PARLIAMENT of CANADA E-Petition on Glyphosate safety

The open platform petition on cage.org to have the Government disclose hitherto hidden safety documents on Glyphosate has run full circle. It generated nearly 23,000 supporters, around 98% of them being Canadian. The petition had over thirty updates. The total volume of supporting material went well over a thousand pages.

The documents were handed over to Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, to carry it to Ottawa and hand over to Health Canada with a request to respond to the demand that the safety data on Glyphosate be made accessible to Canadians.

There has not been any further feedback, if indeed the documents were or were not handed over to Health Canada.

That silence, and absence of feedback, encouraged me to consider a second petition, this time on the House of Commons Government E-Petition platform, one that the Government presumably will not be able to stay silent on.

Creating an E-Petition on the Canadian House of Commons platform is a wholly different animal than creating one on change.org. It needed an MP as a sponsor, and five initial supporters. Luckily, Fin Donnelly , NDP,  Port Moody—Coquitlam BC, agreed to sponsor the petition.

And now the petition has been accepted, translated into bilingual by the Government, and put up on line for 120 days to collect signatures. The Petition is open for signature until November 22, 2016, at 9:40 a.m. (EDT).

Our task now would be to get as many support signatures as possible for this petition, as a start. ON a second front, I am asking folks to write to their MPs, for their support to this petition on the floor on the parliament, and to make this issue, of illegal withholding of safety data from disclosure, while approving Glyphosate to enter our food system, to be a topic of a debate and a national dialog.

Link to E-4113 Petition : https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-413

Your support will be appreciated.
Thank you.
Tony Mitra

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The road ahead on glyphosate

We have so far gone around the country, speaking about the dangers of chemical dependent agriculture, forestry and weed control in public places. We have had meetings with politicians, and joined marches against Monsanto. We have written to ministers and contacted labs about testing of Glyphosate in food.

And yet, Canada, its land, air, water, soil, flora, fauna and people are all getting systematically poisoned through introduction of batches of killer chemicals that are deemed safe by our Government, but whose safety documents are kept hidden from public scrutiny, which essentially makes the approval of these chemicals potentially illegal.

We have a petition asking Ottawa to release all hitherto hidden safety documents on Glyphosate to the people of Canada, with over 22,000 supporters. The details of this petition has been handed over to Minister Carla Qualtrough on April 27, to be hand delivered to the Minister of Health in Ottawa.

Apart from that, we have also asked Minister Qualtrough to try and arrange some public funds to start public testing local food and water in her own constituency, Delta, BC, for Glyphosate.

Jane Philpott

We have so far not achieved any measurable success. There is no response from the minister of health about disclosure of the safety documents. There is a separate access to information act application from me to the Ministry of Health asking for the same safety documents, which too are languishing, as the ministry drags its feet over the issue.

I might send her another letter, but there is no compulsion for the minister to respond to it and from the pace of follow ups, it may well be that Canadians shall not hear any feedback from the ministry, let alone disclosure of the safety documents, or a review of the approval of Glyphosate for Canadian agriculture.

As a result, I have started preparing another petition, this time not on change.org but on the Government web site using Government’s own official template. It is addressed also to the Minister of Health (Health Canada), and asks for public disclosure of safety documents for Glyphosate.

However, there are some steps that need to be taken before such a petition can be submitted. One of them is to have a sponsor, among the current Members of Parliament. I would have asked Mr. Alex Atamanenko to be the sponsor, if he was still an MP. Unfortunately he retired from politics last year. Next, I thought of asking MP Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada. However, I have written to her in the past and never received any reply, and feel unsure of her willingness to help in this cause. I should ask my own MP first, honourable minister Carla Qualtrough, and I have done so in an email. However, I do not wish to feel her pressured in an awkward situation with her colleagues in the Government, so I do not know what her response would be.

As a result, I am kind of in the hunt, for a suitable MP that might take up this cause for Canadian people.

The draft petition

I invite readers to suggest a suitable MP. More importantly, if they personally know a good MP that could be interested to sponsor it, I encourage them to check with the MP first and let me know.

I have not done such an official petition before, so do not know if the system allows more than one sponsor, but believe it might. So, if more than one MP is willing to support this cause, I shall be very keen to contact them. I am thinking of approaching some of the other party members such as NDP and CP. Any help would be appreciated.

There is one more issue at hand – which is to try and push the movement for grassroots activism for people to get their local municipalities to set aside funds and start testing local foods and water for Glyphosate and to make the results public. I shall come to that hopefully in the next blog.

My blog itself had been hacked, taken down, and access denied. But all that has thankfully been solved after many days of off-and-on struggle. Allt things finally became OK yesterday, June 7th, in the evening. Hence today I have my first update again.

Send your suggestions to me.

