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Those of you who are in the cattle industry may be aware of the BSE class action suit vs. the federal government, filed in 2005.The suit has been certified and continues to slowly grind forward.

A number of private individuals from western Canada have started a petition which urges the government to appoint a mediator to settle the class action rather than have it go through the usual lengthy legal process. The reason is obvious - the cash situation in the beef industry has become critical for many of us.

There are precedents for this type of action - the tainted blood scandal settlement and the Indian schools action, for example.

Here is a link to the action's homepage - http://www.bseclassaction.ca/

The above link contains much good information around the action if you take the time to sift through it. Pay particular attention to the "How You can Help" page.

The idea of this producer-driven petition is to land on the desks of our M.P's as many signed petitions as possible on June 30, 2010. It is hoped that the unified action from right across the country will mount significant pressue on the federal government to address the sad reality of the country's beef sector.

Each petition requires 30 signatures to be complete. The more non-farmers that sign, the better as this would show that the beef industry affects more than just farmers.

I hope you will take the time needed to review the necessary details of the action and lend your support to this.

I am looking for someone, anyone to help move this forward in Ontario. We have some excellent people working on it in the west. Petitions are available for those who want to start one or more in their own area.

Sincerely,
John Schwartzentruber,
Brussels, On.

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I failed to mention that the plaintiff in the suit holds the federal government responsible for the circumstances that led to the collapse of our Canadian beef industry. The CFIA ignored explicit advice from veterinarians in Britain who saw first hand what happens if action is not taken to prevent the entry of infected, rendered animals into the feed supply.

Also, the leading CFIA vets spread incorrect information regarding the vulnerable state of our industry, denying that anything harmful could happen to the BSE free status of the Canadian herd.

They were wrong. And we are paying the unbearable price of federal negligence.
Interested parties can sign a copy of the petition at Brussels Livestock, Brussels; McCall Livestock, Brussels and Edgar Feeds and Seeds, Wingham. On.

Also, Jim Rice of Conn is placing a number in his area.
Here is a list of locations were you can sign the petition - Brussels, Livestock; McCall Livestock, Brussels; Edgar Feeds and Seeds, Wingham; Keady Livestock; Ontario Stockyards, Cookstown; Markdale Vet.; BDO Dunwoody, Mt. Forest; North Wellington Co-op, Mt. Forest; Huron Bay Co-op, Dundalk; Trillium Ford Lincoln, Shelburne; Don Flueney Welding And Fab.; Shelburne. Or, anyone contact me through this site.
WE ARE GETTING SOME ATTENTION! Below is an email from one of our people working on this in Manitoba -

"Some good news. I just got a call from Alex Atamanenko's office in Ottawa. I sent him a petition, and it hit the mark. His assistant says that in the fall, when the House resumes, that he will take it to a standing committee meeting and recommend a motion to debate it in the house. If we can get the ag critics and other members of the committee on our side, there are enough of them to pass it in the committee, and then it will be able to be a proper debate on the floor. So we have to make sure everyone on that committee gets a petition... or two..

She told me that in October, we need to go to our producers, and have them put in calls to their MP's and put some pressure on them, so that the subject will be considered important enough for a response. We need to place some well timed pressure in the fall.

Oh ya, and she got me to send her a copy of the petition to send to beef producers in B.C., so she's going to help us get the snowball rolling out there too.

Yes, it's a good day..."

Every beef producer needs to get involved and be on their phones to their M.P.'s to pressure them to move this thing through.
Great progress John....it seems like a tough fight to get everyone to contact their MPs but keep up the good leadership.
We will do what we can to help promote your efforts.
Keep Driving on...

Joe
FYI -

H. Siemens article:

Earlier this year, a group of producers launched a Canada-wide petition on behalf of farm producers, to fellow farm producers, to the public, and to any business or organization affected by the continuing fallout from the 2003 discovery of BSE in the Canadian cattle herd.

So far, there is no resolution to a class action lawsuit launched in 2005 and designed to compensate Canadian cattle producers for lost income. The lawsuit alleges Ottawa was negligent in allowing BSE to infect Canadian cattle.

