anne's blog

GMO foods

At the Biotechnology Reference Group of the Canadian Council of Churches recent meeting on April 20 we reviewed the development of a curriculum on biotechnology issues for faith groups.   We also reviewed a draft petition on the labelling of GMO foods which the BRG is considering submitting the Federal Commissioner on Environment and Sustainable Development.  In the petition we will ask the Commissioner whether or not the Government of Canada has reviewed the effectiveness of voluntary labelling; reviewed what other jurisdictions are doing re labelling of GMOs, and

Climate Change is a Moral Issue

I participated on a panel on policy issues related to climate change as a moral issue at the United Church of Canada offices, Toronto on April 16.   I talked about the policy issues in Canada which are obstacles to us addressing climate change as a moral issue:  the high defence and military budget and the constant message on the need for economic growth at all costs.  I also talked about how there could be policy initiatives to help us better address climate change:  focus on conservation; alternative energy sources; alternative ways of doing things; change in

GM Agriculture

The debate on GM agriculture continues.  Switzerland has extended a moratorium on genetically engineered plants and animals by three years.   The first harvest of genetically modified bananas in Australia has been picked.   Bayer CropScience must pay about $2 million for losses sustained by two Missouri farmers when an experimental variety of rice cross-bred with their crops.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has released a 49 page draft social statement on genetics, a framework for discussion.  Private Member's Bill C-474 survived second ho

Scrupling on the Erosion of Democracy in Canada

Toronto Quakers are holding a working session on scrupling on the erosion of democracy in Canada on Saturday April 17.   The purpose of the working session is to share what we learned at our February 7 scrupling session when 50 Quakers and and two sitting Members of Parliament came together.  If you are interested in organizing a scrupling session within their community this may be of interest to you.   We see this as an opportunity to till the soil for engaging in dialogue with our elected representatives on issues that concern us and our communities

With the Liberal Party's think tank over - Michael Ignatieff says that Canada should focus on learning, focus on caring and focus on regaining Canada's influence in the world.   He says we need a national strategy that includes a pan-Canadian learning plan; focus on prevention; and global leadership.    Could this not be a real federal Sustainable Development strategy - a strategy that does try to address in an integrated way social, environmental, economic, foreign policy issues?   What is our vision of a sustainable Canada?  &nbs

Sustainable Development Advisory Council

This Council is to be set up according to the Federal Sustainable Development Act.   According to a telephone conversation with Environment Canada, the Council has been established - but is not yet public - still waiting for sign off from the Minister of the Environment.

A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada

Have just scrolled through the consultation document.   And the first thing that struck me is that this is consultation document for an environmental sustainability strategy - not a sustainable development strategy for Canada.   The difference?  In my view and environmental sustainability strategy is that - with a focus on the environment.   A sustainable development strategy, however, attempts to integrate economic, environmental and social issues.   We need policies that will consider environmental, social and economic consequences together - r

Earth Hour

So what did you do for Earth Hour?   Gordon and I - in the dark - considered what are the next steps we can take to reduce our carbon footprint.   We already do the cold wash; don't put the dishwasher on unless it is full; turn down the thermostat at night; don't use air conditioning; have a solar panel for hot water; do not have a car - walk and use public transit.   Two things we did come up with:  1)  sign up for Bullfrog power; and 2)  cut back on the numbers of newspapers and magazines that are coming into the house.  

Canada at 150

The Liberal Party's conference for 'thinkers' in Montreal is trying to engage Canadians across the country.  You can log in from your computer at and follow the dialogue.    As some of the commentators have said - same old 'experts' telling us what we have heard before.   Two interesting points, however:  1) will the people who log in through the internet feel that their views are heard too?  2)  how will all of this influence policy development in Canada?

A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada

The Consultation paper on a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada can be downloaded from   It includes a message from the Minister of the Environment and invites input from Canadians.  The document states that the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy includes environmental sustainability as an integral part of the Government's decision-making processes.  The document states that the Strategy will replace the individual department strategies for sustainable development which key federal departments an

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