Thank you.
Tony Mitra

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Meeting with a minister

Meeting the Canadian Federal Minister Carla Qualtrough, regarding Glyphosate
April 27, 2016
1:30 PM

Delegation members were:

1. Tony Mitra (myself) creator of the petition.

2. Dr. Thierry Vrain – genetic engineer & retired Agriculture Canada scientist

3. Kenneth Young, Canadian army veteran

4. Richard Sweeting, retired orthopaedic surgeon

5. Eliza Olson, President, Burns Bog conservation society

6. Liz Walker, President, White Rock & Surrey Naturalist & Director, Citizens for Safe Technology

7. Richard Miller, glyphosate sufferer & promoter of growing clean food at home.

RECAP OF THE MEETING

First speaker
First speaker was Dr. Thierry Vrain, retired genetic engineer, soil biologist and ex-Agriculture Canada scientist. He spoke about the history behind glyphosate, and recent studies that point to possible problems with Glyphosate. He took about 8 minutes and handed over printed documents on many of the studies to you.

Second speaker
Second to speak with Kenneth Young, Canadian army veteran and spokesperson for military use of toxic chemicals and effect of exposure on humans, including agent orange. He spoke of the Stockholm convention on organic pollutants. He took 6 minutes and handed over his talks in writing to you.

Third Speaker 
The third and main speaker was myself, taking 20 minutes to cover the following five items:

i) Handing over of the petition documents in two copies of DVD drives for Health Canada, and one flash drive for the Honourable minister, with about a thousand pages of pdf documentation and 15 videos.

ii) My background, such as

Going around Canada with Dr. Thierry Vrain to speak about problems with Glyphosate based agriculture;

Discovering over two years ago that Canada did not have a lab to test our food or our body fluids for presence of Glyphosate.

Writing to the then Health Canada minister Rona Ambrose to do something about getting a lab for Canadians. Receiving no response;

Alex Atamanenko, MP from NDP taking up my cause, eventually getting Health Canada to respond to me, which I found to be non-committal;

Two years down the line, some labs are now beginning to offer glyphosate testing. I feel satisfied as far as that goes, that I was on the right side of history on that issue;

I am now into the next phase of my effort – to get some layer of our Government to start testing local food, soil and water for the people, since labs are now available, and making that results available on public domain.

iii) It is my belief that keeping biosafety data of glyphosate hidden from the people is illegal, and my reasons for this belief – i.e. my own personal communication with Health Canada through Access To Information Act applications, as well as legal precedence set in the supreme court of India. It is because of this belief that I made the public petition for Canadian Government to disclose all safety records it has in its possession based on which it decided to approve the use of Glyphosate for Canadian agriculture. Should the minister wish to contact the relevant advocates or litigants in India about the precedence setting case, I am ready to help introduce the Minister to the relevant persons.

iv) UN convention on biodiversity and Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. These were created by the world body to help member nations put in place responsible safeguards to prevent damage, destruction, extinction or contamination of local biological diversity from inadvertent or faulty introduction of LMO (living modified organism, which is UN’s way of saying GMO, or genetically modified organism). 170 nations have ratified it. Canada has not. We stand out like a pariah nation in this regard and our biological diversity is being stolen from under our feet as a result.

I presented example of how India put in place specific laws that prevents foreign nations of corporations from studying, tampering with or patenting living organisms from India without specific permission from the Government, and how Monsanto was found to be violating this law, and how a court case in India obliged the Government to sue Monsanto for biopiracy as a result. I also gave example of Canola, a Canadian invention, that was a great product, but today 96% of all Canola grown in Canada are Monsanto’s patented version. In my view this is a good example of how our biological heritage is being stolen from under our feet. I request Honourable minister Carla Qualtrough to speak directly with our PM Honourable Justin Trudeau and request him to drop in at the secretarial office of this convention in Montreal, which is in his own constituency and near his own home, and find out how Canada compares with the rest of the world on Cartagena Protocol. The office is at:

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

413, Saint Jacques Street, suite 800 

Montreal QC H2Y 1N9 , Canada

Tel: +1 514 288 2220

Fax: +1 514 288 6588

E-Mail: secretariat@cbd.int

Web: www.cbd.int

v) Last, I made an urgent request for the minister to find ways to allocate some funds for the people of her constituency, the township of Delta, to start testing some of our soil, water and food for presence of Glyphosate and to place such data on public domain. She said she would see how and if public funds can be used for this. I did ask her to make this happen, since public funds should be used to tackle issues of public safety, and help Delta to lead the rest of Canada on this important public interest initiative.

Fourth speaker

Next to speak was Richard Sweeting, retired orthopaedic surgeon and he spoke about manmade chemicals, history of deceit and suppression of evidence on past chemicals by the same company that today sells RoundUp and Glyphosate. He spoke about how long it took for folks to disclose that smoking was bad for health, and how many of these chemicals disrupt our endocrine system and how science and safety data on these chemicals should always be publicly available. He spoke for about 4 minutes or so.

Fifth speaker

Richard Miller spoke briefly, who had personally suffered for over twenty years through exposure to glyphosate and GMO without apparent cure and without any solution from the medical establishment, cured himself eventually in only ten days, going to 100% organic.

