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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