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Thursday
Sep122013

Please stop the introduction of GM alfalfa in Ontario

September 12, 2013

Letter to the Ontario Premier Hon Kathleen O. Wynne, Premier

To: Hon Kathleen O. Wynne, Premier
Re: Please stop the introduction of GM alfalfa in Ontario
Date: Thursday 12 September 2013

Cc: Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario NDP
Cc: Tim Hudak, Leader of the Official Opposition

Dear Premier Wynne,

As a resident and farmer of Ontario, I am writing to you to ask you to take action to stop the introduction of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa in our province.

I strongly support the two farmers who are asking for an environmental assessment of GM herbicide tolerant alfalfa in Ontario and I share their concerns.

GM alfalfa will contaminate our environment, farmers’ fields and our food. I don’t want to eat it and I don’t want farmers to have to struggle with this living pollution.

Alfalfa is an important part of farming in Ontario, and an important part of producing many of the foods we eat.

Please take action to protect our environment, farmers and all consumers from this unnecessary GM product.

I look forward to your reply. Thank you for your action.

Sincerely,

Janet Creasy
Cedarstone Acres
RR # 2 Odessa
ON
K0H 2H0
cedarstone.acres@gmail.com
www.cedarstoneacres.com

Thursday
Oct252012

Letter - One Million Pounds of Beef by Neil Peacock, NFU Board Member Region 8

October 2012

Please note this is a letter written by a fellow farmer and like ourselves is horrified by the waste of life.  We want you to read Neil Peacock's letter written to the National Farmer's Union (NFU)

"To the editor,

On the morning of October 22, I woke up, made coffee turned on the TV to my favorite news channel. The first thing I saw was the story on the landfill at Brooks, Alberta and the truckloads of meat being dumped and buried there.

My first reaction was shock as to what a million pounds of beef is in terms of volume. Then it brought a tear to my eyes as I realized what it really meant. It meant that nearly 1333 head of cattle were wasted, and some of those wasted animals could have been ones that I raised.

As a rancher I have a social contract with my animals. I provide feed, water and shelter to them and in turn they provide their young to feed Canadians. As part of the contract I am to be humane to them, not to abuse them or mistreat them, to care for them if they are ill, to provide assistance if they need it during birth and above all, to ensure their young are cared for and that their short lives are not wasted.

Now through an act of man’s greed these some 1333 lives were wasted. These were living beings that gave their lives to nurture us  --  not to be dumped as garbage into landfills. 

We have a moral responsibility to ensure we do not mistreat or waste these animals. They deserve better. Canadians must get involved and demand accountability for this wanton waste and demand our food system be restructured so that no more XL’s occur. Write your MLA, MPP, MP and County and City councilors and demand change  -- and demand to be part of that change. And yes please light a candle and place it in your window for those 1333 wasted lives."

Neil Peacock

Tuesday
Aug242010

August 10, 2010 - Observations from behind the Prison Farm bus - almost

Observations from behind the Prison Farm bus  - almost

I was one of the protesters involved in the blockades at Frontenac Prison Farm, a last ditch effort to stop the sale of the Heritage Dairy Herd.  I tried to block the transports but was not arrested, I came close.. as news photos and videos indicated, but failed the cause so to speak.  Friends and I ran behind the police lines in a doomed attempt to stall the first transport as it left the grounds. I am sorry to say that we were unsuccessful.

I have learned a lot since I have become involved with the Save the Prison Farm campaign.  As a farmer, I wanted to see the land remain Class 1 farmland used for agriculture.  As I learned more, I came to see how inmates earned the right to work on the farms, how they learned responsibility, and developed work ethics and most importantly learned empathy for other beings. I learned about rehabilitation from a man who came through the system and out the other side, a better man.  My hat is off to Mr. Leeman for his willingness to share the lessons he has learned.

I also learned the sad realities of this campaign.  I learned my MP did not listen, nor did he participate in the many meetings and events.  In fact, silence and avoidance seem to become the norm.  I tried to speak to him at his levee in January. Twice his assistant blocked me before I had a brief chance to speak directly to the man.  Was it because I sat with other farmers, clear supporters of the Save the Prison Farm campaign?   Naïvely I expected courtesy and some of his time for this very important issue.  I voted for him - what a shock to learn that he would not; or perhaps could not give this campaign the time and attention it deserved.  I am ashamed on his behalf for not representing my rural riding. Shame on him for his silence and lack of support for farmers, the lack of support for local agri-business and all the interconnections we share.  It is shamefully for our elected representative to ignore the value of our food supply and food security.  I freely admit I will not knowingly purchase food from China or from many other countries - because the quality controls we expect from Canada is not globally consistent and terrible things have happened and will continue to do so. I am a huge supporter of the local food movement.