There was then a short follow up talk with Mr. Jude Welsh,  the Parliamentary affairs director for Minister Carla Qualtrough, who was listening in from Ottawa, about what they were to do as a follow up of our talk and presentation. I then reminded the Minister that I had asked for three things, which were:

a) That the minister hands over the petition document to Health Canada and ask it to respond, hoping to get the safety data on Glyphosate released.

b) I had asked Honorable Carla Qualtrough to impress upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to drop into the Secretarial office of the UN convention on biodiversity and ask about Canada’s position in comparison with the rest of the world on Cartagena Protocol

c) And I asked the Honorable Minister to help Delta lead the rest of Canada by arranging for periodic testing of local food, soil and water for presence of Glyphosate and make the result available to the people.

The Honourable Minster had wondered if the current liberal Government had been approached for the biosafety data on Glyphosate. I responded saying I opened a fresh Access to Information application with Health Canada the day after the Justin Trudeau government came to power , for Health Canada to disclose to me all safety documents it has read before approving glyphosate, and got a few written confirmation from Health Canada, acknowledging that I have the right to such data, and that they have over 130,000 pages of it, but has still been dragging its feet and I have not seen any of it, which is why the petition was created to get the public to ask the Government to release the data.

Attached video is a audiovisual rendition of the same recap, done by Mistry Britskaya. My thanks go to her.

[youtube XHkrWKoRG20]

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Updates on Glyphosate Petition

Hello friends,

It has been an exhilarating time since I opened two separate channels for my Government, in Ottawa, Canada, to address the issue of rising use and presence of the weed killer RoundUp and in particular the chemical Glyphosate in our environment, and the fact that the people do not have either access to information on how much of the toxic chemical is in our food, water and soil, or access to the safety test that is supposed to prove that the chemical and the formulation is actually safe for people or for the environment.

This matter has now reached a turning point since Canada is now having a lot of labs accessible to the public that will test our food for Glyphosate, something that was not the case a few years ago, and something on which I had already butted head with the previous Government under Harper, and where my letter was carried by the then MP Mr. Atamanenko to the then Health Minister Ms Rona Ambrose, to respond to. This is a good sign that labs are now beginning to offer this service.

One of my current multi-channel dialogue with the Government included an application to Health Canada, which is Canada’s way of describing the Ministry of Health, to disclose to me if it actually has seen safety test data on Glyphosate, and if so, to disclose to me all such data and reports. This application was made through the official system known as “Access To Information” act of the Government of Canada. Similar acts are also known as “Freedom of Information” act or “Right to Information” act elsewhere, such as in Canadian provincial Governments or elsewhere in the world.

Another parallel effort was the creation of an online petition for Canadians to support a motion, for our Government to disclose all hitherto hidden safety documents on Glyphosate or RoundUp, to the Canadian people, so that people can independently verify if the product is safe and if the Canadian Government has been diligent in its study and analysis. Further, it is the right of the Canadian people to see such documents and it is in effect be illegal to deny public access to such data.

Why exhilarating? Well, first of all, the correspondence that generated from the “Access to information” act appeal, confirmed a few things,

  • that the Canadian Government has in fact seen a lot of safety test data and documents
  • that they are in possession of over 130,000 pages of such material
  • that I indeed have a right, as a citizen of Canada, to see such data

And in spite of that, the Government has unfortunately been dragging its feet, citing reasons why it needs more time to provide me with the information requested. One of the reason is that they need to cross check with the parties that conducted that safety test, if the details may be divulged to me and under what condition.

The very facts that the Canadian Government acknowledges it has the data, and that I have a right to it, are positive development. That I cannot see it yet unless third parties that provided the data agree to the arrangement – is in my view illegal. If such data cannot be shown to the people, then the product (Glyphosate) cannot be approved for use among the people either. That is how I read the law.

The second part – the petition, has 30 updates so far, has generated almost 23,000 support, over 98% of them being Canadian. This is far and away more support than I had anticipated. For a country with a very small population of 35 million, this is an unprecedented level of support on a subject not so easy to understand and one that has not been covered by the mainstream media at all. The sheer volume of support, I suspect, has influenced my MP Carla Qualtrough, who also happens to be a federal minister, to agree to see me on April 27th for 45 minutes, so I can hand over all the documentation on the petition, which runs to over 1,000 pages, to her in a CD or a flash drive, to be taken to Ottawa and handed over the Health minister.

I asked if I might bring a delegation of six other persons, to which the Minister Qualtrough’s office that I may. The petition itself can be visited by clicking on the image below.

It has many interesting updates. One of which is a comment by India’s noted supreme court advocate Mr. Prashant Bhushan, who is representing petitioner Ms Aruna Rodrigues in her public interest litigation against the Government of India on account of GMO, where legal precedence is already set, that obliges the Government to disclose biosafety data of transgenic products to the people before the product is to be approved for release. In other words, intellectual property rights, or agreement on Confidentiality or or non-disclosure clauses cannot be used to trump public safety. Click below for that video.

