second Reading, Bill C-51 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 – may even undermine outreach.” This speaks for itself, and we will not elaborate beyond saying that, within a common commitment to countering terrorism, effective measures of the sort referenced in the reasoned amendment not only are necessary but also must be vigorously pursued and well-funded. The government made no parallel announcements alongside Bill C-51 that would suggest that these sort of measures are anywhere near the priority they need to be.
  5. Finally, the defects noted in points 1, 2 and 3 (information-sharing, criminalizing expression, and disruption) are magnified by the overarching lack of anything approaching adequate oversight and review functions, at the same time as existing accountability mechanisms have been weakened and in some cases eliminated in recent years. Quite simply, Bill C-51 continues the government’s resolute refusal to respond to 10 years of calls for adequate and integrated review of intelligence and related security-state activities, which was first (and perhaps best) articulated by Justice O’Connor in a dedicated volume in his report on what had happened to Maher Arar. Only last week, former prime ministers and premiers wrote an open letter saying that a bill like C-51 cannot be enacted absent the kind of accountability processes and mechanisms that will catch and hopefully prevent abuses of the wide new powers CSIS and a large number of partner agencies will now have (note that CSIS can enlist other agencies and any person in its disruption activities and the information-sharing law concerns over a dozen other government agencies besides CSIS). Even if one judged all the new CSIS powers in C-51 to be justified, they must not be enacted without proper accountability. Here, we must note that the government’s record has gone in the opposite direction from enhanced accountability. Taking CSIS alone, the present government weakened CSIS’s accountability by getting rid of an oversight actor, the Inspector General, whose job was to keep the Minister of Public Security on top of CSIS activity in real time. It transferred this function to CSIS’s review body, the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), which does not have anything close to the personnel or resources to carry this function out – given it does not have sufficient staff and resources to carry out its existing mandate to ensure CSIS acts within the law. Beyond staff, we note that SIRC is a body that has for some time not been at a full complement of members, even as the government continues to make no apology for having once appointed as SIRC’s Chair someone with no qualifications (and it turns out, no character) to be on SIRC let alone to be its chair (Arthur Porter). And, as revealed in a recent CBC investigation, the government has simply not been straight with Canadians when it constantly says SIRC is a robust and well-resourced body: its budget is a mere $3 million, which has flat-lined since 2005 when the budget was $2.9 million, even as its staff has been cut from 20 in 2005 to 17 now. Without an integrated security-intelligence review mechanism, which should also include some form of Parliamentary oversight and/or review, and with especially SIRC (with jurisdiction only over CSIS) not a fully effective body, we are of the view that no MP should in good conscience be voting for Bill C-51.

Above, we have limited ourselves to five central concerns, but it is important to reiterate that some or all of the signatories have serious concerns about a good number of other aspects of C-51 – and/or about detailed aspects of some of the concerns that were generally expressed in the above five points. The following are some (but only some) of those concerns, in point form. They are included by way of saying that signatories believe these all need to be looked at closely and rigorously during House of Commons committee study of C-51, now that it has passed Second Reading:

  • C-51 radically lowers the threshold for preventive detention and imposition of recognizance with conditions on individuals. Only three years ago, Parliament enacted a law saying this detention/conditions regime can operate if there is a reasonable basis for believing a person “will” commit a terrorist offence. Now, that threshold has been lowered to “may.” There has been a failure of the government to explain why exactly the existing power has not been adequate. In light of the huge potential for abuse of such a low threshold, including through wide-scale use (recalling the mass arrests at the time of the War Measures Act in Quebec), Canadians and parliamentarians need to know why extraordinary new powers are needed, especially when the current ones were enacted in the context of ongoing threats by Al-Qaeda to carry out attacks in Canada that seem no less serious than the ones currently being threatened by entities like ISIS and Al-Shabab.
  • C-51 expands the no-fly list regime. It seems to have simply replicated the US no-fly list rules, the operation of which has been widely criticized in terms of its breadth and impacts on innocent people. Is this the right regime for Canada?
  • C-51’s new disruption warrants now allows CSIS to impinge on the RCMP’s law enforcement role, bringing back turf wars that were eliminated when intelligence and law enforcement were separated in the wake of the RCMP’s abusive disruption activities of the late 1960s and early 1970s. But, even more important than turf wars is the potential for CSIS behaviour in the form of disruptive measures to undermine both the investigation and the prosecution of criminal cases by interfering with evidentiary trail, contaminating evidence, and so on.
  • C-51, in tandem with C-44, permits CSIS to engage not just in surveillance and information-gathering abroad, but also in disruption. There are many questions about how this will work. The danger of lawlessness seems to be significantly greater for CSIS activities abroad, in that CSIS only needs to seek approval for disruption under C-51 where Canadian, not foreign, law could be breached or where the Charter could be contravened (with Canadian law on the application of the Charter outside Canada being quite unclear at the moment). And there is no duty for CSIS to coordinate with or seek approval from the Department of Foreign Affairs, such that the chances of interference with the conduct of Canada’s foreign affairs cannot be discounted. Nor can we ignore the likely tendency for disruption measures abroad to be more threatening to individuals’ rights than in Canada: for example, Parliament needs to know whether CSIS agents abroad can engage in detention and rendition to agencies of other countries under the new C-51 regime.

We end by observing that this letter is dated Feb. 23, 2015, which is also the day when the government has chosen to cut off Second Reading debate on Bill C-51 after having allocated a mere three days (in reality, only portions of each of those days) to debate. In light of the sweeping scope and great importance of this bill, we believe that circumventing the ability of MPs to dissect the bill, and their responsibility to convey their concerns to Canadians at large before a Second Reading vote, is a troubling undermining of our Parliamentary democracy’s capacity to hold majority governments accountable. It is sadly ironic that democratic debate is being curtailed on a bill that vastly expands the scope of covert state activity when that activity will be subject to poor or even non-existent democratic oversight or review.

