Dissident of the Month: Percy Schmeiser

I’ve actually never seen the beginning of a blog before, so I have no idea how it’s done. I’m just going to dive right in as if I’ve been doing it for years. Here we go!

This month’s dissident is Percy Schmeiser, a Saskatchewan farmer who has been battling Monsanto for a decade in the courts. The story is your typical he said / she said affair where “he” is your buddy you crack the odd beer with by the barbeque of a sunny afternoon, and “she” is an evil, incomprehensible, pitiless alien race bent on world domination. Like the Dalek.

To sum it up from a shamelessly leftist perspective, here’s the skinny:

Percy Schmeiser was sitting around minding his own business when all of a sudden Monsanto descended into his life and sued him for $15,000 worth of license fees for growing their GM canola. Alien gene-police had invaded his farm, stolen a bunch of his crop, tested it back at the space ship and proved a point that human farmers have been harping on about for decades: that GMO crops can not be contained. In other words, one space crop unavoidably contaminates the earth crops for miles around.

Percy is a seed collector, as human farmers tend to be. Monsanto, using their merciless alien logic, argued, basically, “It makes no difference if he bought the seeds, or stole them or they blew in on the wind, or even if we snuck in there and planted them ourselves. The human farmer must pay. Ha. Ha. Ha. Haaaaaa.” And they won.

Human farmers across Canada were understandably dismayed, as this ruling established a precedent by which no human law could protect them from be coerced against their will into an expensive licensing agreement with the invading aliens for the right to accidentally grow their worrying alien food, which studies indicate may not be fit for human consumption. [1, 2, 3]

Percy Schmeiser appealed his way all the way to Canada’s Supreme Court, where he won a so-so victory for himself without actually accomplishing anything of legal significance. The judge, in a stunning feat of ineffectual diplomacy, ruled the Schmeisers would not have to pay the fees, but that Monsanto still owned the patent on the Schmeiser’s crops. Thus was one human farmer liberated from the odious clutches of the alien race, but only one, and only somewhat. Percy has to monitor his own crops to make sure they are not contaminated while the aliens maintain the legal authority to strong-arm less stubborn and ethical humans into submission.

In a typically undramatic Canadian ending, Percy finally took the Monsanto-ians to small claims court for six hundred bucks, a fee which he had to pay contractors to remove the contaminated crops after Monsanto refused to do it – unless he signed a confidentiality agreement.

THAT victory could go places, in my humble opinion. It doesn’t sound like much, does it? 600 bucks? But it’s an exploitable chink in the plating of Monsanto’s intergalactic hull. Now, at least in Saskatchewan, a precedent has been set that if alien spores blow into your garden it is the aliens who are financially responsible for removing the resulting abominations from your food supply, not you. And they can’t bill you for being an unwilling host to their parasitic alien appetites. So Percy Schmeiser accomplished a lot in the end, at least as far as subverting the GM industry’s goal of global control of the human food supply is concerned.

Go him!