My request to the Honourable minister is going to be in three parts, of which one would be to personally carry the petition documents to Ottawa and hand over same to Health Canada and to ask them to respond. The second is to have a personal talk with Prime Minister Trudeau, requesting him to drop in at the secretarial office of the UN Convention on Biodiversity, located in the same home turf of the Prime Minister, in Montreal, and to ask the staff in that office about how Canada is doing in comparison with the rest of the world with regard to Cartagena Protocol. The third is to look into ways to kick start testing of local foods in Delta, her constituency, for presence of Glyphosate.

 I have added information on a few UN platforms for Canadians in the latest update. These are:

There is also an effort on my part to convert a condensed form of the petition material and references into an interactive e-book on Apples’s iTune store and/or Amazon’s Kindle for around $3 in the next few weeks.

There are perhaps a few more updates that will go into the petition before it is closed. These might include:

  • A talk with the president of the Canadian Farmers Union
  • How to engage citizens into coaxing our Municipalities to start testing local food, water and soil, for presence of Glyphosate and to make the data public.
  • An update on the coming meeting with Minister Carla Qualtrough about this petition.

Stay tunes and feel free to add your comments below.

Thank you.

Tony

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Did Canada include Glyphosate in its study of Environmental Chemicals?

To a few scientist friends
+++++++++++++++++++
Dear friends,

I trouble you again in search of some truths or information from three reports that Health Canada (ministry of health, Canada) has published of studies on various harmful manmade environmental chemicals and how much of each has been found in humans. The studies started in 2007 for the first report, and ended with the publication of the third report in 2015.

Two of these three reports are available from Health Canada web site, and one is available by personal request made to Health Canada. I have all three of them and have been going over them repeatedly, to find if the Government considers Glyphosate to be a harmful environmental chemical (as a herbicide) and if Canadians have been tested for its presence in their body fluids.

I have found mention of other substances such as 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T, Atrazine, Dicamba, and many many other pesticides and herbicides, as well as metals such as Uranium, Lead and Arsenic. But I failed to find a single mention of Glyphosate or RoundUp.

There are mentions of organophosphates, but I am unsure if it includes Glyphosate and how much of it has been found in humans.

Ultimately, I decided to pass the three reports, the first (2007-2009), the second (2009-2011) and the third (2012-2013, published 2015) to you for some help in finding if Glyphosate is at all represented in Health Canada’s ten year study on environmental chemicals and human exposure to them.

The three reports are:

1. report-rapport-eng.pdf
2. HumanBiomonitoringReport__EN.pdf
3. chms-ecms-cycle3-eng.pdf

I would very much appreciate if any of you can advise me if these three definitive reports by Health Canada on Canadian citizen’s exposure to environmental chemicals does or does not include Glyphosate.

I wished to also pass some of these to Nancy Swanson, but since she changed her email, I am out of touch with her. Perhaps one of you will pass this to her, in case she might offer to help.

The reason I ask this is – I intend to do something about it in case Health Canada has neglected to test Glyphosate in Canadians. I do not know yet what I would do, but that would depend on if and how much these reports have or have not covered Glyphosate.

By the way, the first and the second report covers the generic topic of “pesticide” and the third, the most recent one, does not.

I apologize again for troubling you all.
I do not know where else I could go.

Thanks and best wishes
Tony Mitra


For readers – please feel free to add your comment. If you have a Facebook account, you can use that to identify yourself. No anonymous posts please.

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Activist’s handbook on RoundUp resistance

Glyphosate and RoundUp are with us for a generation. And yet, their safety test records are kept hidden from the people. As I understand law, this hiding of safety data is illegal.

So, I have one Access To Information Act ongoing with the Canadian Government, to show to me all safety test data that is should have studied before approving the use of Glyphosate in Canadian agriculture. From correspondence generated through that, I have noted that the Government acknowledges my right to see such documents and yet drags its feet on disclosing them.

I have a separate petition on change.org, to ask Health Canada and the Prime Minister to release all safety test data on Glyphosate to the people of Canada, because hiding it would be illegal if the chemical itself is in our environment.

That petition has garnered 22,000 supporters, 98% of which are Canadians. I have since written to my MP, who also happens to be a cabinet minister in our federal Government, hon Carla Qualtrough, minister of sports and disabled persons.

She agreed to see me at the end of this month and carry the documents to be handed over to our Ministry of Health.

The petition itself has many updates, and the total package would take over 1,500 pages of printed matter, not including many audio and video files. The entire collection will be given to the Minister in a Disk.

Meanwhile, the petition, its updates and comments on the updates, have been converted into an interactive audio book, which can be found in the iTunes stores. The name of the book is still Glyphosate Petition. I think it might benefit from a change of name, to something like “An activist’s handbook to RoundUp resistance.”
The link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1098801707

Further, I made a video with my 13 minute rant on the subject, which you can see here.

This book is for activists and those that want to make a difference with our Government.

