Tuesday, February 24, 2009
NAFTA - Obama needs to stiffen spine...And More
President needs to stiffen spine
by Linda McQuaig
The beaming face of Barack Obama – whether surveying adoring fans on
Parliament Hill or bestowing on Ottawa shopgirls an experience they
can dine out on for the rest of their lives – was oddly reminiscent of
Hugh Hefner's line about feeling like a kid in the world's biggest
Ottawa may seem more like Canadian Tire than a candy store, but one
could well imagine Obama thinking: And they pay me for doing this?
Obama clearly loves the crowds, which is not surprising since he came
to power riding a wave of popular support. He's methodically
cultivated that, with personal charisma but also with a populist
message that's resonated with tens of millions of people, including
here in Canada. He's talked of "spreading the wealth," about reviving
worker and labour rights and about a "common good."
After decades of a virulent form of capitalism, in which powerful
corporate and financial interests have shaped public policy to their
own advantage, Obama has offered the first real whiff of change.
The thousands who braved the cold for hours on Parliament Hill weren't
there to show their support for deeper Canada-U.S. integration – the
agenda of the our financial elite. They were there because Obama's
message is the first sign of a possible breakthrough in dealing with
the world's two foremost crises, the global economic meltdown and
climate change, both products of the unregulated capitalism of recent
In this sense, Obama's appeal crosses national lines. His insistence
on putting climate change on the agenda has the support of Canadians,
even though it risks slowing down oil sands development and reducing
revenues here in Canada.
Or take NAFTA. Commentators have tried to whip up fears he wants to
reopen the deal, suggesting this could damage Canada-U.S. trade. But
NAFTA isn't just about trade. It's about enhancing corporate rights,
often at the expense of workers and communities, which is why it's
always been more precious to corporate interests than to the public.
Obama has talked about strengthening labour and environmental
protections in NAFTA and even ending the right of foreign companies to
sue governments for taking regulatory actions that protect citizens
but interfere with corporate profits in the process. (That's the
section of NAFTA that has allowed Dow Chemical to challenge a Quebec
law banning the pesticide 2-4D.) Why wouldn't we want to revisit all
The real question is whether Obama can deliver. His bank bailout
package, in which the U.S. is squandering billions without getting
control of deviant U.S. banks, suggests there may be a courage
problem. Certainly he's got to shed some of his illusions about the
possibility of winning over enemies.
He can't satisfy the masses who love him and also satisfy the people
responsible for the disastrous agenda of the last 25 years.
Franklin Roosevelt came to understand that. When he introduced his
second New Deal in 1936, he unabashedly ran against what he called
"the old enemies of peace – business and financial monopoly,
speculation, reckless banking ... Never before in all our history have
these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today.
They are unanimous in their hate for me – and I welcome their hatred."
It's hard to imagine the smiling guy who bought Beavertails in Bytown
last week welcoming anyone's hatred. But then, give him time. He's
only a few weeks into the job.
Linda McQuaig's column appears every other week. firstname.lastname@example.org
February 24, 2009
Local is better when it comes to food farming
by Rob O'Flanagan
Urban farming is about to take root in Guelph.
The practice of SPIN (small plot intensive farming) is becoming more
popular across North America, as the demand for locally grown, organic
food increases. Backyard Bounty, a new Guelph company, plans to bring
the concept here, and will sow vegetable crops this spring on a number
of under-used garden plots and converted lawns in the city.
City officials are collaborating on the enterprise, helping to find
surplus land in the community for an operation that will initially
grow a variety of vegetables for sale to local restaurants and
markets, according to Shannon Lee Stirling, the project's co-
"We have a number of restaurants and chefs who are really interested
in the idea," Stirling said. "Local has become such a big issue. We
have people going out to restaurants who want to know where their food
is coming from. They want local for so many reasons."
More people are beginning to understand the importance of buying food
produced locally, she said. Champions of urban farming say locally
grown fruits and vegetables are fresher and tastier than food that
travels great distances from its source.
Food purchased soon after harvest contains more nutrients. Fostering
strong local food production significantly reduces the carbon
emissions associated with the transportation of food.