Cameron Pallett, the lawyer acting on their behalf, said it could be another 10 years before the case is settled.
Several producers have taken some advice he offered at a rally in Red Deer earlier this year, to work together toward an earlier settlement. Otherwise, producers might as well include any possible compensation in their estate planning, he said.
Producers launched a petition campaign in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec and in Ontario, said Gail Kasprick, a cattle producer from Neepawa, MB who is simply fed up and tired of waiting.

“Who knows,” she said. “Ten years from now, how many cattle producers are even going to be left. Tens of thousands have already given up and more are leaving the industry.

The petition calls on the federal government to appoint retired Supreme Court justice Frank Iacob-ucci as a mediator to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

Kasprick said the loosely knit group of petition organizers wants all 308 MPs in Canada to receive a petition. Each petition requires 25 signatures to be valid but the organizers say they want more signatures in case any are disallowed.

“Manitoba has done extremely well,” she said commenting on the progress of getting petitions. “I have two more petitions on my desk, which once they’re mailed, will put a petition on the desk of every MP in Manitoba. We have a number of petitions still out in the country, and are planning on collecting signatures until we run out of people to sign them. The extra petitions will be put to good use as we find specific MP’s who are in a position to help us.”

She mailed one to Alex Atamanenko, who is the NDP Agriculture Critic, and a member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture. His office has been very supportive, and helpful.

“Other than Steven Fletcher, his office is the only one I’ve received a response from, and that response came in the form of a telephone call,” said the concerned cattle producer from Neepawa. “I have been told that he will bring our petition up at the first Standing Committee meeting in the fall, and recommend it be put forward to the house as a motion for a full debate on the floor of the House.

Kasprick said the group’s next priority is to make sure every member of the Standing Committee has a petition, and so far half of them have already either received a petition, or will soon receive one.

As for MP Steven Fletcher of Winnipeg, all she received from him was a copy of the letter he sent along with the petition when he forwarded it on to Gerry Ritz.

“I suspect a lot of Conservative MP’s will take this approach. I hope that he at least read it before sending it on. I’m not sure if he acknowledges that people in the city have an interest in being able to buy Canadian beef,” she said.

There are people in Quebec, PEI, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. working on this now.

“How they are doing, I’m not sure, but I do know they’re working hard on it. It’s a work in progress,” said the Manitoba petition coordinator. “Our plans now are to keep up the effort for the summer, and collect as many signatures as we can. In the fall, when the House goes back into session, we’ll be following up with the MP’s who received petitions, and contacting other MP’s to remind them that we’re out here, and what our issues are, so that if it does come up for debate, as many MP’s as possible will be aware of the situation, and be able to have an informed debate that might actually mean something.”

http://www.siemenssays.com/blog/1344.html
Today we met with standing committee member Mr. Frank Valeriote, MP, Guelph, and presented him with a petition. Mr. Valeriote gave us a good reception and committed to taking our concerns to the floor when the House reconvenes in September.

Clearly, the more pressure our MPs receive from their constituents, the better our chances of a favorable outcome in receiving the requested settlement to the class action suit.

Therefore, every beef producer needs to call, write, or email their Member of Parliament and tell him/her that settling this action is essential for the survival of the Canadian beef industry, along with the accompanying processing sector, not to mention the broad economic spin-off benefits to the rural community.

The more they hear from us, the greater their awareness and the public profile becomes.
From the Manitoba Co-operator.


Calls for BSE settlement reach Commons
Staff
10/7/2010 11:55:00 PM


Cattle producers' calls for the federal government to negotiate an out-of-court settlement to class actions filed over the arrival of BSE in the Canadian herd have made it to the House of Commons.

Identical petitions from groups of cattle producers were presented Wednesday in the Commons by NDP agriculture critic and B.C. MP Alex Atamanenko, and by southern Ontario MP and rancher Larry Miller, who chairs both the Commons standing committee on agriculture and the Conservatives' rural caucus.

