Since the termination of Project North in 1987, further evaluation and consultation between the churches in Canada has led to a new coalition on aboriginal justice concerns. This is the result of discussion between the churches, network groups, and native organizations. It shifts the focus of the former Project North to include justice issues for native people all over Canada and is based upon the church leaders' recent statement: "A New Covenant".
That this National Executive Council support and participate fully in the new coalition: Project North - Ecumenical Coalition for Aboriginal Justice; and request the Program Committee to appoint two representatives from the Anglican Church of Canada to its Steering Committee. CARRIED #54-11-88
That the National Executive Council convey to the Government of Canada its concerns with respect to Bill C-107 regarding Plant Breeders' Rights and in particular the following concerns:
1. That a wide genetic diversity of plant stock be preserved and their availability maintained.
2. That plant breeding research and development not ignore those crops designed for relatively small markets or for regions with specific needs.
3. That the present level of funding for public research and development be increased.
4. That royalties received from publicly produced cultivar be returned to support the plant breeding program that developed the variety.
5. That the free exchange of research information be increased.
6. That excessive price increases for seeds and plant stock be avoided and that the financial needs and constraints of Canadian farmers and consumers be considered, should any increase in cost occur.
7. That government maintain a responsible presence and control over research and pricing.
8. That the 18 year patent period be reassessed and decreased.
9. That the full implications of patenting life forms be explored in depth and the ethical and legal questions addressed in greater detail.
10. That the question of ownership vis-a-vis the concentration of productive power of food resources be squarely addressed and the ethical and geo-political implications responsibly explored.
11. That efforts be made to develop new plant stocks that are less dependent upon agro-chemicals.
12. That the well-being of the natural environment be a major consideration in granting patents to any new seed stock.
13. That the needs of the Third World, in terms of food production and agricultural practices compatible to ecological and economic conditions, be responsibly considered.
14. That the issue of possible conflict of interest of patent holders be addressed. (In many cases, the same key international companies are involved in the debate over generic drugs, generic pesticides and plant breeding legislation. The question to be addressed is how appropriate is it for the same company to hold a patent on a given seed stock that requires the application of an agro-chemical patented by that company.)
15. That in granting patents for new foods stocks where possible nutritional content takes precedence over such factors as uniformity of size, ripening time, colour, etc., that is over factors that have more to do with aesthetics, convenience and efficiency than with nutrition.
16. That public and open hearings begin as soon as possible so that all sides of the debate may be heard and that the ethical, ecological, political and commercial implications of such a Bill can be more fully explored before any final action is taken.
Following lengthy discussion, it was the consensus that the above motion should be referred and it was:
That the above motion regarding Plant Breeders' Rights be referred to the Executive Director of Program, for staff work as appropriate noting the need for urgency. CARRIED #53-05-88