Karen McKeown is the technician for the City of Guelph's Healthy
Landscape program. Converting lawns into gardens, she said, is both
good for the environment and an excellent way to boost the
availability of fresh produce.
"We are in discussions with Backyard Bounty about using some city-
owned land to help them out with their project," she said, adding that
using the lawns around the city's wellhouses is one option.
"They are going to be putting in gardens that is functional and yet
will still look really nice in your own yard," McKeown said. "It is a
great way for homeowners to get rid of parts of their lawns that are
So far, Backyard Bounty has lined up about 10 yards of varying sizes
for the project. They are actively seeking other yards and plots of
land for the enterprise. The plan is to share part of the profits from
the sale of the crop with landowners, as well as up to 10 per cent of
the harvest. The operation is completely organic, with no pesticides
or chemical fertilizers used.
"I think it's really important that people are getting connected to
their food, knowing where it is coming from and knowing that it's not
being shipped long distances and converting fossil fuels into carbon
emissions in the process," Stirling said. "When we are using yards to
grow food instead of lawns, you don't have to use lawn mowers that are
using energy. We are not wasting energy trying to maintain manicured
Melissa Watkins is with FarmStart, a Guelph-based organization
dedicated to getting young people started in farming. She said urban
farming is a good training ground for future farmers.
"I think urban farming offers an amazing opportunity, with the growth
of the food movement in general, and an awareness of where our food
comes from," Watkins said. "Our biggest environmental choices are
around what we eat. I don't think this is a trend that is going to go
If you have land that Backyard Bounty can use, call Shannon Lee
Stirling at 519-803-2539, or email at
Tuesday February 24th, 2009
The Bugle Observer
We need to buy local
Falls Brook Centre is beginning a Buy Local – Buy Organic campaign.
By this we mean doing your buying for whatever it is within the region
from local producers where possible. We also mean be aware of poisons
and things that harm our atmosphere and thus ourselves. Being aware of
choices that reduce our use of fossil fuels, whether plastics or
contaminated foods with herbicides and pesticides that get into our
bodies and cause illness, cancer and other ailments that are
increasing probably because of our accumulations of these things.
We are living in a globalized era, where exporting things is the
primary goal, the way to get rich. Often we import the same things
back again just more refined.
We send logs over to the U.S. and buy 2X4s back again. Guess who makes
the most money?
But there is another cost. The transportation costs of moving that
item back and forth. The greenhouse gases, the fossil fuel causing
climate change and wars, the military industrial machine that keeps
everyone using all our taxpayers dollar to fight and kill people and
make them our enemies in far away places. This is the entire
globalized world, the export world, this is what it is all for, to
keep weapons moving and wars running and protecting our sources of
Let's try, each of us, to move more towards buying and supporting
local efforts, not exporting, resisting imported if possible. Let's
ask for resources to go to getting our own act together for the
future. Finding out what this province can support, distribute and
manage. Our ecological footprint.
We are pouring millions, indeed trillions, of taxpayer's dollars
around the world to rescue the very people who have abused trust and
right behaviour. We are rewarding them. We are rewarding bankers and
stockbrokers, failing industries, industries that have pushed
extraction to the utmost, industries that have driven consumer goods
to a ridiculous level. Huge trucks, cars and items have to make way
for cleaner leaner times.
Forestry is over as we know it, yet they refuse to acknowledge that
and demand that we the taxpayer prop them up time and time again,
because their ideas and products are not competitive in the global
marketplace unless we subsidize them.
We need some protectionism, we need conservation and we need some
Falls Brook Centre
February 23, 2009
New Haven Independent
Lawns’ll Be “Greener” In Branford
by Marcia Chambers |
In a unanimous decision, the Board of Selectmen last week adopted a
resolution asking town residents to voluntarily give up pesticides and
chemical fertilizers in favor of organic care for their lawns.
In what many say is a major environmental step, the board asked
residents to do what the town is already doing at the Green and at its
parks and ballfields: Use organic products for various turfs.