The loss of the prison farm program is a tragedy.  There are so many reasons, and we (all of us in the campaign) have tried repeatedly to get the message to our government and elected officials.  This is bigger than Kingston; this is a national issue.  Yet debates were squashed in a heavy-handed and dismissive way, much the way some of us were treated by the over-the-top response by the police on Monday August 9th.  SHAME on so many levels - the response to control a peaceful demonstration was excessive and demeaning to all involved including the city of Kingston and our government.  I had not realized we lived in a police state - I thought that intelligent logical debates and conversations had a place in this society.  Instead, foolish arguments were presented with little or no data to support the dribble being given to the public.  Our government handled the prison farm issue badly and should be completely ashamed. I have never been an activist, but by god, this sure makes me want to shout from the rooftops about how disappointed I have become. 

My husband and I operate a small old-fashioned farm.  We will continue to farm our land and feed our customers and ourselves with food grown and raised in a transparent, humane and ethical fashion.  Customers are encouraged to ask how we do things and why do we do what we do.  We appreciate that they are interested in where their food comes from.  We truly appreciate their support of our efforts.  We believe this helps make our business practices transparent.  I am not ashamed to discuss the difference between our opinion and someone else's.  We stand to be better farmers and care-takers of our land for learning new ideas.  In case I am not clear enough, let me state unequivocally, the Conservative government appears non-transparent, irresponsible and unwilling to listen to rational debate over topics that concern the public.  Many of the very things they promised but did not deliver. 

I am one very disappointed person.  I expect my elected government to listen to my concerns, give of their time and help do the right thing, even if it is not the right thing according to others.  This is supposed to be a democracy - well as one of our chants suggested: if "THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE "- I am not impressed!

Sincerely
Janet Creasy

Wilton, ON

 



Thursday
Aug052010

August 5, 2010 - our letter to Mr. Scott Reid our MP

Dear Mr Reid

Your recent customer satisfaction survey - came at a very poor time.  You mailed directly to my name - asking if I am happy -and the short answer is "I AM NOT HAPPY"!!  If your staff would recall why my name is likely on your mailing list it is because of the prison farm issue.  My husband and I have called and emailed and have written letters to you about our concern.  Your little survey shows absolutely no respect to those of us telling you the closure of the prison farms is IMPORTANT to us, because you failed to mention this item on the survey. 

Tell me how can you ignore us - you must realize that this will cost you - I strongly doubt you will be reelected - certainly we will not be your supporters.  You should have attended the meetings you were invited to.  You should have cared enough to learn why so many people with varied backgrounds believe this is wrong.

  • The Conservative government insulted farmers by the declaration there is no value in the skills needed in farming.  You suggest that those released will never work on a farm - that may be true, but how many courses did you take at high school, college or university that now do not apply to what you do currently? I don't use Latin in my day to day life, but the knowledge learned has helped in my careers. 
  • You will never save $4M because the cost to out-source to a middle man will quickly lose any possible chance of saving dollars.  Why should the prison not work to help feed themselves?  Have you not paid any attention to the MERX tender for milk for three prisons - close to $1M - I can not fathom how the government cannot do the math and see this will cost - what a thoughtless argument and shame on everyone for thinking we are so foolish to believe that $4M will be saved - yet millions can be spent on small ferry port in BC that will never see much use... and the list could go on.
  • Why would you not want to jump on the "green bandwagon"?  Use these farms to partner with local communities and all levels of government - be a showcase of how new programs can make Canadian farms be more efficient and support local food movements.
  • Take the opportunity to make this a demonstration place for cities and city children to learn that milk comes from cows, as does beef, eggs from chickens etc.  Viewing areas could be created, so schools could learn what farms provide and why farms are still needed to feed people.
  • The loss of business dollars to our Kingston community is huge - have you forgotten how widespread agri-business and the off shoots are in a community?  I stand to lose my suppliers because they will be losing a large portion of their customer base.
  • I have not mentioned the rehabilitative impact - this is supposed to be a corrections service, not just a punishment system - pay attention to the re-offend rates - you apparently will be surprised to discover that the people who work on the farms learn the value of work, and responsibility to other living things. Empathy is critical to help people stand in some one else's shoes.
  • This land is the best in the area - it should never be lost as farmland - we want our government to stop the loss of farmland - where or when will there ever be a chance to have prime farmland in the middle of a city?  In the future the food will have to be sourced closer to the people - this land is prime agricultural and should remain as agricultural.
  • Not to mention that fact a green space is good for everyone including the chemical plant that is nearby and therefore the farmland provides a buffer zone.

Mr. Reid - please step up to the plate and listen to your constituents - act now to encourage the Prime Minister and Mr Toews to stop this foolish plan.

sincerely
Janet L Creasy

Thursday
Aug052010

August 5, 2010 - Information on the Save Our Prison Farms campaign

Hello,

As many of you know we feel very strongly about working to save the prison farms.  We continue to write and call. 

We are passing this message along and ask for your help.  