In conclusion, we urge all Parliamentarians to ensure that C-51 not be enacted in anything resembling its present form.

Yours sincerely,

Jennie Abell, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Amir Attaran, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law , University of Ottawa
Natasha Bakht, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Clayton Bangsund, Assistant Professor, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
Margaret Beare, Professor of Law and Sociology, York University
Faisal Bhabha, Assistant Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Jennifer Bond, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Suzanne Bouclin, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law – Civil Law, University of Ottawa
Susan Boyd, Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
Sarah Buhler, Assistant Professor, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
Karen Busby, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba, and Director, Centre for Human Rights Research
Michael Byers, Professor and Canada Research Chair, Global Politics and International Law, University of British Columbia
Angela Cameron, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Pascale Chapdelaine, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
Larry Chartrand, Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Allison Christians, H. Heward Stikeman Chair in Tax Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University
Brenda Cossman, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Stephen Coughlan, Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
François Crépeau, Hans & Tamar Openheimer Professor in Public International Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University
Hugo Cyr, Professor of Law, University of Quebec in Montreal
Jennifer E. Dalton, Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, York University
Maneesha Deckha, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
Julie Desrosiers, Professor, Faculty of Law, University Laval
Peter Dietsch, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Montreal
Stacy Douglas, Assistant Professor, Department of Law & Legal Studies, Carleton University
Susan Drummond, Associate Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Isabelle Duplessis, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Montreal
Stuart Farson, Adjunct Professor, Political Science, Simon Fraser University
Gerry Ferguson, Distinguished Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
Leonard, Findlay, Professor, College of Arts and Science, University of Saskatchewan, and Director, Humanities Research Unit
Colleen Flood, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa; Research Chair in Health Law & Policy
Fabien Gélinas, Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University
Daphne Gilbert, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Jassmine Girgis, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary
Isabel Grant, Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
Marie Annik Grégoire, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Montreal
Sakej Henderson, Professor, University of Saskatchewan, Research Director, Native Law Centre of Canada
Gleider I. Hernández, Senior Lecturer in Public International Law, Durham Law School
Steve Hewitt, Senior Lecturer, Department of History, University of Birmingham
Louis-Philippe Hodgson, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, York University
Felix Hoehn, Assistant Professor, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
Jula Hughes, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick
Allan Hutchinson, Distinguished Research Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Shin Imai, Associate Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Martha Jackman, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Juliet Johnson, Associate Professor, Political Science, McGill University
Rebecca Johnson, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
Jasminka Kalajdzic, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
Charis Kamphuis, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University
John Keyes, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Muharem Kianieff, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
Jeff King, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Laws, University College London
Jennifer Koshan, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary
François J. Larocque, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Fannie Lafontaine, Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair on International Criminal Justice and Human Rights, University Laval
Louis-Philippe Lampron, Professor, Faculty of Law, Laval University
Nicole LaViolette, Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Jean Leclair, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Montreal
Ed Levy, Retired Professor of Philosophy, University of British Columbia
Brian Lewis, Professor of History, McGill University
Jamie Liew, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Catherine Lu, Associate Professor, Political Science, McGill University
Audrey Macklin, Professor of Law and Chair in Human Rights Law, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Alice MacLachlan, Associate Professor, Philosophy, York University
Warren Magnusson, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Victoria
Kathleen Mahoney, Professor of Law, University of Calgary; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
Marie Manikis, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University
John Manwaring, Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Michael Marin, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Graham Mayeda, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Sheila McIntyre, Professor Emerita, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Michael M’Gonigle, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
Cynthia Milton, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Montreal
Richard Moon, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
Mary Jane Mossman, Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Claire Mummé, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
Roxanne Mykitiuk, Associate Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Pierre Noreau, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Montreal
Darren O’Toole, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Charles-Maxime Panaccio, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Steven Penney, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta
Denise Reaume, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Philip Resnick, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, University of British Columbia
Darryl Robinson, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University
David Robitaille, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Ottawa and trustee at the Quebec Centre for Environmental Law
Sanda Rodgers, Professor Emerita, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Bruce Ryder, Associate Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, and Academic Director, Anti-Discrimination Intensive Program
Hengameh Saberi, Assistant Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Calvin Sandborn, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, Legal Director, UVic Environmental Law Centre
Steven Savit, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of British Columbia
Jennifer Schulz, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba
Dayna Scott. Associate Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, and Graduate Program Director
Noel Semple, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
Martha Shaffer, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Elizabeth Sheehy, Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
James Sheptycki, Professor of Criminology, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University
James Stewart, Assistant Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
Donald Stuart, Professor, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University
Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law – Civil Law, University of Ottawa, and Vice-Dean, Research and Communications
François Tanguay-Renaud, Associate Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, and Director, Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security
David Tanovich, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
Christine Tappolet, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Montreal
Saul Templeton, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary
Kimberley N. Trapp, Senior Lecturer in International Law, Faculty of Laws, University College London
Gus Van Harten, Associate Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Lucinda Vandervort, Professor, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
Wilfrid Waluchow, Professor, Senator William McMaster Chair in Constitutional Studies, Department of Philosophy, McMaster University
Christopher Waters, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
Wesley Pue, Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
Reg Whitaker, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, York University, and Adjunct Professor of Political Science, University of Victoria
David Wiseman, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law – Common Law, University of Ottawa
Stepan Wood, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Relevant Links :

Bill C-51 (Historical)
Openmedia Petition

Facebook Comments

Disappointing response from Provincial Governments on Glyphosate

I received an email, from the Ministry of Health, British Columbia, in response to my below letter. It is disappointing, and appears to shirk responsibility of health concerns relating to Glyphosate.

My letter to the ministry had , two basic items, a question and a suggestion.The question was if the BC Govt had conducted any test of food grown in BC for presence of Glyphosate, and if so, to make the results public.

  1. The question was if the BC Govt had conducted any test of food grown in BC for presence of Glyphosate, and if so, to make the results public.
  2. The suggestion was – if it had not tested any food, to put forward a scheme to start testing local grown food for presence of glyphosate, and again, to make that information available to the public.