  1. It is not for agro-industry scientists that wish to push voodoo science to the public without allowing independent verification of their claim.
  2. It is not for people that wish to promote the idea that all food should belong to patent holding corporations and their investors.
  3. It is not for those that wish to hang out with anti-GMO talking heads, who will speak about how bad the technology is, but will leave to us the unenviable task of confronting and challenging our Government, who allows these toxins into our food web.

It is for those of us that have done enough listening, and wish to directly involve in doing something, anything, within our means, to push back at our government.

Thanks.

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A letter to a mayor

Apr 2, 2016 — To: The Mayor Ms Luis Jackson,
Delta Corporation
April 1st, 2016 (not a prank)
Subject : Test Glyphosate in Delta’s water, soil and food.

Mayor Jackson,

Good day.

I write to you, yet again, regarding potential dangers linked with exposure  to Glyphosate for residents of Delta, and what the municipality could do.

Delta has fertile lowlands and farms. Glyphosate is the most used chemical in Canadian food production. Besides, since our town is actually in the delta of the Fraser river, and comprises of tidal mudflats and lowlands, most runoff from farms, as well as from the upland forests go through our midst. Both these regions use glyphosate, in agriculture by farmers and aerially in hilly forests by logging corporations.

In spite of being the most used toxin in Canada and the planet for a generation, safety test records and data of this weed killer are kept hidden from Canadians, possibly illegally, to protect commercial interest of the promoter.

Legal precedence is already being set in some countries, where supreme court has overruled federal Governments about keeping safety documents hidden from the people. Apparently, commercial confidentiality agreements and intellectual property rights cannot trump public safety. So, if a corporation cannot divulge safety records of its product to the public, the product itself may not be approved by the Government either.

I have two different channels of communication ongoing with the Ottawa Government about this. One of them is an online petition through change.org for the Government to disclose all safety test documents, based on which it is supposed to have approved Glyphosate for use in Canadian agriculture and environment. Link : https://www.change.org/p/minister-of-health-canada-justin-trudeau-health-canada-prove-glyphosate-is-safe

The petition has generated a large number of follow up updates with input from scientists around the world and other notables, and has over 22,000 supporters, 98% from Canada. The volume of information on the petition has crossed a thousand pages, and MP Carla Qualtrough has agreed to see me so I can present all that to her and request her to hand deliver it to the minister in Health Canada, to either place the safety documents in public domain, or inform Canadians why they do not have a right to these safety documents, or perhaps arrange a debate on the floor of our parliament about if Canadian citizens have, or do not have, a right to see first hand, all safety test data on this herbicide that has been entering our food chain in ever increasing dose for a generation.

Meanwhile for the town of Delta, and perhaps many other towns where concerned Canadians have supported this petition, there are areas where our municipal governments could actively engage, at the bottom tier of our political system, to address this issue in the following manner:
1)
Start having our food, water, and soil, tested for concentration of Glyphosate. This could not even be done just a few years ago since labs did not offer such services, especially about testing our food for Glyphosate. But this can easily be done today. Increasing number of accredited labs are offering a high quality service. And some of the labs are nearby, such as in Burnaby. This testing is legal, and reasonably easy to do for a Municipal corporation. The reason so many labs are now scrambling to offer this service, is because our Government has started a massive effort to test our food, but behind closed doors, more or less from the time World Health Organization decided to reclassify Glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.
2)
Start placing these test results online and available for any research student, scholar, scientist or concerned citizen to read, download and follow up on, should they so desire.

3)
Inform all parties, such as farmers, or loggers or nature park managers, that samples will be drawn from their areas after application of the herbicide, or when its concentration is noted to be highest, and also in off season, to get an idea of seasonal variation, and to start tracking the toxic load in regions within Delta.
4)
This data should be available to local hospitals and doctors, to check if reports of skin rashes, gastro-intestinal or auto-immune disorders, especially among children, seem to be following the rise and fall of prevalence of Glyphosate, in which case any research organization would now have some data to start working on, to investigate if some ailments might be linked to Glyphosate exposure. The municipality need not get involved in this research, but can easily and legally offer accumulated data. Why ? Because that aught to be our first line of defence against environment induced ill-health and it aught to be the duty of our town council to ensure the residents are protected from the most used and most controversial agriculture and environmental toxin in Canada.
5)
This data should also be available to wildlife research scientists that are investigating sudden population decline, unexpected mass death, skewring of sex ration in newborns, or disappearance of creatures starting from bees, birds, amphibians, herbivores and even whales.
6)
Invite volunteers to check if recommended limits of dose of glyphosate is followed by those authorized to use it, like farmers and loggers, or exceeded by anybody. I have reason to believe that application of Glyphosate is not supervised by anybody, even if the packaging warns that it is (or may be) relatively safe only if applied according to instructions and within the maximum recommended dosage limits. I believe a municipality has the right to allow citizen volunteers a right to check if such limits are maintained, even if the council cannot afford employing people to do so for them.

