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4-Patents: 180,000 Canadians ask Government to stop the patenting of seeds



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TITLE:  DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE PETITION IS DELIVERED TO PARLIAMENT
        180,000 CANADIANS ASK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO STOP THE PATENTING
        OF SEEDS
SOURCE: Canadian Catholic Organization for DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, Canada
        http://www.devp.org/testA/news/communiquesaaav-a.html
DATE:   Nov 21, 2002

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE PETITION IS DELIVERED TO PARLIAMENT
180,000 CANADIANS ASK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO STOP THE PATENTING OF SEEDS

TORONTO / 21 November 2002 – As International Trade Minister Pierre 
Pettigrew tours Africa on a mission to promote trade as the key to solving 
Africa's problems, 63 boxes containing 180,000 petition postcards addressed 
to him were delivered to Parliament Hill today urging the federal 
government to take a public stand against the patenting of living 
organisms, especially seeds.

The petitions are part of a Canada-wide campaign organized by the Canadian 
Catholic Organization for DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE (CCODP).

The patenting issue affects small-scale farmers in the African countries 
the Canadian mission will visit. These farmers' right to food security is 
threatened by World Trade Organization negotiations on intellectual 
property rights that could allow the patenting of life forms, including the 
seeds that traditional farmers have developed over generations. Canada's 
stand against the patenting of life forms could make a difference for these 
farmers.

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE President Roger Dubois said today that Mr. Pettigrew 
has repeatedly rebuffed efforts in recent months to allow CCODP to meet 
with him to accept delivery of the petition. Because of this several 
opposition MPs have undertaken to "symbolically table” the petition in the 
House of Commons during the coming weeks.

CCODP hopes that delivering the petition – both symbolically, to the House 
of Commons, and literally, to the parliamentary mail room – will encourage 
the federal government to announce publicly that it opposes patenting life. 
Mr. Dubois said that he was very grateful to opposition party MPs for 
"their efforts to defend Canadian citizens’ democratic right to be heard on 
this issue.”

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE says the concept of international property rights 
should not be applied to matters that are essential to human kind, such as 
farmers’ right to own the seeds they use. CCODP fears that trade 
negotiations being conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and 
International Trade could undermine efforts by other government officials, 
such as International Cooperation Minister Susan Whelan, to develop 
agricultural initiatives in developing countries.

Canada is one of the four chief negotiators at a World Trade Organization 
meeting on international property rights in Geneva next Monday, November 
25, 2002, involving the WTO’s TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual 
Property Rights) Council. The other chief negotiators are Japan, the U.S., 
and the European Union. The Canadian representative is Catherine Dickson of 
the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Mr. Dubois said that an estimated 1.4 billion people in the world depend on 
farm-saved seeds for their livelihoods. "For centuries these seeds have 
been freely saved, exchanged and sold. The WTO’s TRIPS agreement currently 
endangers farmers rights to continue these practices,” he said.

Patents have already been taken out on the five main food crops: rice, 
wheat, maize, soya and sorghum. Six multinational corporations, Aventis, 
Dow, DuPont, Mitsui, Monsanto and Syngenta control almost 70% of these 
patents.

"Farmers who grow patented crops may have to sign contracts and pay 
royalties to the patent holder to use their seeds,” Mr. Dubois said, "thus 
jeopardizing their livelihoods by restricting their traditional right to 
save, use, exchange and sell their seeds.”

Many farmers have already been sued in the U.S. and Canada for using farm-
patented seeds.

- 30 -

Source :
Jack Panozzo - Toronto +1-416-922-1592, # 222
jack.panozzo@devp.org
FranÁois Gloutnay - +1-514-257-8711, # 318
francois.gloutnay@devp.org

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE
10 St. Mary Street, Suite 420
Toronto, Ontario
CANADA M4Y 1P9
Telephone: (+1-416) 922-1592
Fax: (+1-416) 922-0957
E-Mail: ccodp@devp.org



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