In an interview, Dr. Jerry Silbert of Watershed Partnership Inc., said
that Branford joins Milford, Plainfield and Greenwich in asking
residents to make the switch. Cheshire is in the process, he said, and
he is working with Guilford and Madison. The Guilford Green is now
organically cared for.
Lawn pesticides are known to contaminate groundwater and wells. The
resolution says that state and federal registration of pesticides is
no guarantee of safety. Lawn and garden fertilizers contribute 11
percent of the nitrates found in the storm drains and these runoffs
increase the nitrate into the waters of Long Island Sound,
contributing the death of lobsters, other fish and plant life.
The decision to ask residents to voluntarily change the way they care
for their lawns — and there are thousands of lawns in Branford —
follows earlier town decisions to go organic at town parks and ball
Alex Palluzzi, Jr., Branford’s parks and recreation director for the
last 16 years,
smiles when he recalls the transition because he first had to turn
himself around. “I was on the other side,” he said. “But I listened to
the experts, including Dr. Silbert and I did a 360 degree turn.”
It took a few years, some trial and error events, a number of
transition products, the use of composted leaves combined with poultry
manure, before the results were clear. The town no longer has to use
pesticides and commercial synthetic fertilizers to produce sturdy
municipal fields that get repeated use.
When he first changed gears, the association he then headed, The
Connecticut Recreation and Park Association “was not happy with me.
But they are changing and are coming around to our side,” he told the
Silbert and Palluzzi (pictured) have been the leading advocates in the
organic lawn care movement. In recent years Dick Sullivan, the former
second selectman, pressed for changes on the government front. Dan
Cosgrove, the former Boss of Branford, was also instrumental. He owns
large parcels of property. He convinced Palluzzi in the mid-1990s to
mulch leaves on town property instead of taking them to the transfer
station. To get that done, Cosgrove donated the mulching equipment.
Silbert said the Watershed, founded in 1994, has been able to do its
important work because of funding from the Community Foundation for
Greater New Haven and the Quinnipiac River Fund. The organization’s
primary mission is to eliminate toxic lawn pesticides. He said 19 of
the 30 commonly used lawn pesticides have been linked to some form of
cancer and birth and other defects. Children are especially
susceptible, he said. Connecticut law now bans the use of pesticides
at public schools.
“Every park in town has either passive or active organic care. “It is
cheaper. It is safer and it is what residents should now do for their
own lawns,” Palluzzi said after the meeting he and Silbert attended.
February 23, 2009
'Green' cemetery is focus of talks
By LISA PERKINS
TRAVERSE CITY -- In facing end of life choices, area residents may
have a greener option.
Kimberli Bindschatel will hold focus group meetings to discuss the
possibility of establishing a local conservation cemetery at 9:30
a.m., today and 4 p.m., Wednesday at the Traverse City Senior Center,
801 E. Front St. An additional meeting is planned for 10 a.m.,
Thursday, March 12 at the Leelanau County Government Center, 8527 E.
Government Center Drive in Suttons Bay.
Bindschatel, who is working with Tom Nelson, of Northport, hopes to
determine if local interest would support the notion of an Earth-
friendly burial option.
"I am a nature lover and came across the concept of conserving land
while making end of life choices as a statement of personal values,"
said Bindschatel, who along with Nelson, is looking for property in
Leelanau county to serve as both a nature preserve and green burial
"To have true meaning for land conservancy, the property has to be of
a size that would achieve that goal, both preserving land and
providing a burial alternative," said Nelson, noting that the land
purchase will be privately funded.
A personal interest in natural burials sparked Bindschatel to
investigate the possibilities of establishing a local alternative to a
traditional cemetery where a state required minimum of 40 acres would
be dedicated to providing a natural burial area. Caskets and vaults
would not be required and only biodegradable materials would be
Traditional grave markers would be replaced by natural landscape and
grave sites would be accessible by GPS navigation.
"People who embrace this notion maybe would want to plant a tree,
instead of a marble memorial," said Bindschatel, who sees that
choosing how and where to be buried can serve as commitment to
conserve, sustain and protect the earth.