I cannot copy paste the response here or anywhere, since it comes with a warning, that this email was intended for me only, and any distribution, copy or disclosure by any one else is prohibited.

However, I suppose I can still write my impression of what the letter says.

First, it avoids giving direct answers to either of the two points above. What is says in essence, are as follows:

  1. That the ministry is watching WHO announcement on carcinogenecity of glyphosate with great interest.
  2. Health Canada is responsible for food safety
  3. PMRA has published its re-evaluation of Glyphosate this year, and has considered glyphosate is unlikely to affect health if used according to label directions.
  4. The letter provides various links to Govt documents relating to i) glyphosate re-evaluation, ii) pesticide product evaluation database, iii) maximum residue limit for pesticides etc.
  5. The email ends with a suggestion that, although I am in contact with the federal Govt, I might consider contacting PMRA directly, and provides their email address.

It might have been more honest for BC Health Ministry to simply answer my question directly, such as:

A) No we have never tested food for glyphosate,
B) No we do not intend to test food for glyphosate even if labs are now available, since we believe this is Ottawa’s matter.

I decided to update the blog with this information, and then consider what next we might do.


Here are sample letters sent to two wings of the Government of British Columbia, Canada – the ministries of Health, and Agriculture, asking them to either disclose results of locally grown or sold food they have already tested for glyphosate, or, if they have not, to engage in a systematic effort to stat testing now, and to make the results available to the public

I am enclosing this sample letter so that people from other provinces and even states south of the border could consider writing to their respective local governments, and for people in our province of British Columbia could send the same or their own version of appeal to our Ministers, demanding that the government start testing our food, and to keep the people advised on results.


To: Minister Terry Lake,
Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Health
( Also, separately, to Minister Norm Letnick,
Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Agriculture
Minister Lake,
Subject: Testing of food for glyphosate contamination in BC 
I am a citizen and a resident of British Columbia.
I am concerned about possible links between glyphosate (in RoundUp and other brand herbicides) in our agriculture, and ill-health, as well as lack of information on which food contains how much of it. You are aware of a rising number of papers showing possible link between glyphosate and various illnesses, as well as World Health Organization reclassifying glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.My reason for writing to you is two fold.

The first is to learn if the British Columbia Government has tested food grown in BC, and/or sold in BC, for presence of Glyphosate. If it has, and if the results are available online for public, I request you to direct me there. If the results are not available, I request you to make them available to me.

The second part is a suggestion, in case the BC Government has never checked for Glyphosate in our food system. May I then request you to set up a system so that crops grown in BC as well as food sold in our stores be checked and catalogued periodically for presence of glyphosate, and the results be made available to the consumers. I am willing to assist you in this work should you so require.

I have separate communication initiated with the newly formed federal Government in Ottawa on a related issue about verifying safety of glyphosate through direct study of tests conducted on target animals instead of indirect decision based on third party statement. However, I believe, under the Canadian Constitution Act, our provincial Governments probably has enough jurisdiction to engage in direct action in ensuring that the people of British Columbia have sufficient information on what non-food elements have gotten is in their diet, especially glyphosate, which may have an adverse effect on their health. I am available to be of assistance in this effort, should the Government require.
I would here bring to your attention an emerging fact that more and more Canadian labs are now beginning to offer testing of food for glyphosate, something that was not available even a year ago.

I enclose a recently published fourth part of a series of science papers published in peer reviewed journals by two independent scientists from the US that do not take any support from the biotech industry. The paper covers their analysis of links between glyphosate and a number of diseases including cancer.
Thanking you
Tony Mitra
(contact)

Link to Samsel’s paper : Glyphosate, pathways to modern disease, part IV


MANITOBA

Here is a letter sent by Rose Stevens to the Manitoba Minister of Health, Ms Sharon Blady:

To: Minister  Sharon Blady
Government of Manitoba, Ministry of Health
Minister Sharon Blady,
Subject: Glyphosate and it ‘ s presence in MB food system
I am a citizen and a resident of Manitoba.
I am concerned about possible links between glyphosate (in RoundUp and other brand herbicides) in our agriculture, and ill-health, as well as lack of information on which food contains how much of it. You are aware of a rising number of papers showing possible link between glyphosate and various illnesses, as well as World Health Organization reclassifying glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.  I am still waiting for that meeting with yourself, Dr Thierry Vrain and myself, but have not heard back from your office in months.  This subject will make a very interesting issue during the up coming provincial elections in 2016.
My reason for writing to you is two fold.
The first is to learn if the Manitoba governement has tested food grown in MB, and/or sold in MB, for presence of Glyphosate. If it has, and if the results are available online for public, I request you to direct me there. If the results are not available, I request you to make them available to me.
The second part is a suggestion, in case the Manitoba Government has never checked for Glyphosate in our food system,may I then request you to set up a system so that crops grown in Manitoba as well as food sold in our stores be checked and catalogued periodically for presence of glyphosate, and the results be made available to the consumers. I am willing to assist you in this work should you so require.
My collaegue, Tony Mitra from British Columber has a separate communication initiated with the newly formed federal Government in Ottawa on a related issue about verifying safety of glyphosate through direct study of tests conducted on target animals instead of indirect decision based on third party statement. However, I believe, under the Canadian Constitution Act, our provincial Governments probably has enough jurisdiction to engage in direct action in ensuring that the people of Manitoba have sufficient information on what non-food elements have gotten is in their diet, especially glyphosate, which may have an adverse effect on their health. I am available to be of assistance in this effort, should the Government require.
I would here bring to your attention an emerging fact that more and more Canadian labs are now beginning to offer testing of food for glyphosate, something that was not available even a year ago. 
Over twenty thousand  Canadians have already signed this  recent petition requesting that our government disclose the safety test data on glyphosate   
https://www.change.org/p/minister-of-health-canada-justin-trudeau-health-canada-prove-glyphosate-is-safe?recruiter=16360852&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive
I enclose link to recently published fourth part of a series of science papers published in peer reviewed journals by two independent scientists from the US that do not take any support from the biotech industry. The paper covers their analysis of links between glyphosate and a number of diseases including cancer.

https://www.academia.edu/17751562/Glyphosate_pathways_to_modern_diseases_IV_cancer_and_related_pathologies?auto=view&campaign=weekly_digest

Sincerely 
Rose Stevens
Manitoba
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Altered Genes – Did Druker miss out on Glyphosate ?

