Letters to the editor – January 23, 2014



Re: Northern Gateway pipeline approved by Canada’s National Energy Board, www.mining.com.

Another oil spill. We all know that it will happen. It’s only a matter of time?

Is this what we can look forward to: “It has been reported by news media that Enbridge did not plan for a major oil spill as it was ‘unlikely’ that an accidental surface or sub-surface oil spill would occur.

“However, regardless of plans, a Northern Gateway pipeline leak has been discovered in a pristine area of northern British Columbia.

“It has been called a recipe for a crisis and that an ecological disaster is looming. Unlikely as it may have seemed at the time, the inexcusable has happened and now there is one more catastrophic oil rupture and spill that people are struggling to deal with.

“And who knows what the future is for the coastal shorelines and the environmental impacts in the threatened area of the river delta?

“… This disaster was an undertaking by humans and allegations have been raised that an improper welding process may have been a contributing factor and compromised a safety feature. Investigations are presently underway to establish the cause and until that has been determined, the transfer of bitumen has been suspended.

“There have been calls for a full public inquiry. Let us hope that there are many valuable lessons to be gained from this grim and tragic event, and let us hope that countries and all governments recognize that exploration/drilling for oil, mining, etc. must include all risk factors that could be destructive and detrimental to our world environment, our water sources and all the creatures that share this earth with us humans.”

Now would be an excellent and opportune time to re-write the book on taking care and protection of our planet from the devastation of events that we are now witness to. A role, perhaps for the United Nations Assembly to consider and implement…

Until you know the harm you are causing or could be causing, it is best to avoid such action. The consequences are far too devastating to ignore. This constant economic greed will leave a shameful footprint that mankind will not be able to erase….

John Fefchak,
Virden, Man.


News articles and opinions will keep adding up over the weeks on the not-so-strong Conservative leadership of prime minister Stephen Harper. My only hope in this saga for his succession is that Harper will make a great move towards the people in need before leaving.

The death of Nelson Mandela reminded us of Brian Mulroney’s huge contribution to end apartheid in South Africa.

Wouldn’t it be great to also remember Stephen Harper for something huge, like maybe being the world leader in the fight against poverty, here in Canada and around the world?


It would be quite a turnover, I must agree, but it was also quite a turnover for Mulroney to stand against apartheid over 20 years ago.

Bruno Marquis,
Gatineau, Que.


Thank you for profiling the recent stop on the GE-Free B.C. tour in Lethbridge, “North America called out of step with rest of world on GM food” by Barb Glen (WP, Jan. 2).

I have not attended any of these events so I can only rely on Barb Glen’s reporting for a portrayal of the mistruths shared on this tour. And I have no reason to believe Glen’s reporting is anything but accurate.

It is too bad those of us who have different viewpoints on how farmers grow food cannot find a way to engage in dialogue rather than combative discourse. Alternatively, why not ask farmers why they make the choices they do?

I have had the honour of meeting many farmers in my 30-year career in agriculture and I have yet to meet a single farmer who is out to do anything but manage a profitable farming business — whether they grow an organic, conventional or GM crop — while growing a healthy, safe and abundant crop. All this while sustainably protecting their land for future generations.

I know I will continue to make the choice to defend the farmer’s right to make safe, regulated and approved choices that work for them on their land.

And I will continue to share positive messages about farmers and agriculture and the work they do to feed you and me.

Generating fear is easy. Fighting for the right to the truth is much harder.

Trish Jordan
public and industry affairs
director, Monsanto Canada Ltd.,
Winnipeg, Man.


This last summer was very dry. My well failed me for water for the first time ever. I figure it is because we keep more stock and do more things with water than before.

I had to put in a new well here at Pleasant Farm. I called for a quote and the well driller from the area said a well in Fernwood would be easy to do. He said he never had to drill beyond 80 feet.

When the job got done, he ended up drilling 180 feet to hit water. He was most apologetic and couldn’t understand what happened.


Here in greater metro Fernwood there were already three deep water wells. All were being used daily. Two are for irrigation of potato land and one is in the industrial park.

I realize this is not hard scientific evidence that the water table is losing critical mass, but I certainly wonder if there is a correlation.

I am concerned that if (P.E.I. premier) Robert Ghiz lifts the moratorium on deep water wells for irrigation of potato land, then more people and industry that need water may not be able to get it. Moreover, if it turns into a drilling competition to secure water, how deep will my next well have to be? The last one nearly broke me. I am opposed to deep water well irrigation.

Ranald MacFarlane,
Fernwood, P.E.I.


(Agriculture minister) Mr. (Gerry) Ritz claims he is working for the farmer, but all of his actions and bills he brings to Parliament are benefitting multinationals and chemical companies, taking power and wealth out of farmers’ hands.

He must not be allowed to gain approval of his Bill C-18 for expanded plant breeders’ rights. No private company should make money from a staple such as seed that feeds the world population.

The world population benefits from plant improvements so the whole population should pay for seed development business, such as we had before the Conservatives came in under Brian Mulroney and now Stephen Harper.

The multinational grain companies make money from handling grain volumes. If they can pressure the government to allow lower quality, higher yielding wheat to be grown, that is more money in their pockets and that is their main aim in promoting the plant breeders’ rights bill.

We have high quality wheats recognized throughout the world. They don’t yield as much as lower quality wheats, but we have a higher value market for them.

Now we will see that we will be producing more bushels, but we are in the same market as everybody else and won’t be able to sell into a higher market and gain more value, and quite likely won’t be able to sell it all unless the bottom gets knocked out of the price.

Mr. Ritz claims that farmers will still be able to save seed and plant it next year, but that is in direct contradiction to the bill he is proposing.

Talk to your MPs and MLAs so they will be able to see what is being proposed and defeat this proposed bill. Mr. Ritz is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Bernie von Tettenborn,
Round Hill, Alta.


John Fefchak,

  • Re: Fight for truth by Trish Jordan. I attended the GE-free tour in Calgary. Dr. Vrain’s presentation was based on scientific facts and verifiable information.
    Stop misleading the farmers into believing you are concerned with their best interests. False information and propaganda only works for awhile. Your products are ruining the soil systems, forcing farmers into the trap of using more and more expensive chemicals in a futile attempt to control the RR resistant weeds.
    As far as feeding world…. you are only feeding your bottom line