Letters to the editor – September 22, 2015

Organics inspected

On Aug. 25, there was an editorial called “Organic feed imports glitch in production guarantee.” The editorial encourages more producers to produce organically, which is an important message and we thank you for covering it.

However, there were some inaccuracies. After reading the article, it sounds to me as though there was a misconception by the authors on how the Canadian Organic Regime regulates imports, which would have misled the reader.

In order for an organic animal that has been fed imported organic grain to remain certified organic under the Canadian Organic Regime, they must be fed certified organic feed which has been certified under the Canadian Organic Products Regulations, or under the regulations of our trading partners that we have an equivalency arrangement with. This is limited to the organic regulations in the EU, the U.S., Switzerland, Japan, and Costa Rica.

For an animal in Canada to be fed an imported organic grain, the producer in Canada must be under the oversight of a certification body, which is accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  The imported organic agricultural product may be certified to the Canadian Organic Standards or be certified in accordance with an equivalency arrangement.

Where an equivalency arrangement is in place, organic products would be certified by a certification body accredited by that country and recognized by Canada. Therefore, it is true that imported grain can come from other countries, but they must be certified to either the Canadian, American, European, Swiss, Japanese or Costa Rican regulation, which means oversight and guarantee by those countries, and not by the country of origin as stated in your article.

Your article also states that, “In Canada, it’s up to the manufacturers to certify feed organic, but it is not possible to verify organic practices in countries where corruption is manifest”. This statement is also incorrect, as it is not the manufacturer who certifies the feed organic, but rather a certification body that is audited and regulated by Canada, the U.S., the EU, Switzerland, Japan or Costa Rica.

It is also not only possible but mandatory that this third party audit inspection occurs on at least an annual basis.

Becky Lipton
Edmonton, AB

Is port a lost cause?

Recently Omnitrax, the owner of the Port of Churchill, said it was closing the port.

How could we have come to this, where a private company can dictate to farmers — and essentially to the whole nation — that a port outlet would be closed because of their financial needs?

Does anyone consider the benefits farmers receive when shipping through Churchill? Who is looking out for their needs and their financial considerations? How about the financial needs of all the communities and businesses serviced by that northern rail line and port?

The media has overlooked who caused his problem. It was the Harper government and former Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who caused this problem by destroying the Canadian Wheat Board.

The CWB had a mandate to maximize revenue to farmers, which is why it used Churchill to ship farmers’ grain. Most years the CWB shipped 90 percent of the grain that went out of Churchill because it made more money for farmers.

With the death of the CWB, the Port of Churchill dies too. Since none of the grain company oligarchs own the port, they would rather use their own terminals, where they can make more money.

Ritz and his Western Canadian Wheat Growers shills knew the port would die, so they bribed the grain companies with $9 per tonne incentive to ship grain through Churchill as a short-term cover-up after they killed the CWB in 2011.

With the incentive ending soon and Ritz out of power, the grain companies, and specifically Omnitrax, decided to pull the pin on the port. With the big grain companies refusing to use Churchill, one can’t necessarily blame Omnitrax for shutting the port down.

How does this fit with our national agricultural and transportation policy. Oh yeah, we don’t have one.

What about our sovereignty of the North? Now we don’t even control our only northern deep-water port and soon we won’t even have one.

If one looks who to blame for this wreck, one can clearly target the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba Tory governments, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers, SARM, The Hudson Bay Route Association, and APAS for not opposing the Harper government in its destruction of the CWB.

Everyone was told of the lost economic opportunities if this happened, and the loss of the Port of Churchill is only one of them.

As the Saskatchewan minister of agriculture said, maybe Churchill is a lost cause. I would say the only lost cause is our farm leaders.

Eric Sagan
Melville, Sask


Stories from our other publications