Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Calgary man claims his cancer caused by Roundup

A Calgary man who lived on a farm at Carman, Man., has filed a lawsuit saying chemicals he was exposed to resulted in a cancer diagnosis.

Roundup which has glyphosate as its active plant killer is included in the claim filed against Bayer, Monsanto, Corteva and ABC Corp.

The plaintiffs in the case are Kevin Giesbrecht and his common-law spouse, Jennifer McAlpine, who now live in Calgary. According to court documents, Giesbrecht lived on the family farm in Carman from 2002 to 2012 and visited the farm frequently in subsequent years.

Between 2008 and 2022, Giesbrecht’s father had leased a portion of his land for field trials, first to Corteva Agriscience Canada (doing business under Hyland Seeds) in 2008, then to Monsanto (now Bayer) in 2013 and 2020 for field trials.

In December 2023, Giesbrecht was diagnosed with chronic stage 4 follicular non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The statement of claim argues that Giesbrecht, who lived within 100 metres of the leased fields, was exposed to chemicals, most notably glyphosate, while on the farm, which ultimately led to his cancer diagnosis.

The statement of claim says that Giesbrecht wasn’t properly informed of the risks of being exposed to those chemicals and alleges that Monsanto was aware that glyphosate was a carcinogen but covered it up.

Soon after Bayer bought out Monsanto, the company paid $9.6 billion, without admission of liability, to settle outstanding glyphosate lawsuits in the United States.

Three farmers to join Kent Agriculture Hall of Fame


Stephen Denys of the former Chatham Township, the late Harry Lawson of the former Township of Zone, and the late Keith McLean of Morpeth, Ontario are this years inductees to the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Denys has been passionate about in crop production, protection, marketing and seed development for more than 50 years.

Lawson worked to change by-laws and regulations to benefit the agricultural community including working towards fair settlements for gas and hydro corridors across agricultural land to avoid.

McLean was an active learner of sustainable farming techniques. He stressed the importance of balancing agricultural land and natural cover and emphasized using windbreaks and cover crops to reduce wind erosion.

The event honouring the three men will take place Tuesday, November 19 at the Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club in Oungah. 

Rabid bat alert issued in Huron-Perth

The Huron Perth Public Health unit is urging people to take precautions to prevent exposure to bats after a Stratford resident was bitten by one that has rabies.

Residents are asked to call public health if there has been contact with a bat.

"If you are bitten or scratched by a bat, or if infectious material (such as saliva) from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, or a wound, wash the affected area thoroughly and seek immediate medical attention,” said Public Health Inspector Patrick Landry.

“If you awaken to find a bat in your room, a child’s room, or the room of another household member, call HPPH.”

Overall, one to three per cent of Ontario's bat population is infected with rabies, which is a viral disease that is fatal to humans.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports that there were five bats with rabies identified so far this year in Ontario.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Europe buying human vaccines vs. bird flu

European Union officials this week signed a contract to purchase more than 40 million doses of vaccine aimed at preventing spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) among people.

The contract begins with up to 665,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by CSL Seqirus and has an option for an additional 40 million doses for a maximum of four years. 

People who work with poultry and veterinarians are considered at greatest risk, but there have been no cases in Europe and only three involving cattle in the United States.

CSL Seqirus is at Melbourne, Australia.

Unanimous strike vote vs. Cargill

Union workers at Cargill’s further processing plant in Calgary have voted unanimously to authorize a strike if an agreement is not negotiated.

Local 401 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union said the first time a strike vote in Alberta has been unanimous. The workers want pay increases, similar to union members in Guelph who have been on strike for three weeks at Cargill’s plant, the largest east of its plant a High River, Alta.

Ontario cattlemen have hardly any slaughter options closer than the United States and some are going as far at Alberta.

The next bargaining sessions in Alberta are June 20-21 and will be facilitated by a mediator. 

Local 401 has not said publicly what specific concessions it is seeking from Cargill and did not issue a potential strike date.

The union said despite ongoing negotiations ”there is a very real possibility that we will ultimately go on strike.”

Local 401 said it would be the “first affordability crisis strike, an action that could set a precedent for future fights for workers’ rights and fair contracts that address people’s needs at workplaces such as Safeway, Superstore, JBS, Olymel, and Cargill’s plant in High River.”

The union said it was considering “job action and protest options” at the High River plant.

U.S. threatens trade sanctions


The CBC has obtained correspondence revealing that the United States might impose sanctions if and when Quebec’s language law becomes official, which is expected to be soon.

Sanctions could stop shipments of some U.S products, including foods, to Canada.

Wouldn't it be lovely if that included dairy and poultry products?

According to documents the CBC obtained under Access to Information, officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) have debated whether the legislation — which includes provisions that could affect things such as commercial signs, trademarks and labels on products — contravenes trade agreements between Canada and the United States.

U.S. officials have discussed in private whether the restrictions in Bill 96 constitute a technical barrier to trade, a breach of trade-related intellectual property rights or a violation of Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, and whether those breaches would justify trade sanctions.

Jean-Pierre Godbout, spokesperson for Global Affairs, said the Canadian government is "closely following developments."

"The Government of Canada is aware of the concerns expressed by various stakeholders regarding Quebec's amendments to the Charter of the French Language as modernized under Bill 96 and accompanying regulations," Godbout wrote in an e-mailed response.

He said Quebec is being kept informed.

Rene Van Acker chosen UG research head


Rene Van Acker has been chosen vice-president for research and innovation for the University of Guelph.

His five-year appointment follows a year as interim vice-president.

Van Acker is a farm boy who grew up near Burford and studied crop and weed sciences at Guelph and earned a doctorate in crop weed ecology from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.

He was a professor at the University of Manitoba before returning to Guelph in 2006.

“As I’ve come to appreciate the scope and scale of the role, I’m looking forward to continue the work I’ve been doing with the excellent leaders and teams within the Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation,” Van Acker said.