This is not the first time I have written to the Delta Corporation on Glyphosate and what I wished the town council to consider engaging in. This is unlikely to be my last. I wish the municipality would take this seriously.
This letter will likely be included in the petition asking Ottawa to place all safety data on Glyphosate in the public domain. The reason this letter, and others written to other politicians, will be included is that battling indiscriminate use of an untested (it remains untested as long as the tests are hidden from people) and potentially hazardous chemical will need to be challenged on multiple fronts and the people would need to engage in it directly, and apply pressure on the politicians. It is my hope that this update, which reaches all 22,000 supporters of the petition across Canada and beyond, will influence a few hundred others to also write to their respective town councils, MPs and MLAs. Even if a single politician or town ends up being the first in initiating a program to track our food, soil, water and environment for glyphosate concentration, that will amount to a kicking in of the door, a pathfinder, and a worthy achievement that others might follow.
Should Delta Corporation have an interest in discussing this further, I shall be more than happy to attend.
Looking forward to a positive response,
With good wishes
Tony Mitra, 10891 Cherry Lane, Delta, BC, V4E 3L7, Canada

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Publishing a few books

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Writing is a gift – or is it?

Somewhere down the track where we evolved from apes to hominids with a brain that could handle complex sentences and a language, the basic tools for being a speaker were hardwired in.

I am told that this change essentially distinguishes anatomically modern humans from archaic forms, and that this development is rather recent, perhaps under a hundred thousand years old.

And then, much more recently, a mere five to ten thousand years back, folks started scratching around on the sand, of the walls of their caves, to describe something or other – passing phase of the moon, or the tide, or animals that were around them. And as humans discovered pastoralism and agriculture, experienced perhaps the first population spurt, and started building their own homes and not depend on caves, they managed to figure out how to use those scratchings for record keeping and identification. Written text, or script, was on the way.

And thus, although we have not yet evolved to the point where ability to speak in a language or read and write is hardwired into our genetic construct, and we have come  some distance towards it. A normal child will automatically pick up a language without being expressly tutored, simply by being around others speaking a specific tongue. Writing or reading, unfortunately is something that a human needs to specifically learn. It does not come automatically by hanging around people, or books, or a pencil.

Nonetheless, it is perhaps a fair assumption that a lot of people around the world can read some and write some, in some language. A few fortunate ones are comfortable in two languages, and some in more than two.

And that brings me all the way to my own situation. I had mentioned I knew three languages – Bengali, which is my mother tongue, Hindi, which is India’s national language, and English, which is the language I used in my profession as well as one of the two working languages of my adopted nation – Canada.

The problem these three languages each uses its own distinct script. This means, even if I am conversant in speaking in those languages, I would need to be familiar with three distinct scripts, or letters, to be able to read or write in any of them. This can be better understood if one considers differences between European languages such as English, Spanish and French. They use the same script, with perhaps a small number of special characters in each. If one is proficient in any language, one could more or less read the other, even if he fumbled with the exact meaning of grammar of it. Not so in my case. The three languages use three different scripts. Hindi and Bengali are both derived from a common mother language – Sanskrit and fall in the same language family, and yet their script separated from each other early on, and now one needs to be totally familiar with the different scripts to be able to read a sentence.

Anyhow, I write very little in Hindi, although I did part of my early schooling in that language and my first tentative writings and childhood poems were composed in Hindi.

My later years in a different part of India in a different school system let me lose familiarity with  writing Hindi, while picking up two others – Bengali and English. Today, I can read Hindi and converse in it, but would struggle to write in it.

I type the fastest in english, but that is primarily because the computer keypad is designed for english, and adapting that keypad to other scripts has its hassles, and sometimes I have to press multiple keys to generate a single letter in Bengali, which automatically slows things down and increases chances of mistake. While I can usually type in English without looking at my fingers, I cannot do that easily for Bengali using the same keyboard.

Anyhow, I have a lot of writings done in English and Bengali. And now the time has come I feel, to start publishing some of them since self publication is reasonably easy.

Some years ago, I tried to write a novel, but it turned out to be more a musing of an opinionated immigrant that observed the world around not superficially at the surface, but using What could amount to be a maverick effort at penetration below the surface and check if what we see at the surface is sustainable, or if the root is getting rotten, or in indeed the surface is shiny but is blocking out other parts of our world intending to insert an element of romance, the guy had a Canadian girl with him as they travelled across western Canada. But it was not really up to him to write a romance, and the continuing novella turn out to be a conversation between the two, mostly covering the land, its geological transformation, and evolutionary track of the living world, including man’s involvement is it.

Nonetheless, the total writings might appear to be somewhat curious and did include musings that I believe deserve to be preserved.