 

 

I have read Steven Druker’s book Altered Genes, Twisted Truth. While being a passionate activist on food security issues, and used to be singularly focussed on the ills of GMO, I have shifted my stance now to be more aware, and more alarmed, about Glyphosate and its effect not just in food, but also in prairies, forests and just about everywhere, even in our lawns, and what it all is doing to this planet. I have been fortunate to have come to know a rising number of scientists from around the world, at the same time many other passionate people that flock to anti-GMO gurus to listen to them. I also consider North America is about the very worst of all continents when it comes to either general awareness of the problems with either Glyphosate or GMO, and also far less successful in resisting them, compared to any other continent where humans live.

So, I decided to sent a note to Steven Druker about his book, but primarily because I got bugged by some of his ardent supporters who seem to be fixated more on GMO than on Glyphosate, pretty much in line with Druker’s book. I hope to be able to catch up with Steven Druker some day, or perhaps have  a talk with him over the phone, and share views. My mail was sent to him through Linked-in since I do not have his direct email. In case that does not reach him, or he does not check that often, I decided to make it available to him as well as to the blog readers, here. I believe this is a constructive criticism that Druker would benefit from, and quite different from the vitriolic attack he sometimes faces on the web.


To: Steven Druker,

Author – Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

Dear Mr. Druker,

I am a Canadian citizen, and an activist on food security issues. I am also a blogger with an average daily readership of between a thousand and two thousand hits, mostly from North America, but also clustered in western Europe, South Asia and far east.

I have purchased and read your book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, and have discussed parts of it with many different people including some scientists from Canada, USA, Europe and India.

I wish to pass you some mild criticism about your book. I hope you will take them in good spirit and perhaps attend to some of them in the next reprint. 

In my view, the most glaring issue in this book, a feeling also shared by some scientists, is not what it says as much as what it does not say. Your book does not give due credit to the seriousness of the threat of Glyphosate, the most used biocide in the planet, and other stacked biocides that are on the horizon. Mention of Glyphosate in your book is almost like an distraction to the main theme, which is GMO, and how it was unethically approved in the US.

I understand that GMO is a highly visible issue – even presidential contenders are talking about if they support or do not support GMO labelling. In short – GMO sells. Therefore a book on GMO, especially if it can expose Government corruption, will sell. That Governments are failing to protect the people and are promoting corporations and share holder interests, is a common belief across the western democracies.

India, for example, has only one GM crop approved so far – Bt. Cotton. But India is awash with Glyphosate and the provinces such as Punjab, with high agricultural activity, those that were once considered the granary for India, are now known as its cancer capital. Two year old kids are now having cancer, in regions where they grow absolutely no GM crop at all, all thanks to herbicides and in particular, RoundUp.

You are likely aware that Sri Lanka is having a running battle with WTO, IMF and the World Bank, because the country wants to ban Glyphosate altogether since their sugarcane workers started dying of kidney failure ever since they started spraying non-GM sugarcane just before harvest. Unfortunately, these international institutions are threatening the country of financial ruin through cutting of credit and devaluing their credit rating etc, unless it backs away from banning the chemical across the board. In other words, there is more than just FDA and EPA, that are following unethical practice, to push Glyphosate down the throat of other nations. Even the actions of the US State Department deserves your investigation.

Within the BRICS nations, China is an interesting case to which I shall draw your attention. Russia wants the BRICS group to altogether ban Glyphosate. South Africa is on the fence but would like to join. Indian Govt is on the fence but the people in general would like to join this ban. China is very against banning Glyphosate. Why ? Because China is the biggest producer of Glyphosate (for American brand names) and exporter. Therefore, they do not want the Glyphosate market to shrink.

Therefore, it is my opinion that, to do justice to the topic, you might need to give much a higher exposure to the saga of Glyphosate.

Another thing, it is my understanding that US regulators such as EPA require toxicological tests not just for 90 days but for a lot longer, up to two years. This may not have been evident at the time of writing your book but Monsanto’s tests, their reports as well as raw data have been selectively released to key people with non-disclosure agreements, after 35 years. Anthony Samsel has over 4,000 pages of it, and has started investigating how Monsanto misrepresented the test data to claim that Glyphosate was safe. However, some of the tests extended to two years. I draw your attention to your book on Glyphosate (RoundUp) references on, for example, pages 302, 303, 304 etc. Perhaps you would consider amending that in the next printing. In my thinking, that 90 days test requirement may be factually incorrect. The reason the test results were accepted as satisfactory was not because the period of the test was short, but because Monsanto may have cheated in presenting the data. Incidentally, I interviewed Anthony Samsel on the now selectively unsealed Monsanto documents. Two short videos on them can be found on my blog: http://www.tonu.org/2015/06/06/glyphosate_tradesecretfiles/

There is a growing movement across the planet to rise up against Glyphosate. You of course are aware that Glyphosate is now routinely used as desiccant on non-GM crops, such as cereals, in North America, and it is difficult today for people here to find a meal without glyphosate, even if they go for certified non-GMO crops.

You may or may not be aware, that scientists in the US that make their own bread from certified organic wheat, which they buy in sacks, have found the wheat to be contaminated with Glyphosate in some of the bags, enough to make them sick. This goes to show how endemic the problem is.

