One of Canada’s worst legal decisions

From Karen Selick on her new blog, “Karen Selick Sounds Off”:

“A colleague and I at the CCF sometimes like to kick around the question, “Which are the top 10 worst decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada?”

One case that we always nominate is Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser, 2004 SCC 34, where the Supreme Court held by a five-to-four majority that farmer Percy Schmeiser had infringed the patent of Monsanto after his canola field was accidentally contaminated with Monsanto’s patented, genetically modified (GMO) seed.   The GMO seed was probably carried to Schmeiser’s field from neighbouring farms via the wind or insects, but however it arrived, it was without his knowledge or consent.  Yet the decision held, essentially, that Monsanto owned his canola crop and he didn’t.

While the SCC took the sting out of the decision by holding that Schmeiser owed no damages to Monsanto, its decision on  nevertheless set the stage for many problems down the road.

A new documentary “Percy Schmeiser:  David v. Monsanto”  by German filmmaker Bertram Verhaag is available for viewing free until November 10 at this website.  Percy Schmeiser narrates the history of his court battle and explains the serious negative implications of this poorly reasoned court decision.  I recommend this excellent film….”

Read more on Karen Selick’s blog.

7 Comments

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7 responses to “One of Canada’s worst legal decisions

  1. Annie Bartely

    May the Lord in all his mercy Bless our farmers,,,, For without out them we shall suffer greatly.

  2. BCFoodSecurity

    “David vs. Monsanto” can be viewed for free on Youtube on some other sites or channels than Mercola and there is no time limit as of today . I hope Youtube does not get some funny “ideas” (like from Monsanto) and decide to ban it however.
    Here is the link :

  3. AJ

    Thank you. I fully agree with you and I will be watching this film now.

  4. AJ

    What a well done documentary!

    Mr. Schmeiser truly is a David taking on a Goliath. It is a good thing that he didn’t give up the fight. I am sure that over the past 6 years he likely thought about it once or twice. What an encouragement to other farmers, whom would be willing to take a stand for their future and for future generations – Period.

    If Mr. Schmeiser is reading this blog, I want to say, “Thank you for not giving in to Monsanto’s strong arm tactics, and for working so hard to protect our food supply.”

    What a disgusting criminal organization! EVIL pure EVIL

  5. Aaron

    The legal reasoning that Monsanto owns the plant due to one small gene modification is clearly flawed. An easy hypothetical scenario that would clearly show this would be if there were multiple, exclusive patented gene modifications to the plant by multiple sources in addition to Monsanto… who then owns the plant? Lets say you had a situation where farmers were all doing genetic modifications to their seeds in their basement laboratories and then patenting them, the pollen of which is mixing with various neighbours… who then owns the plants? Each neighbour has patented genes of both his and his neighbours in his plant. You can’t possibly say that any neighbour owns a plant more than any other, based on the genetic composition of the plants.

    • BCFoodSecurity

      Aaron : You raised an excellent point. The government of Canada is frightened of Monsanto. Under Chapter 11 NAFTA Investor Protections , Monsanto can sue Canada for hundreds of millions of dollars (actually there is no limit to the amount of these lawsuits ) if they decided that Canada’s rules and regulations are not “investor friendly ” enough. So at this point logic no longer rules the relationship. It is more of a “Master (Monsanto) to the Slave (Harper Government) ” relationship. Very unhealthy indeed. The only hope is to mobilize the grassroots and mobilze the municipal governments across Canada. Even if successful , there is still the risk of a billion dollar lawsuit eventually against Canada. And remember those lawsuits are decided by a secret tribunal of corporate lawyers . Canada has already lost dozens of NAFTA lawsuits amounting to billions of dollars over the past 22 years . It should be front page news yet we hardly hear about it. The mainstream media does not seem to consider it a “newsworthy” item .

  6. If I recall correctly, the unfortunate situation that became the decisive factor in the courts ruling against Mr. Schmeiser was that he had knowingly collected the Monsanto seeds from the plants that had grown from seeds blown onto his property, and had planted those harvested seeds on his property.
    The real crux of the problem is the patenting of seeds. Due to the patent laws and that the seeds were knowingly patented that were planted, the tables were unfortunately turned against Mr. Schmeiser as the situation stood.
    Fundamentally and regardless, I would say strongly: To patent seeds is wrong. To patent life is wrong.
    I also think Mr. Schmeiser is a man of principle and that what happened to him is unconscionable….and a very sad statement on our current state of affairs in the world of agriculture.

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