"Conventional cemeteries use herbicides and pesticides and create
pollution using lawn mowers. This is a natural alternative where the
land would also be a nature preserve and habitat for wildlife," said
Bindschatel, who is eager to survey interest in the concept.
"When I have spoken with people in the community, they usually are
curious and respond with, 'Gosh, I never thought about that but it
makes so much sense,'" she said.
For more information, call Kimberli Bindschatel at 943-0153 or e-mail
Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.
New Study Finds Insecticidal Lice Shampoos Contaminate Children’s
(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2009) Permethrin and lindane
metabolites are found in children who use lice shampoos containing the
insecticides, according to researchers affiliated with the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. The study, “Pesticide exposure
resulting from treatment of lice infestations in school-aged children
in Georgia,” published in the February issue of the journal
Environment International, is the first to measure children’s exposure
to chemical lice treatments.
The researchers collected baseline urine samples from 78 enrolled
children between the ages of six to ten years of age. About one-third
of those children were diagnosed with head lice and subsequently
treated with at least one over-the-counter permethrin lice treatment,
a prescription lindane treatment, or both. Within seven days of the
insecticide application, urine samples were again collected. The
permethrin exposed children had significantly higher urinary
pryrethoid metabolite levels in their post-exposure urine samples.
Lindane metabolites were also elevated in urine samples after
treatment. Interestingly, the study states, “Exposed participants
appeared to have higher pre-exposure metabolite levels – likely from
multiple treatments before enrollment – than unexposed participants.”
Pentachlorophenol, a metabolite of lindane, was significantly higher
in the urine of those children who used a lice treatment regardless of
whether it was lindane-based. When looking at the children’s urinary
pentachlorophenol and the three permethrin metabolite levels, the
study authors unexpectedly found age-related differences. The middle
age group of children, between the eight and eleven years old, had
lower metabolite levels than the older or younger children. In
addition, “For those participants whose urine samples were collected
more than one day following exposure, a larger percentage of the
pesticide metabolites would have been eliminated from the body before
sample collection making it more difficult to ascertain if an exposure
had occurred,” and thus possibly weakening the study results.
Permethrin is a possible human carcinogen and exposure is linked to
possible endocrine disruption, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and
reproductive effects. Exposure to synthetic pyrethroids such as
permethrin has been reported to lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea,
irritation, and skin sensations. Children are especially sensitive to
the effects of permethrin and other synthetic pyrethroids. A study
found that permethrin is almost five times more toxic to eight-day-old
rats than to adult rats due to incomplete development of the enzymes
that break down pyrethroids in the liver. Studies on newborn mice have
shown that permethrin may inhibit neonatal brain development.
Additionally, researchers have documented low-dose effects permethrin,
doses below one-one thousandth of a lethal dose for a mouse, on those
brain pathways involved in PD. The effects are consistent with a pre-
Parkinsonsian condition, but not yet full-blown Parkinsonism.
Lindane has long been used in the treatment of head lice, yet is
widely known for its neurotoxic properties, causing seizures, damage
to the nervous system, and weakening of the immune system. It is also
a probable carcinogen and endocrine disruptor. Lindane is particularly
toxic and is also bioaccumulative. When used on people, lindane is
regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Despite the fact
that it has been banned in 52 countries and restricted in over 30
more, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to allow its
use in the U.S., albeit with a Public Health Advisory issued in 2003
that states, “Lindane should be used with caution in infants,
children, the elderly, patients with skin conditions, and patients
with low body weight (less than 110 lbs).” The last remaining
agricultural uses of lindane were cancelled in 2006. It was banned in
California in 2000 because of high levels of water contamination.
Following the ban, water contamination drastically declined, and an
increase in head lice cases was not reported.
Head lice affect an estimated 12 million people in the U.S. each year,
and are rapidly becoming resistant to over-the-counter and
prescription medications. According to researchers on alternative lice
treatments, one method for eliminating head lice that will not lead to
resistant strains of lice is the use of hot air, which desiccates the
insects and eggs, thus killing them.
