After a year of holding the top post for the National Farmers Union, Rimbey’s Jan Slomp has been returned as president, elected by acclamation at the union’s 45th Annual National Convention.
The convention was held in Saskatoon, Sask. Nov. 27 to 29.
Slomp is pleased to return to the position, though he said there are other members who are also qualified. He noted the challenges to usurp the federal government’s decisions the NFU say continually lean in favour of corporations and threaten to squash the individual farmer are ongoing.
He sees The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement as nothing more than a “bill of rights” for corporations.
In a recent press release, NFU states that under the rules of CETA, a farmer using his or her farm-saved seed could have their assets seized or frozen for alleged infringement of an intellectual property before the case comes to the courts.
“It fundamentally undermines our democracy and stands in the way of setting public policy for the health of our environment and Canadians,” said Slomp.
He views Bill C-18, the Agriculture Growth Act omnibus bill, passed recently in the House of Commons as a significant loss and bad news for farmers.
“Farmers must now contend with UPOV ’91, one of the most farmer-unfriendly mechanisms we have ever seen,’ he said. “Agricultural Minister Kerry Ritz stated that the Harper government is being run like a business. It is certainly being run for big business and not the public interest,” said Slomp.
Ann Slater, NFU Vice president, policy said the Bill gives seed breeders (increasingly large multinational companies) massive new rights over seed along with the power to extract vast amounts of money from farmers.
The National Farmers Union was founded in 1969. It is a direct-membership organization made up of Canadian farm families who share common goals. Every member of the farm family, including youth ages 14 to 21, is a voting member.
The goal of the NFU is promote the family farm and work together to achieve agricultural policies that uphold the dignity and security of income for farm families and protect the farm for future generations.
Also elected by acclamation was Ann Slater from St. Marys, Ontario, as NFU first vice president, Glenn Tait from Meota, Saskatchewan as second vice-president, operations, Coral Sproule of Dashwood, Ontario as NFU women’s president, Marcella Pedersen from Cut Knife, Saskatchewan as women’s vice-president, Alex Fletcher from Victoria, B.C. as NFU youth president and Aylan Fenton of Kingston, Ontario as NFU youth vice-President.