Due to sheer bulk of material, the writings needed to be split into multiple volumes. The first volume, covering 133 pages, was put up today. Its sections went as follows :

Captor description : Early writings
Section 1: A vanishing world
Section 2: Missing the world of his father’s paintings
Section 3: Golden
Section 4: An universe for an anchor
Section 5: Quantum mechanics of mass hysteria
Section 6: Storm warning
Section 7: Wish I could write like them
Section 8: Miguel, the Everglades and Lovelock’s warning
Section 9: Eocene Thermal maximum in a bowl of soup
Section 10: When you are right and wrong at the same time
Section 11: Rice in the Vedas
Section 12: Autobiographic blues
Section 13: At the water’s edge
Section 14: How green was my Facebook
Section 15: Suta at the riviera
Section 16: Coffee with a giant rhynoceros
Section 17: Considering Mabel
Section 18: Overload
Section 19: A sunset, mitochondria, peat bog, and a kiss
Section 20: A few pages on a leap year day
Section 21: The ten thousand year old woman
Section 22: The vanishing Y chromosome
Section 23: Cult of Tagore
Section 24: Old woman sacrifices herself.
Section 25: Hello world

And so, I compiled these twenty five blogs into 25 sections of chapter 1 of the book. The book has only one chapter but 25 sections, and is 133 pages long.

And then I converted it into an iBook (epub) format and uploaded it in Apple store.

Next, I exported it to pdf, reimported that for kindle and uploaded it again at Kindle.

Now, I can go have a coffee and plant some more seeds.

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Minister Qualtrough agrees to a meeting

Mar 22, 2016 — Minister Carla Qualtrough has agreed to a 45 minutes meeting about this petition. I am in the process of gathering a small but potent group to to see the Minister.

Here is an email sent to a few, which explains the issue, and should serve as an update.

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Dear friends,

Here is an update on the Glyphosate issue along with a proposal, if one of you feel strongly enough to join me to meet our MP and minister Carla Qualtrough on April 1st afternoon in Delta BC.

In order to explain, I need to give the background.

Glyphosate is a toxic chemical that is the primary ingredient in the commercial weed killer brand named “RoundUp”. It is produced by Monsanto. It is by far the most used herbicide in Canadian agriculture, same as in USA and some other countries. Because it is used in agriculture, this chemical is expected to be in our food, and as such, is being found in various foods such as cereals, packaged food, milk, beef and poultry.

That Glyphosate is safe for us, is supposed to have been verified by Health Canada, before approving its use. In order to verify that, it is expected to see results of safety tests conducted on target animals exposed to this chemical. Health Canada says it has seen that, but in all the 30 years of its use in Canada (and 35 years in USA), no citizen of any country has been allowed to see these safety test data.

I have a communication ongoing with the Ministry of health, Ottawa, through Access To Information Act, demanding that the Government releases any and all safety tests it has seen that is supposed to indicate that Glyphosate is safe for animals, or give me the legal reason why it cannot show me these documents. The Government has acknowledged I have the right (as should any Canadian) to see the safety records, but is dragging its feel and finding excuses to delay the process, which started under the Harper Government and, far as I can tell, is continuing under the Trudeau Government.

Meanwhile, I have a separate online petition, asking the Canadian Govt to release all safety test documents on Glyphosate to the Canadian public. That petition has over 22,000 support signatures, 98% of whom are Canadian. Their comments, my follow up information and the list of all supporters would make over 500 pages of printed matter.


After having a string of email communication with Dr. Seralini of France, I am preparing to open a separate ‘Access To Information’ case with the Government of Canada, to check if it has at all seen any safety tests on the entire formulation of the herbicide “RoundUp” with all its ingredients, which, together, is suspected to be more dangerous than Glyphosate alone by an order of dimension, perhaps hundreds of times more dangerous.

Meanwhile, I wrote to Minister Carla Qualtrough recently about Glyphosate, about the fact that Canadians have not been able to verify if the chemical is safe, and that, according my understanding of the law (Carla is a lawyer), if the safety data of a product cannot be disclosed to the people, the product itself cannot be released either. I then asked her to grant me an audience of a half hour, where I may tell her about this petition and hand over the 500 odd page document with a request to her to consider taking that material to Ottawa and deliver it to the Minister of health, even on the floor of the parliament if need be, and ask her to either respond to the Canadian people’s demand to release the hitherto secret safety documents, or explain why Canadians do not deserve to see these safety records, or perhaps agree to a parliamentary debate over this issue.

I asked Minister Qualtrough to let me know in case she is unwilling to see me, so I can widen my search and find any MP, even an opposition one, who is willing to place this item on the floor of our Parliament for a general debate. I have reason to believe this chemical is also triggering a possible extinction of our flora and fauna through release over our forests from air, by logging companies.

I have been notified by the office of Minister Qualtrough, through email and two separate phone calls, that:
1) I may visit her office for 45 minutes on 1st April.
2) I may bring the 500 odd page document
3) I may bring a few like minded folks, if I wished.

That is the story.

I am in the process of getting a wide-ranging but small group, to come with me. I write this to you to ask if any one person (sorry, no more room) among you might feel passionate enough to accompany me.
have two noted persons that agreed to visit Delta and join me. One is Dr. Thierry Vrain, who should need no introduction here.