There are a rising number of independents studies creeping up from all across the planet, about serious health effects, even deformed babies, from Glyphosate exposure. Separate wildlife scientists in North America are finding evidence that our wildlife, mostly ruminants and other mammals, and even many bird species, are standing at the verge of extinction, primarily suspected as victims of Glyphosate and its damaging effects on their microbiome. According to some of these scientists, large game mammals in North America are going to face extinction soon, since many will be unable to produce viable offspring, due to damaged reproductive system or infertility, while some bird species will face extinction due to highly skewed sex ratio, again thanks to Glyphosate.

I can introduce you, should you like, to some of these scientists. These stories have not yet been told properly and their findings have not seen proper light of day, due to disinterest from Government, media as well as the public.

Meanwhile, you are likely aware that a rising number of labs across north America are beginning to offer high end, low detection level, repeatable, accredited tests to detect Glyphosate in all kinds of raw and processed food, as well as live crops and grain. Also, a lot of people now are beginning to test their Urine for Glyphosate.  I am told Hollywood is getting ready to publicize it too – not sure if this Hollywood story is correct.

Here in Canada, folks are getting engaged in testing their own food and doing self-labelling, bypassing the entire do-nothing government. I am personally involved in this effort, as well as notifying the major food store chains that our intension is to test their food and put the results up on the web.

Anyhow, it is my honest opinion that your book has done a disservice to the very real dangers associated with glyphosate, with or without GMO. Many scientists, including genetic engineers and agrologist and soil biologists consider Glyphosate in the long run to be a greater threat and easier to prove scientifically, than GMO. That may be one reason the industry likes people to stay focussed on GMO, supporting the argument that the industry is comfortable responding to GMO concerns, but not Glyphosate.

I would like to touch base with you some day, should you come this way. I live in Delta, near Vancouver. I am friendly with many scientists – biochemists, microbiologists, genetic engineers, top biologists, agrologist and the like, in USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Asia, and Australasia and have learned a bit from them about this serious issue.

I understand you are a lawyer. So you probably know that the only serious court cases in relation to GMO that has been lost by the regulatory authorities or the biotech industry and won by the litigators have been in India, on more than one occassion. I personally know the people that took the Government to court about GMO and actually won, putting a serious dent in the biotech industry’s effort to open that market. Unfortunately, Glyphosate has not faced that kind of focussed resistance and it is virtually everywhere in India, even without GMO, and is ruining their health, not to mention the ravages of farmer suicide that has crossed 300,000. Not all of them are to do with GMO, something that Monsanto and its partners are quick to point out, but nearly all are linked, one way or another, with Glyphosate, something that the same Monsanto would rather not have to answer.

Incidentally, Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai has recently published four papers, which conclude on a scientific basis that the concept of “substantial equivalence” is humbug, at least according to thousands of test results on GM against non-GM soy, when measuring glutathione and formaldehyde correlation. You might find it interesting to check on Ayyadurai’s work. I know him too.

Hoping to touch base with you some day, on phone of face to face.

Tony Mitra


Well, that was my letter to Druker. I hope I can have a good talk with him some day. I personally do not believe books on GMO will actually result in any measurable action in preventing its spread. I actually do not believe any prevention will happen through people singing petitions or by politicians either. Change has to happen with people directly engaging with their Government and rising op to stop this chemical attack. If it happens, it will be triggered by people other than armchair warriors.
That has been my observation even on the ground, such as in Eastern Europe or India. When Bt. Egg Plant was proposed for entry in India, there were hundreds of thousands of people on the march. It scared the daylights out of the minster of environment, who blocked it, effectively indefinitely, something that the new Indian Government is trying to undo, slowly.
In North America, people have forgotten how to rise up that way. Either for that reason, or for some other, we in North America are the worst off – which reflects in our health status in comparison to the other western nations, in every field. We are the sickest of them all, although we spend the most in healthcare, compared to all others.
I might add a discussion podcast, or perhaps a video, or other material, on what some of the other scientists and researchers, policy makers etc that have knowledge on it, might think about our Glyphosate problem, and how it has so far escaped the mainstream media, the political establishment and the public eye.
Readers are welcome to send me a note.


A few updates. I have received a very nice response from Dr. Don Huber in support of what Druker did in his investigative effort in the book, which is specifically focussed on the problems in the regulatory process of approval of GMO.
Dr. Huber agreed that I might copy his message here, which is

Tony,
Although your letter highlights the problem with glyphosate, it does a disservice to Steve Druker.  The PURPOSE of Druker’s book is to DOCUMENT the dangers of the PROCESS and the regulatory corruption that is present that is manifest in NOT JUST GMOs but also chemicals, etc. Without GMO, there would be much less glyphosate in our food even though I agree that desiccation with a systemic chemical like glyphosate is an abominable practice from a food safety consideration.
I commend Steve for his thorough documentation of the UNSAFE results of the PROCESS, and in doing it in such a readable and understandable manner! In visiting with him, he mentioned that he had several more chapters, but had to cut those because of length and didn’t want the purpose and focus of the book on the GMO PROCESS to be minimized.  There is plenty of room for someone else to write about glyphosate, as you know that those articles are published everyday.  Steve’s expertise is in the legal/regulatory arena which he shares very effectively in his book Altered Genes, Twisted Truth. This is a much needed discussion since the opposition to food labeling is based on “don’t condemn the process” which both Steve Druker in his book and Shive Ayyadurai’s excellent research (devoted solely to Unsafety of the PROCESS) document.  Just because there are unaddressed issues in society that need to be addressed, please don’t negate the important contributions a few brave souls have been willing to dedicate so much effort to thoroughly document.
You highlight a glowing need for a comparable documentation on glyphosate, but it should not be construed as a reason t criticize or negate what has been accomplished with Steve’s book on GMOs and the PROCESS as well as the betrayal of the public trust involved in the regulatory system!
Don
Don M. Huber
Professor Emeritus, Purdue University

I received another message from another scientist involved in this issue, and who knows Steven Druker personally. I am quoting the comment here, though I shall keep the sender’s name out of it since I did not obtain specific permission to disclose it.