Atamanenko presented petition papers signed by a "couple of hundred people from Manitoba," while Miller presented on behalf of 26 residents of his Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound constituency.

"The petition mentions that there was a class action on behalf of cattle producers of Canada lodged in April 2005 claiming that negligence on the part of Agriculture Canada allowed BSE from imported British cattle to infect Canadian cattle," Atamanenko said in the Commons. "This class action has now been certified and is proceeding to trial."

Miller's and Atamanenko's presentations were among a list of petitions presented Wednesday during the "routine proceedings" section of the day's business, and were not debated in the Commons or otherwise discussed.

The petitions were co-ordinated by a group of Canadian ranchers following meetings in recent months with Cameron Pallett, the Toronto lawyer spearheading the class actions.

Specifically, they call on the government to name retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci as a mediator to facilitate settlement between the Government of Canada and the cattle farmers.

"The government of Canada settled the hepatitis C class actions. The government of Canada settled the residential schools class actions," the petition papers note. "The cattle farmers of Canada need help now. The BSE class action represents the interests of 135,000 hardworking Canadian farm families."

Petition organizers have also sent letters to all members of Parliament urging support for a settlement.

"The BSE class action has been in progress since 2005, and has passed all the legal criteria to be a true national class action suit. The next time it goes before a judge it is to be decided," the letters noted.

"We have heard that if it does go to court, that it could be 10 years before a final judgment is reached. We do not have 10 years," the letters state.

"Our farm income programs have ceased to work for us. Our equity is a fraction of what it was, and many producers are just waiting for those first good prices in order to salvage some equity and get out. When people get out of the cattle business, they do not come back."

In a separate essay last month outlining the case for a mediated settlement, petition organizers John Schwartzentruber of Brussels, Ont. and Gail Kasprick of Neepawa, Man. said that "surely the principles of good governance by a responsible government require that these matters be looked into by an independent qualified professional.

"Who better than a retired justice of the Supreme Court of Canada who has been employed by the federal government in a similar fashion on more than one occasion?"

"Song-and-dance"

In an interview last year, lawyer Pallett said he didn't see the trial getting underway for another four years at best, owing to the "procedural song-and-dance" that accompanies such cases.

Pallett represents Niagara Falls-area cattle producer Bill Sauer, the representative plaintiff for a "class" that includes all Canadian cattle producers outside Quebec. In that province, a related and certified class action suit by producer Donald Berneche continues.

The two suits claim negligence within the government led directly to the BSE-related closure of the U.S. border and other foreign ports. The lawsuits' allegations against the government and individual federal bureaucrats have not yet been proven in court.

Sauer's suit, as originally filed in April 2005, had claimed $100,000 for every member of the "class" in "general damages… for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life" as well as "aggravated damages" of $100,000 per class member plus "punitive damages" of $100 million from the suit's "corporate defendants."

But if it's willing to settle, Pallett said, the government would benefit from a better resolution, politically speaking, and on "more favourable economic terms." Cattle producers could then get compensation without "years of litigation."

For all the discussion across the western world about tax-funded economic stimulus, a settlement in this suit would offer real economic impact, he said.
Good work John.

John....if anyone would like the data on the damage done to beef producers and the economic tax base because of BSE and the CFIA handling of the situation....just check out the results from the Farm and Ranch Family Survey it is very easy to understand....unfortunatly Federal Funding for this program was eliminated so there is going to no further surveys sent out as was originally stated.
John Schwartzentruber said:
From the Manitoba Co-operator.


Calls for BSE settlement reach Commons
Staff
10/7/2010 11:55:00 PM


Cattle producers' calls for the federal government to negotiate an out-of-court settlement to class actions filed over the arrival of BSE in the Canadian herd have made it to the House of Commons.

Identical petitions from groups of cattle producers were presented Wednesday in the Commons by NDP agriculture critic and B.C. MP Alex Atamanenko, and by southern Ontario MP and rancher Larry Miller, who chairs both the Commons standing committee on agriculture and the Conservatives' rural caucus.