The other is Kenneth Young, Canadian Military veteran, advisor on chemical defoliant to Canadian and many other international institutions, Canadian Veteran Advocacy group, and strong advocate on speaker on permanent damage done to veterans through exposure to toxins starting from Agent Orange, and going on to Glyphosate. He has spoken three times at March against Monsanto events in Downtown Vancouver along with me and Thierry, and travels widely across Canada and overseas on this issue. Currently in Ottawa meeting with a Government sponsored committee to contribute in the consultation on possible policy changes needed to deal with toxic exposure and pesticides. He agreed to come to Delta on his own and join me on April 1st in this meeting and lend his voice as needed.

I also have some nature lover and passionate Delta residents wishing to join me for the meeting.

In summary, the primary object of the meeting is to highlight legality of releasing a chemical into our food web while hiding its safety record from the people, and if Canadian citizens have or do not have a right to demand public release of these documents, the volume of which I am advised by Health Canada to go beyond 130,000 pages, all of them kept secret for over a generation.

So, if there is someone here that wishes to join up, let me know. We are in the talking process to figure out how to manage the 45 minutes and who might talk on what. We are also planning a lunch or something on April 1st in Delta, prior to the meeting to iron out any issue and to present a cohesive front.

Thanks and best wishes
Tony Mitra


Material towards the online petition on public demand for disclosure of safety documents have gone so large that I am contemplating converting it all into a future e-Book for record keeping.

Meanwhile, a new blog might me done on the people that are preparing to join me for the meeting. Who they are and what they might do, etc. I will work on this next week.

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A letter to my MP, hon. Carla Qualtrough

Sending a physical mail to my MP and cabinet minister Carla Qualtrough.

It involves disclosure of safety documents on Glyphosate/RoundUp that the ministry of health in Ottawa is supposed to have studied before approval of its use in Canadian agriculture. The safety documents remain outside reach of the Canadian people.

My letter is to request her to grant me a meeting at her constituency office in our home town of Delta, BC, so I could speak to her face to face on this issue, and hand deliver to her the 500 odd pages of documents from my petition, covering over 22,000 signatories, with their comments as well as all updates from me including comments from noted scientists that have worked on this chemical.

If allowed an audience with her, I aim to express my view, and ask her to carry those documents and hand deliver to the minister of health on the floor of the parliament, and request the ministry to respond to my request that the safety data be made available to the people of Canada.

Should she decline to see me, or declines to carry the documents or present it to the ministry of health, I shall then consider myself within my rights to seek another member of parliament, further afield from my riding, including someone in the opposition, who is willing to take the matter to the floor on our parliament, and request an open debate on the topic.

A copy of this mail has also been sent by email to hon. Carla Qualtrough.


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To: Honourable Minister Carla Qualtrough
From : Tony Mitra, resident of Delta, BC
Dated: Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Subject: Safety of RoundUp herbicide, the most used toxin in Canadian agriculture

Honourable minister,

I have been involved in trying to bring to light possible toxic effects of widespread use of Monsanto’s herbicide RoundUp, with “glyphosate” as its active ingredient. It is my belief that this chemical is more dangerous in our environment that even DDT was back in the 1960s when it got banned.



However without going into details of that, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the safety test data of this product has been kept hidden from the Canadian people, on grounds that the information is proprietary and confidential. It is my belief that if the safety data of a product cannot be disclosed to the people, then the product itself should not be released either.



I have had some positive exchange with the previous Government over this issue, but it did not go far enough. I now have two different correspondence ongoing with the present Canadian Government. 

One is a “Access to information act” request for Health Canada to disclose to me all raw test data it has so far seen, before approving the use of Glyphosate in Canadian agriculture. I am told that there are over 130,000 pages of such data, but the Government needs to correspond with the groups that did the safety test to check if those data can be divulged to me.



The second is an online petition, for Prime Minister and Minister of Health to disclose all safety data on Glyphosate and help prove to the people of Canada that the substance is safe. It is my belief that the product is damaging for humans as well as a wide swath of living organisms, and that is one of the reasons the data is being kept away from public scrutiny. Over 22,000 people have signed into that petition – over 98% of whom are Canadians. The updates on that petition, the supporting material, comments and names of signatories would go into several hundred pages of printed matter.


Link : https://www.change.org/p/minister-of-health-canada-justin-trudeau-health-canada-prove-glyphosate-is-safe?



I write this letter to request you to grant me a visit where I could meet you at your Delta office, along with some more like minded Delta residents, in order to express our concern directly to you and to request you to carry the hundreds of pages of the petition data to the Minister of Health, in Ottawa.



Should you be disinclined to speak with us on this issue, I would appreciate if I could be notified accordingly, so I can start looking for Members of Parliament further away from Delta, in search of someone who might wish to take this to Ottawa.



I so wish that you would find time to see us, even if Pesticides and Health is not under your care, because status of our eco-system, biodiversity, and health of our children’s future should be everybody’s concern.

Thanking you
Tony Mitra

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