I was disappointed as well by his “light” treatment of glyphosate. I think he was duped by all the propaganda that glyphosate is nontoxic to humans. I’ve tried to set him straight, but so far without success (I think).

Please give it a try!


I have also received a note from Dr. Samsel regarding his investigation of the Monsanto toxicological test. He corrected me in one area. The total number of pages of document thus released to him stands at over 15,000, and counting. It was 4,000 when I interviewed him last. So, Dr. Samsel has gotten a whole lot more now to sift through, regarding Monsanto, Glyphosate, EPA and the approval process.


Scientist friend Chenny from China supports Don Huber’s view, that Druker should not be responsible for highlighting glyphosate, since Drukers angle was GMO and FDA, not glyphosate and EPA, although glyphosate story is as important and damaging, as GMO.

Dear Tony,
I tend to agree with Don Huber’s comments.
If you carefully consider the whole book, you should understand that he approaches the issue from disclosing FDA regulatory procedures and result.
And, if you review FDA’s role over all glyphosate-tollerence GMO crops, you could see that they completely ignore the issue of glyphosate residues in glyphosate-tollerence GMO crops.
Part of the reason: “division of responsibility”, EPA (not FDA) is responsible of safety evaluation of pesticides, herbicides. Thus, once EPA classifies glyphosate/Roundup as safe to animals, humans, FDA then treats glyphosate/Roundup as safe and no concern to all glyphosate-tollerence GMO crops.
Monsanto takes advantage of this, in their “volunteer consultation” with FDA over all glyphosate-tollerence GMO crops, glyphosate residue is not even mentioned!
The same situation exists in China: When Monsanto applied for safety evaluation of RR soybeans/maize in 2003, glyphosate was not mentioned in any of their documents submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture, and RR soybean samples submitted to the Ministry for toxicology animal testing, were also grown without spraying Roundup. Ministry of Agriculture accepted all of this, especially because the same Ministry evaluated glyphosate/Roundup in 1988 and approved its “pesticide registration” classifying it safe to animals and human health!
This is why our efforts in China must start with the registration of  glyphosate/Roundup in 1988 based on falsified toxicology animal reports submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture, if we can not succeed on this issue, we have no ground to further attack the approval of RR soybean in 2003.
Accordingly, especially as a lawyer reviewing whatever legal effective evidence he can obtain, Druker will not (and cannot) discuss issues which are not available in the evidence he obtains.
Another even more important issue: Only by establishing widest possible united front against Monsanto and evil forces, the people can win. Accordingly, we must first evaluation if the person, like Druker, is a colleague on the same side, or an enemy on the other side, and treat them accordingly, and be careful not to miss fire and hurt each other on the same general side.
I suggest you give some further thoughts to the overall situation, and adjust you attitude and position with Druker.
Saying all the above, your critisim over glyphosate (not against Druker), is completely correct, and I believe that Druker also accepts. But, as a lawyer, and also for tacticle reasons, it is far more effective for his book not to discuss glyphosate, because this is completely not a FDA issue, it is a EPA issue.
Best regards
Chenny

Wildlife scientist Judy Hoy of Montana had an interesting feedback. She has not read the book, but believes Don Huber is right, in the sense that Druker’s book is on GMO and not glyphosate. Yet, she also mentions that, in effect, Druker’s book is nothing compared to the ravages that glyphosate brings on the planet. She also attached a graph in her response, of glyphosate against children’s autism.

Hi Tony,

I agree with Don Huber that Druker’s book was about GMOs in particular. (I haven’t had time to read it yet.) It would likely take at least two books equal in size to Druker’s book to report even a little of the extensive, sadistic damage Roundup/glyphosate is doing to the planet. Humans and most other animals will likely be gone because of that damage long before the total effects of releasing GMO plants on the planet reach their full potential.

Did I or anyone else send you The Earth is not Roundup Ready? It is a short document listing just a few of the things that Roundup/glyphosate are doing to cause global climate change and cause the demise of most species of vertebrate. It is based on what several scientists told me. I just put the effects in a list of sorts and sent it to other scientists.

I really don’t think that GMOs can work nearly as fast as Roundup, working synergistically with the other deadly pesticides (umbrella term), to destroy life on the earth. I may be wrong, but based on my observations for the last 20 years, I doubt it.

I thought your blog was great. Feel free to share our 2015 study with Steven Druker if you have the opportunity. It pretty much shows graphically and photographically what Roundup is doing to newborns of birds and mammal, including children. I have to say that I have a serious problem with governments allowing chemical companies to get by with maiming and killing millions of human babies. That is government condoned genocide, which I thought was not supposed to be allowed “ever again.” And as you say, one of the worst offenders is the United States (Canada may not be far behind if the birth defects on the animals are any indication.) Also, the serious effects of Roundup and the other highly used pesticides is extensively and actively covered up by all government agencies, almost all media, almost all conventional medical organizations and professionals, etc., which makes all of them accomplices in the mass genocide.

Best Wishes,
Judy


Microbiologist, soil biologist, and ex-agriculture Canada scientist Dr. Thierry Vrain had this to say about the book

I will play the devil’s advocate.  I read that thick book quickly and saw the space devoted to the danger of glyphosate – practically nil.   The whole book is about the history of evils that Monsanto has done, including the faked results of corporate research.   But there is nothing about the commercial successes of the RoundUp Ready technology (and desiccation of grains) taking over 500 million acres, and less than nothing about the herbicide sprayed on that half billion acres.  Don’t you find that a little strange ?

A one liner for yet another scientist, commenting not so much on the book, but about my role.

Tony, I am thrilled that you are so involved with this very important mission, and that you have a unique role to play!


This came from Victor Hafichuk, who had hosted us in his huge farm in Alberta during our GE talk tour event at Lethbridge. I had a time finding it in a snow covered agricultural landscape with no identifiable landmark anywhere, in the darkness. I still smile at that experience. This is the first feedback from a non-scientist.