Atamanenko presented petition papers signed by a "couple of hundred people from Manitoba," while Miller presented on behalf of 26 residents of his Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound constituency.

"The petition mentions that there was a class action on behalf of cattle producers of Canada lodged in April 2005 claiming that negligence on the part of Agriculture Canada allowed BSE from imported British cattle to infect Canadian cattle," Atamanenko said in the Commons. "This class action has now been certified and is proceeding to trial."

Miller's and Atamanenko's presentations were among a list of petitions presented Wednesday during the "routine proceedings" section of the day's business, and were not debated in the Commons or otherwise discussed.

The petitions were co-ordinated by a group of Canadian ranchers following meetings in recent months with Cameron Pallett, the Toronto lawyer spearheading the class actions.

Specifically, they call on the government to name retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci as a mediator to facilitate settlement between the Government of Canada and the cattle farmers.

"The government of Canada settled the hepatitis C class actions. The government of Canada settled the residential schools class actions," the petition papers note. "The cattle farmers of Canada need help now. The BSE class action represents the interests of 135,000 hardworking Canadian farm families."

Petition organizers have also sent letters to all members of Parliament urging support for a settlement.

"The BSE class action has been in progress since 2005, and has passed all the legal criteria to be a true national class action suit. The next time it goes before a judge it is to be decided," the letters noted.

"We have heard that if it does go to court, that it could be 10 years before a final judgment is reached. We do not have 10 years," the letters state.

"Our farm income programs have ceased to work for us. Our equity is a fraction of what it was, and many producers are just waiting for those first good prices in order to salvage some equity and get out. When people get out of the cattle business, they do not come back."

In a separate essay last month outlining the case for a mediated settlement, petition organizers John Schwartzentruber of Brussels, Ont. and Gail Kasprick of Neepawa, Man. said that "surely the principles of good governance by a responsible government require that these matters be looked into by an independent qualified professional.

"Who better than a retired justice of the Supreme Court of Canada who has been employed by the federal government in a similar fashion on more than one occasion?"

"Song-and-dance"

In an interview last year, lawyer Pallett said he didn't see the trial getting underway for another four years at best, owing to the "procedural song-and-dance" that accompanies such cases.

Pallett represents Niagara Falls-area cattle producer Bill Sauer, the representative plaintiff for a "class" that includes all Canadian cattle producers outside Quebec. In that province, a related and certified class action suit by producer Donald Berneche continues.

The two suits claim negligence within the government led directly to the BSE-related closure of the U.S. border and other foreign ports. The lawsuits' allegations against the government and individual federal bureaucrats have not yet been proven in court.

Sauer's suit, as originally filed in April 2005, had claimed $100,000 for every member of the "class" in "general damages… for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life" as well as "aggravated damages" of $100,000 per class member plus "punitive damages" of $100 million from the suit's "corporate defendants."

But if it's willing to settle, Pallett said, the government would benefit from a better resolution, politically speaking, and on "more favourable economic terms." Cattle producers could then get compensation without "years of litigation."

For all the discussion across the western world about tax-funded economic stimulus, a settlement in this suit would offer real economic impact, he said.

Thank you to MP Joe Comartin (NDP, Windsor Tecumseh) for presenting to the House the petition he received on behalf of Canada's beef producers.

 

With the repeated attention that this issue has now received in the House, it is now imperative that beef producers call, email - any form of contact- their MP to ask them to support our request for the appointment of a mediator to settle our claim for compensation for losses due to the (preventable) BSE debacle.

 

In conversation with MP Bev Shipley, it was disheartening to hear him ask " . . .why am I not hearing from my constituents on this?"  We will get only as much as we ask for.

 

Call your MP.

Happy New Year John,

I wish you alot of progress this year....with the politicians.

Please send me any new information you have and I will try to include in our newsletters.

Take care and keep up the good fight.

 

Joe Dales

Farms.com

877 438-5729 x5013

joe.dales@farms.com

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