For information on controlling head lice without toxic chemicals, see
Beyond Pesticides’ Head Lice Factsheet or Getting Nit Picky About Head
The St. Augustine Record
What is dioxin?
By PETER GUINTA
Dioxins, short for polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, are a family of
manmade organic chemical compounds that are highly toxic and are
produced as byproducts of some industrial processes and waste
That definition from Slate Magazine came from a 2004 story about the
deliberate dioxin poisoning of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor
Yushchenko, who, after somehow ingesting dioxin, experienced ulcers in
his stomach and intestines, problems with his liver and spleen, and
disfiguring facial cysts.
That is an extreme case.
Otherwise, the Slate story said, dioxin poisoning can cause organ
disease, an increased risk of cancer and heart attacks, a suppressed
immune system, hormonal imbalances, diabetes, menstrual problems,
increased hair growth, weight loss and, most obviously, the facial
cysts known as chloracne.
Dioxins also tend to bioaccumulate, meaning it builds up in fatty
tissues over time.
Dioxin effects in children -- birth defects, genetic diseases, tumors
and failure to thrive -- are still seen in southern Vietnam 60 years
after U.S. forces sprayed millions of pounds of dioxin called Agent
Orange as a tactical herbicide to eradicate the jungle canopy that
often hid enemy troops.
Tens of thousands of birth defects there have been reported. As many
as 1 million Vietnamese were exposed to it.
In addition, exposure caused a rainbow of health problems to U.S.
troops, who were sprayed while on patrol or drank water contaminated
Linda Young of the Tallahassee-based Clean Water Network of Florida
called dioxin an "endocrine disrupter," meaning it gets into the
body's endocrine system and mimics hormones.
"It can turn boy fish into girl fish and girl fish into boy fish," she
According to the web site www.dioxinfacts.org,, "Dioxins have never
been manufactured for commercial use. They are trace by-products of
combustion and manufacturing. Over the past few decades, industry and
government have worked together to reduce industrial dioxin emissions
to the environment. As a result, dioxin emissions, as monitored by the
EPA, have plummeted by 92 percent since 1987."
© The St. Augustine Record
Warning Industry Propaganda Below
Ontario Lobbyists Registration Office
Last Amendment Date: Tue Feb 10, 2009
Section B: Senior Officer and Organization Information
Graeme W. Hedley
Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council
7-784 Gordon Street
Section C: Organization Lobbyist(s)
List each employee, including the senior officer if applicable, whose
duties include lobbying:
--- Graeme Hedley, Secretary Treasurer;
Section D: Description of Organization
D.1 Briefly describe the organization's business or activities.
The organization is a coalition of non-supply managed agricultural
commodity associations or marketing boards which lobby on issues of
D.2 Briefly describe the organization's membership or classes of
membership, and list the names of officers an directors of the
Members are agricultural non-supply managed associations and marketing
boards. Officers President - Murray Porteous Vice Pres. - Peter
Tuinema Vice Pres. - Mary Ann Hendrikx Sec. Treas. - Graeme Hedley
Section E: Subject Matters (Areas of Concern)
Check the appropiate area or areas of concerns that best identify the
subject-matters of your lobbying activities:
Next six months
Government Ministries or Agencies you are lobbying:
Name or Description of Regulation:
Cosmetic Pesticide Regulation
Government Ministries or Agencies you are lobbying:
Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs Ministry of the
New chair of Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario
Written by Fruit and Vegetable Magazine
The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) is pleased to
announce that Murray Porteous, a member of the board of the institute,
has accepted the position of chairperson. Porteous graduated from the
University of Guelph with a degree in Agricultural Business. A fruit
and vegetable grower in Norfolk County, Porteous is equally
knowledgeable about many sectors of agriculture including dairy,
poultry, beef, swine, cash crops, agricultural chemicals, and animal
health. He also brings a wealth of experience in agri-food research
and related policy, having served as chair of the Agricultural
Adaptation Council and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’
Association. He is currently the chair of the Ontario Agricultural
Commodity Council. ARIO, a crown agency established in 1962, is
composed of 15 representatives from Ontario’s agri-food sector. The
mandate of the institute is to further the research and development
and innovation agenda of the sector through advice to the Minister of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Porteous replaces outgoing chair
Ginty Jocius. During his tenure, Jocius oversaw a number of
significant initiatives, including the development of the Strategic
Options Paper and 16 recommendations to the minister, including the
transfer of ownership of research and education infrastructure from
the Ontario government to ARIO.
