Saving seed should be a right, not a privilege

Person holding grains of wheat in hand.
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Why should there be a law giving us a privilege now when for thousands of years this was a right that no one questioned? That is downgrading that right and the first step to taking it away.

Will the next omnibus bill grant us the privilege to eat breakfast and the one after that grant the privilege to breath?

Bill C-18 (the Agricultural Growth Act) uses the word “privilege” (Section 5.3 in the amendments to the Plant Breeders Rights Act) for farmers to save and clean their own seed. Privilege is the wrong word to use as a privilege is easily revoked. A “right,” however, is not so easily taken away. We do not see the grain developers getting any “privileges.” They are to be given “rights.”

It should be the right of all Canadians to grow, keep, store, clean, sell and trade their own seed.

For many years now the large seed companies have been trying to control all of the world’s seed, the ones they have developed and common seed. This is very wrong.

The first people to come to Canada came with small bags of seed to grow and to share with other farmers — and have since given Canada one of its biggest industries. The world knows that Canada is a source of safe, top-quality agricultural products. Now is not the time — nor will it ever be the time — for governments to restrict the farmers from doing their best to maintain this reputation and increase the industry.

Do not put the agriculture industry at risk, but keep it free to grow. Making complicated laws will only put the whole industry at risk and tie up the court system.

Bill C-18 should be amended to give farmers the “inalienable right” to keep, clean, store, use and sell their own seed.

If the seed developers want to restrict the seed that they have developed, that is up to them. But leave heritage seeds alone and let the farmers choose which seeds they want to use.

Dale and Donna Pope
Pope Family Organic Farm & Supplies, Ryley

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