From what I’ve learned, not only from you, is that glyphosate should receive no small billing. It seems to me that small mention of it is as bad as no mention at all, perhaps worse, like labeling GMO’s as though they’re legitimate food and that people ought to have a choice between food and poison. What’s poison doing on grocery shelves, anyway? We’re talking a fire-breathing dragon here, aren’t we? Should we be casual about the dragon or the fire? 

And keep up the good work, Tony. In the end, when all is said and done, Truth ALWAYS prevails, no matter the time or medium or apparent failures in the meantime….


GMO is a trojan horse, to quietly bring in glyphosate – says André Comeau, geneticist, Quebec City, working to develop plants that need zero pesticides

GMOs are a Trojan horse for pesticides. Alas the people are so poorly aware of the Greek literature that at least two thirds of them do not even know the meaning of Trojan Horse. But Trojan horse is the best descriptor of GMOs. It means nowadays, it is the doomsday gadget (GMO) that introduces a dangerous enemy (glyphosate), without giving any alert to the victims (that there is glyphosate in it).

 


Further feedback from Scientist Stephanie Seneff

I think he wrote a great book – one of the few that I have taken the time to read all the way through this year – but I can not help but say that I was disappointed that glyphosate didn’t get more coverage.

The only conclusion I can make is simply that he was not aware that it is so toxic.  I can forgive him for that, as it is hard for people to believe – even people who are experts on GMOs – that glyphosate COULD be that toxic, given that all the regulating agencies have given it the ‘okay.’

Stephanie


I received more feedback from non-scientists as well, but shall leave that aside for now. It is quite clear to me at least, that, the issue of importance of glyphosate as a very dangerous chemical that is on us in unbelievably huge quantities and is threatening life at a planetary scale, is agreed more or less by everybody.

Then there is a split, right down the middle, with some stating Druker did not need to tackle glyphosate (or he may be unsuited for that task), and the other half thinks Druker should very much have mentioned, even for two or three pages, the extreme danger glyphosate poses to the planet.

I believe, whether the book is by a scientist, a lawyer, a writer, an activist, or Mickie Mouse, if it is about corruption in the US institutions in accepting GMOs for agricultural use, it aught to have also covered the parallel ravages of glyphosate (in my mind glyphosate is a lot worse), just so the readers are not mislead into thinking GMO is the beginning and end of all evil, and you can drink glyphosate on the rocks before going to bed.

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A Petition about Glyphosate

I have had a series of exchanges with Health Canada on Glyphosate. These include :

1. A letter to Ms Rona Ambrose, the minster of health, hand carried by outgoing MP Alex Atamanenko to Ms Ambrose, on the issue of lack of laboratories in Canada (at the time, i.e. last year) where Canadians could test themselves (urine sample or breast milk), or their food, for presence of Glyphosate. That produced a convoluted response from the ministry, without actually covering the main issue, i.e. labs for Canadians. At the time, Canada had labs that test for Glyphosate only in soil and in water. That is all.

Things have improved since then. I do not know if it happened because of my question, and because MP Alex Atamanenko pushed it with Health Canada, or because World Health Organization re-classified Glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, or for a combination of reasons including the above two. Whatever the reason, a number of Canadian labs now offer testing of food items for presence of Glyphosate. Some will test only vegetables, or processed food. Some will test grains. Some might only test crops from the field. Some have this testing methodology and process accredited. Some claim they can get the accreditation but have not done so because it is costly and they do not know if the business will be enough to maintain this accreditation that involves high annual fees.

Some will only test target weed type plants that show visible damage due to suspected glyphosate attack, but will not test plants that show no trace of damage, such as RoundUp Ready crops.

They mostly use High Performance Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry or similar high end methods and have a lowest repeatable and verifiable detection level that is between 10 and 20 parts per billion.

Most will do such tests for any paying customer including the general public. Costs can vary from around 200 to 400, depending on various factors.

Unfortunately, testing of human body fluids such as urine, blood, or mother’s breast milk, for presence of Glyphosate, is still not possible in Canada. There is a system in the US, that allows Canadian urine to be transported safety and tested in the US, for USD 119 each – and effort in which I am personally involved. We have sent out the first batch of samples and are awaiting results. This is covered in another blog.

2. Safety test documents: Request to Health Canada, through Access To Information (ATI) act, for Health Canada to disclose to me the document, based on which it approved Glyphosate. This resulted in huge file being copied into a CD and sent to me by mail. But the document and its attached reports and links did not include direct test data conducted on animals that have been exposed to the chemical. Rather, it was a summary report comprising of visiting other scientific papers. So the issue remains unresolved, i.e. if Canadian Government of its Pest Management Review Association has at all sighted a direct safety test report with their raw data, or not. And if it has, then will it make those document(s) public. I intend to make fresh requests to Health Canada, with different wording, for disclosure of the safety test raw data.

3. Results of Canadian foods being tested for Glyphosate content. I know the Canadian Government has started testing our food for Glyphosate content. I know existing labs are scrambling to get on board, and are either developing their own technology or adopting/licensing European or American systems. I asked the Government, against under Access To Information Act, to disclose to me all such results. Unfortunately, again, I am being given selective results, involving tests of crops suspected to be clean already, such as organic plants, and not conventional, or RoundUp Ready plants. So, in my view, the Government is playing hide and seek with us on safety data on glyphosate.

4. A fresh petition: Now that we have a fresh Government to take helm, and this Government is promising to be more transparent, I intend to see if fresh engagements will help bring transparency in this field which has been opaque for too long.

This petition, which is now collecting signatories and is sort of open ended. I was thinking of closing it when it collects 500 signatures. A letter should be sent to New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as the new Minster of Health, for them to disclose the safety documents relating to Glyphosate, and also to make the system transparent so that people do not have to run around to get an honest answer on issues of food safety.