For more information on this campaign, check out the web site  www.saveourprisonfarms.ca

We also have written about this topic and and you will find information on this web site.

Please help spread the word.

thank you
Jan & Rick

Hello, prison farm supporters,  

1. Auction Sale Re-scheduled, Cattle to be moved this weekend OLEX has re-scheduled the dairy herd sale for 11 am on Tuesday, August 10, at their facility near Waterloo, Ontario.  Rather than a video sale, as previously announced, it wil be a live sale -- that is, they plan to move the cattle out of Frontenac Institution before the sale, taking them to Waterloo for Tuesday's sale.  We think they will move the cattle Sunday and/or Monday.   So, we are setting up the COWS trailer again on Friday.  Please call Aric at 546-0869 to sign up for a shift and watch the website for available spaces in the schedule.   We plan to set up a blockade on Sunday, starting around noon.  We need everyone to be there, to make the strongest possible statement about our support  for the prison farms.  Anyone attending will be able to choose the level of participation they are comfortable with -- from actively blocking cattle trucks to standing nearby as a witness or supporter to the demonstration to bringing food and water for participants.   We may need to blockade on Monday as well, so please consider how you can re-arrange your schedule to allow you to participate.   Should the sale proceed, we plan to have prison farm supporters there to inform people that the sale is controversial, and that major farm organizations in Ontario and across Canada endorsed our postion that the prison farms should remain open.  More details later.   Please continue to call Larry Witzel, OLEX general manager (1-800-265-8818), to ask him to withdraw his company from this sale.  Remind him that this sale is controversial and that all the major farm groups in Ontario, as well as national organizations, support the retention of the prison farm program.  Be polite, and non-threatening.  Leave a message on his machine if he is not available.  


There is further information below on the following topics:  

2. Urgent -- flood the PM's office with phone calls, emails and letters 3. Online Declaration calling on the PM to restore democracy in Canada 4. Umbrella left at City Park 5. a couple of interesting URLs         2. Urgent -- flood the PM's office with phone calls, emails and letters   It seems that Minister Toews is adamant that the herd will be sold and the farm program ended.  So, while pressure on him should continue, it is urgent that we flood the PM's office with emails, phone calls, faxes and letters.   Contact Prime Minister Harper, in one or more of these ways: phone: 1-866-599-4999 (ask for the Office of the Prime Minister)

fax: 1-613-941-6900 or email  pm@pm.gc.ca 

or letter:               Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.,Prime Minister of Canada, Room 313-S, Centre Block,                             House of Commons,  Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0A6

Suggested focus: economic arguments: the green technology possibilites and other innovations proposed to CSC Commissioner Don Head, and Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews earlier this month; loss of almost $1million business for farm suppliers in the KIngston-Belleville region; higher costs of outsourcing the milk and eggs now produced on the farm, plus other points you want to express to the PM.

  Contact Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, phone: 1-613-992-3128 fax: 1-613-995-1049 email toews.v@parl.gc.ca letter to House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6   similar arguments  

3. Online Declaration calling on the PM to restore democracy in Canada   There is an online declaration, very relevant to the prison farm campaign, that individuals and groups can sign by going to www.voices-voix.ca Below are the opening sentences of the declaration, to give you a sense of its content:   "Since 2006 the Government of Canada has systematically undermined democratic institutions and practices, and has eroded the protection of free speech, and other fundamental human rights. It has deliberately set out to silence the voices of organizations or individuals who raise concerns about government policies or disagree with government positions..."  

4. Umbrella left at City Park   Someone left an umbrella on a picnic table at City Park, following the civil disobedience workshop held there July 29.  Let me know if it belongs to you.   5. a couple of interesting URLs   an article quoting Vic Toews justifying "the tough on crime agenda" (aka "stupid on crime")  It also quotes Craig Jones from the John Howard Society, with an alternative view. http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2010/07/31/14889356.html   a companion to Toews' comments on rising violent crime -- a Statistics Canada report from July 2010, on falling crime rates: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/100720/dq100720a-eng.htm

Thank you for your continuing support and interest.  We had about 100 people at the workshop last Thursday night in City Park, and people are asking to be added to our email list and phone tree every day.  The information table in front of Tara Foods was very successful in spreading the word, gathering donations, and bolstering supporter confidence that the community agrees with our campaign.   Remember to contact your family members and friends in other parts of Canada, asking them to support the cause through letters, emails, phone calls to the PM or Minister Toews-- the government needs to realize this is more than a Kingston-only issue.  Ask them to contact their MP (especially if the MP is Conservative), Mr. Harper and Mr. Toews, to express disagreement with the decision to close the prison farms. Tell them about our website www.saveourprisonfarms.ca for more information on the issue.   Attached is the brief our campaign presented to CSC Commissioner Don Head on July 9.  You may find it useful in contacting politicians and media.   Keep up the pressure -- every voice counts!

Sincerely, the Save Our Prison Farms campaign