Croplife Canada - Food for Thought
* Food Protection Council Members
* Lois Ferguson
* Peter MacLeod
* Murray Porteous
* Mary Wiley
Click below to hear some food for thought, from Murray:
Murray on working with nature
LARGE | SMALL
Murray on working with pest control products and the environment
LARGE | SMALL
Murray on pesticide training programs
LARGE | SMALL
Murray on how pesticides help growers and consumers
LARGE | SMALL
Murray Porteous is a partner in Lingwood Farms Ltd. and grows fruit
and asparagus on 850 acres in Norfolk County in Ontario. He is a
Director of the Ontario Apple Growers, Vice-Chairman of the Ontario
Agricultural Commodity Council, and is a past Chairman of the
Agricultural Adaptation Council and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
Murray is a graduate of the University of Guelph with a degree in
Agricultural Business. His experience over the past 20 years include
sales and marketing positions as well as involvement in research with
livestock, field crops or horticulture.
In 1998, Murray was named Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmer
Science and Innovation Advisory Committee (SIAC)
Murray Porteous Murray Porteous graduated form the University of
Guelph in 1983 with a BSc in Agricultural Business, then spent six
years with Elanco Animal Health in Sales and Marketing positions.
In 1989, he joined his family farm in Norfolk County and is in
partnership with his Father and his Brother-in-law Ray together they
own 850 acres in Norfolk County and grow tree fruit and asparagus.
They are also partners in Norfolk Fruit Growers` Association and
Norfood Growers for storage, packing, processing and marketing.
Mr. Porteous was named Ontario`s Outstanding Young Farmer in 1998, and
has served his industry as Chairman of the Agricultural Adaptation
Council, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, the
Ontario Agricultural Commodity Council, the Agricultural Research
Institute of Ontario. Currently he is involved in agricultural
awareness projects with AgCare and Crop Life Canada and is involved as
Finance Chairman for the Canadian Horticultural Council. Murray is
also currently a member of the Ontario Research and Innovation
RR#3, Waterford, On N0E 1Y0
(519)428-4727 Blog Gadgets
St. John's Daily Spray Advisory
My Past Articles
More enforcement needed for pesticide spray regulations
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 413 words
Karen Griffin - Judie Squires says someone needs to patrol the companies that spray residential areas for pesticides because she's observed nine violations of the Environmental Protection Act in her Paradise neighborhood alone…
Spray woes: Province falling down on monitoring pesticides
The Telegram (
Judie Squires - environment to become poisoned? A temporary ban on all residential pesticides has to be put into place, to protect us, our wildlife and our environment as a whole. Judie Squires
Government lax on cosmetic pesticide regulation: advocate
The Telegram (
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of
Woman doesn't expect cosmetic pesticide ban any time soon
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - 08-30-2004 - 712 words
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of Newfoundland and Labrador, isn't optimistic that the province will ban the…
Province lagging behind in pesticide control
The Telegram (
Squires, Judie - it to do is to prohibit the cosmetic use of synthetic pesticides altogether in order to protect our citizens and the environment. Judie Squires writes from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's…
The two sides to pesticide use
The Telegram (
Judie Squires - health of your families. When
Inquiry implicates BTk
The Telegram (
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - of trees. The live spores can be inhaled by humans and animals exposed to BT. Judie Squires, secretary of the Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, says despite claims that…
Delayed pesticide laws 'disappointing'
The Telegram (
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - at the end of this year. These products will only be sold to certified dealers. Judie Squires, secretary of the newly formed Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, isn't…
Above Articles available through Trancontinental Newsnet
Time for provincial lawn pesticide regulation
The Telegram (
pesticides. Please join me in lobbying our province for a pesticide ban Judie Squires Portugal Cove...