NEWSBYTES – consumers paying more for food

Consumers are paying more for food at the grocery store with a sizeable percentage going to processors, marketers and other middlemen. That’s the finding of a study commissioned by three Prairie farm organizations: Keystone Agricultural Producers of Manitoba, Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan and Wild Rose Agricultural Producers of Alberta.

This is the third year of a study examining the cost of a healthy food basket for a family of four. The food was purchased at a Winnipeg Safeway in May. This year, the total food cost before taxes was $198.95. That compares to $194.23 in 2009 and $188.22 in 2008. The farmers’ share of the food basket is 27.1 percent. That’s the same as 2008 and one percent higher than last year.

The table below shows that depending on the food group, the farmers’ share ranged from just over four percent for grain products and up to 51 percent for milk. The study found that less-processed foods like vegetables often show a greater return to the farmer. In the case of bread or other grain products, the actual return to the farmer is extremely small. For example, a loaf of bread cost $1.29. The farmers’ share was 7.8 cents.

Percentage of farmers’ share of four food groups:

  2008 2009 2010
Vegetables & fruit 29% 25% 25%
Grain products 4% 5% 5%
Milk & alternatives 47% 53% 51.1%
Meat & alternatives 28% 22% 25.1%

Source: British Columbia Agriculture Council (BCAC)

Greens call for legal protection of BC coastline

Elizabeth May and the federal Greens have called for a multi-partisan, legislated ban on oil tanker traffic in BC’s Coastal Waters. In solidarity with Vancouver activists raising the alarm over oil tankers servicing the Alberta tar sands ploughing through BC’s southern coast into Vancouver Harbour, the Green Party of Canada renewed its call for a legislated ban on oil tankers along the entire BC coast.

Since 2007, the federal government has quietly allowed up to 700,000 barrels of tar sands crude oil to be shipped from Kinder-Morgan’s Burrard Inlet terminal in Vancouver each week, through the Strait of Juan de Fuca by Victoria and the Strait of Georgia by Saanich and the Gulf Islands. Plans are underway for a five-fold increase in oil tanker traffic through the region in coming years in order to service the expansion of the Alberta tar sands to access Asian and international markets.

“In the House, the Minister of Natural Resources has described the oil tanker ban as voluntary. And under cover of loose terminology, oil tanker traffic on BC’s coast is on the rise. Since they came to power in 2006, the Harper Conservatives and Saanich – Gulf Islands MP Gary Lunn have shown themselves to be the strongest proponents of increased oil tanker traffic and expansion of the Alberta tar sands that is driving this whole process along,” stated Elizabeth May, national leader of the Green Party of Canada. “We must reverse this trend with multi-partisan cooperation for a federal, legislated ban on oil tanker traffic along Canada’s entire West Coast. I will be working to mobilize the Green Party membership and approaching the other parties to see that this happens.”

Grizzly bears threatened by major ski resort

The Jumbo Valley is smack in the middle of one of North America’s most important transboundary wildlife corridors and the BC government is about to decide whether or not to allow a major ski resort to be developed here. Grizzly bears use the Jumbo Valley, in the Purcell range to get to and from the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. The conservancy is a safe place for wildlife like grizzlies, with good habitat, food and, most importantly, no human development.

Please take 60 seconds to write to Premier Campbell (go to insisting that the BC government reject the development of the Jumbo Glacier Resort and keep the Jumbo Valley wild forever. For two decades now, Kootenay residents, including the Ktunaxa Nation, have opposed the Jumbo Glacier Resort, which would convert thousands of hectares of wild land into real estate and boost human recreation at the expense of species protection.


Donate old computers to charity

The Electronic Recycling Association ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the impact electronic waste has on the environment. The organization collects old computers and electronic equipment from various companies, individuals and government organizations.

If the equipment is reusable, ERA refurbishes it and donates it to various charities and non-profit organizations. If the equipment can definitely not be reused again, it is recycled at government-registered recyclers. Currently, ERA is trying to fill thousands of outstanding charity requests. The non-profit provides a full range of secure data destruction or data removal upon request and provides a pick-up and drop of service at various locations. The organization has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal, with partnerships in every major city in Canada.

The three biggest donors annually win an all-inclusive, fantasy getaway to Fairmount Chateau, Lake Louise.

HST Recall Recruitment Campaign continues to build momentum across BC

As of October 25, fight HST lead organizer Chris Delaney said the biggest gain was made in Don McRae’s Comox Valley riding, which shot up from 90 to 140 canvassers in one week putting them solidly in fourth place behind Oak Bay Gordon Head in first place with 189 canvassers, followed by Cariboo-Chilcotin in second place with 174 canvassers and Kamloops North in third with 162 canvassers.

“Most of the ridings with big numbers saw an even larger jump this past week probably due to voter anger over the Basi-Virk deal made by the government,” said Delaney. “That only fuelled the anti-HST fire. People are furious with the government and there can be no question that is adding momentum to our Recall campaign.”

Delaney says Boundary-Similkameen with 139 volunteers and Saanich North with 132 are in a tight three-way race for 4th place with Comox Valley. He says Parksville-Qualicum and Maple Ridge Mission are in 5th and 6th place, with 132 and 106 volunteers respectively.

“It is very competitive right now in eight of the 18 ridings. The other 10 all have a solid base of canvassers that even now could launch successful Recalls with the right strategy. For example, Kelowna has a collective total of 135 canvassers signed up and there is talk of pooling their resources and targeting one candidate instead of three there,” said Delaney. “With three weeks left to go it is anyone’s race to win, except the Liberals’ of course,” he concluded.

“Fox News North” abandons push for forced access

by Ricken Patel,

We’ve won an amazing victory against crony-media in Canada! “Fox News North” abandoned its push for forced access to our cable fees; 83,000 of us signed the petition, 25,000 sent letters to the CRTC and 4,000 donated over $115,000 and [in the first week of October] SunTV, seeing it could not win, dropped its request to the government to force cable companies to carry them. A huge congrats to everyone on this amazing victory for Canada.

It wasn’t easy. The Sun media empire threw everything it had at us – smear pieces, legal threats, even insider knowledge of sabotage of our campaigns – but our united voices proved more powerful than even a Harper-allied corporate giant. In late September, our campaign caused the resignation in disgrace of SunTV chief and former Harper spin-doctor Kory Teneycke, after we pressed for an RCMP investigation into the sabotage of our petition by people linked to Teneycke. While significant, Teneycke was replaced by another scandal-ridden spin-doctor for another conservative Prime Minister.

But the decision to abandon the forced access to our fees is a huge deal. “Fox News North” (SunTV) has admitted that, if given a free choice, Canadians won’t watch it enough to make it profitable. That’s why it sought a special licence from the CRTC that would force cable companies to carry it and why the press warned the CRTC was under pressure from the Harper government to grant this licence. So the success of our people-powered campaign could mean the end of this attempt to bring a poisonous brand of crony-media to Canada. Hooray!

Harper’s radical-right clique has launched a full scale assault on our democracy – forcing out top civil servants for refusing to be politicized, controlling press access to government like never before, even shutting down our Parliament when it suited them. A 24-hour propaganda news channel that backed their every move, no matter how outrageous, could have been a headshot to our country’s democratic character. This victory is Canadian democracy’s resilient response, and it’s beautiful. Thank you. With gratitude and excitement for all we can achieve together in the future, Ricken, Emma, Laryn and the whole Avaaz team.

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shopping cart photo © Piksel |

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