Issue 258: August/September 2008


 Lies and Contradictions

Since we started almost 28 years ago, The Ram’s Horn has been dedicated to looking below the surface of the food system to reveal the way it really works. It is very hard to avoid being mesmerized by the steady stream of reassurances, hype, and downright lies that we are constantly fed.

As we are preparing this issue, we are waiting for an election call which not only flies in the face of the Harper government’s election law, but is based on a ridiculous lie, that the Opposition has rendered Parliament dysfunctional. The truth is that pretty well all of the legislation introduced by this minority government has passed in the House.

The dysfunction comes from the Tory contempt for Parliament in the tactics it has used to bully its agenda through, and ignoring the law, not to mention the public. Harper, for example, has said he will not be deterred by three legal defeats in the past year as it has sought to destroy the Canadian Wheat Board. “The bottom line is this – mark my words – western Canadian farmers want this [marketing] freedom and they are going to get it and anybody who stands in their way is going to get walked over.” (WP, 26/6/08) This election call is based on one of the more egregious lies that we are expected to swallow. This issue will probe into others.

For example (page 2): 13 people have died so far in an outbreak of Listeria traced back to a single processed (pre-cooked) meat plant in Toronto – while the government cuts back on funding for the CFIA, which forever proclaims “We have the safest food in the world.”

Then (page 7) there is the claim by infant-formula-Nestlé to being the “world’s recognized leader in nutrition, health and wellness” – while it joins other bottled water purveyors to form a lobby to ‘protect’ bottled water from environmental attack.

The biotech industry extols the supposed yield increases brought about by GE crops (page 4-5), but throws a tantrum when Prince Charles articulates the real price of GE crops in a nightmare vision of rural depopulation, contamination, and pollution. In response, the Canadian biotech lobby trots out the old technique of the Big Lie: “GM crops are rigorously tested, reduce pesticide use, increase yields, enhance food security, support small farmers, and are environmentally friendly. GM crops are also a part of Canada’s contribution to the world’s economy and food prosperity.”

Meanwhile (page 4), the salvation promised by global agricultural trade fails to materialize as the Doha round on trade talks under the WTO falls flat; the world’s biggest military power fails to get its way; and Monsanto dumps rBGH (page 6) – which it continues to claim is a hot seller – and in turn gets dumped on in court for pushing GE alfalfa.

Along the way (page 6), the debate over food versus agrofuels is laid aside by the new Alliance for Abundant Food and Energy that says there is no contradiction – we can have both, no problem!


And more.....


#258: August/September 2008 TOC
Lies and Contradictions: we are mesmerized by the barrage of lies from government and industry
Fellow Consumers: Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, tries to deal with a major outbreak of listeria
Long Reach: the contaminated meat even got to Labrador
Good News: Doha is Dead -- the failure of the Doha round of trade talks in July is good news
Corn of Many Colours -- a poem
But where is the Yield Gene? -- the industry complains about 'spin' from its opposition!
"Can't see another way out" -- Syngenta head admits lack of vision
Common Sense from Royalty -- Prince Charles has a vision, and a program
Hubris -- the biotech/agrotoxin industry promises salvation
Eli Lilly to buy rBGH -- Monsanto backs off
Ban on GE Alfalfa -- a ban has been upheld by the US Court of Appeals
Seed Industry News -- Monsanto's Chinese joint venture
Nestlé Re-Positions Itself -- and tries to defend bottled water
'Protecting' bottled water -- three companies join in a propaganda push
Urban Organic Farming -- a new centre opens in Guelph, Ontario
GMO GPS -- in Germany, you can find GMO crops on the internet, why not in Canada?