Meanwhile, there has been some interesting sniping behind the back from some anti-GMO and anti-pesticide talking heads, who might be harbouring a desire to own the movement, or appear to be the omnipotent guru in their ivory towers.

One comment that has come back through circuitous paths is that it is not Health Canada’s duty to sight first hand safety test data and not their duty to prove to the citizens of Canada that a product it approved is safe. All Health Canada needs to do, perhaps, is copy paste whatever they get from the biotech industry.

The petition has gathered over 19,000 supporters by November 14. It also got under the skin of a Harold Ingram, who was kind enough to send me an email.

Naturally, that is not what we expect a Government to do. There are rule books and guidelines on that the approval regime under the ministry of health is supposed to follow.

I had a minute and a half talk with Dr. Shiv Chopra, and converted that into a video, for clarifications.

So, here is a request for those that believe such a petition is necessary – go sign it. Click on the petition image to go to that page.

Thank you.

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Yellow journalism

Used to be a time when each town had one or two family owned newspapers, and collectively a nation had a lot of variety in their news services. Each paper may or may not have a particular tilt in its presentation – pro poor, pro rich, left or right, anti this or anti that.

Together, they presented multiple angles and points of view on issues that mattered to the people, and to the nation.

Unfortunately, that is not how things are today, thanks to extreme consolidation of the news media. Today a single mogul or media house, who may not even be from your country, can own every large paper and coax all of them to to push its own bias on an entire nation.

Ideally, there should have been an anti-monopoly laws that prevent this from happening, but then, there are a lot of things that should have happened in Canada but did not.

Here is an example – of what I consider to be yellow journalism. This article came out in Globe and Mail on October 29. This looks like an angry reaction to an interview that CBC conducted on Dr. Shiv Chopra, in relation to the TPP deals  in general, and about possible import of American milk from cows treated with growth hormones in particular. The CBC interview with Dr. Chopra can be found here.

In my opinion TPP is engineered to promote profiteering by corporations against the interests of a nation and gives these corporations extraordinary power to prevent national Governments from protecting its market, its interest, or its people from predatory practices by these corporations. In its basic form, it can be argued that such deals are anti-democratic, and there are justifiable reasons one can have objections to such deals.

This lady might be beholden to the religion of corporate greed or share holder profiteering. Anyhow, her article appears to be aimed at trashing Dr. Shiv Chopra’s life work, particularly because Chopra was vocal in his criticism of TPP and questions the safety of American milk treated with rBGH.

Perhaps she considers a corporate driven USA to be the reference point of every heavenly thing that earth has seen, meaning, if something happens in USA, then it must be the best thing.

One could take this kind of convoluted logic to an extreme, and claim that, if USA has most per capita people in jail, then Canada should follow suit and start jailing our people right and left, because, by that mind set, we are badly lagging behind USA in this important area.

Dr. Chopra was employed as a top scientist in Health Canada involved in approval of products that went into human food system. His concern was human health and safety.

The bovine growth hormone (rBGH) was being touted as the next best thing since our species ancestors lost their tail and got down from trees, figuratively speaking. Injecting cows with this growth hormone is supposed to force ( they used more Gandhian terminology such as “induce” instead of force) the cows to produce more milk than they would normally do.

Shiv wanted to see safety tests done on this product before approving it. This is a very normal request, especially from someone in his position. His job was not to see if the injection does indeed result in more milk. His job was to check if that milk could be harmful to people who drank it.

So he asked for test results to be submitted to him. These results would normally involve sample mammals such as rats or rabbits to be injected with this hormone, and then the blood chemistry and milk chemistry of these animals as well as other health parameters to be measured, and compared with another set of animals of the same species that were not treated with this hormone. The resultant comparison of raw data is expected to indicate if the treated animal remained healthy, if its milk did not contain undue amounts of growth hormone, if its body did not produce unwanted antibodies as a reaction to the hormone, if its milk did not contain anything other than what normal milk should contain, etc.

Normally, it would not be necessary for an approval authority to ask for these safety test data, because it would automatically be included by the producer in their application. But, for reasons better known to the producers, this safety test documents were excluded from the file and Shiv Chopra did not have them.

So he asked for them. Simple.

But, instead of providing the requested information, the producer went over his head to the politicians, and got Shiv Chopra sacked. Not only that, the Government passed a gag order on Shiv, so that he would not be allowed to speak about the circumstance under which he was fired. Dr. Chopra had to fight this gag order in court and had that lifted, before he could publish a book – Corrupt to the core, to expose endemic corruption within Health Canada.

That is the story about Shiv Chopra, and rBGH. That hormone remains unapproved in Canada and milk treated with it remains banned from import. A majority of European nations have outright banned the hormone in their dairy industry. But now, thanks to TPP, such milk may enter Canada through the back door.

That is what concerns Dr. Chopra, and that is what he spoke about.

The article in Globe and Mail essentially amounts to a murder of truth, and an sorry example of corporate driven yellow journalism. You can see your yourself by clicking on the picture.

I do not fault the woman for the twisted view she is projecting. Not every one is knowledgable. Not everyone is perfect. People have a right to be stupid. I however fault Globe and Mail for putting it up. But then, I started this blog on the issue of death of true investigative journalism. Globe and mail article proves that in Canada, free press has been replaced by free jokes.

The question in my mind is – should I consider Globe and Mail same as junk mail.

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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.

Tagore’s observations a century ago, appears eerily relevant even today.

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 activity 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 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, 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 there are always insects in our harvest field which, in spite of their robbery, tend to leave a sufficient surplus for the tillers of the soil, so that it does not pay us to try to exterminate them altogether. But when some pest, that has an enormous power of self multiplication, attacks our total food crop, we must consider this a great calamity. In human society, in normal circumstances, there are many causes that make for wastage, yet it does not cost us much to ignore them.

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 social 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 personal 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 constantly struggling 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 wanting 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 poet, 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!

1922

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