CFIA complainant files appeal over continued mislabelling of wines

vin3.pngMontreal, August 8, 2017  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) seeks to draw attention to Dr. David Kattenburg, a Winnipeg resident who lodged formal complaints with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) earlier this year over the mislabelling of wines produced in Israel’s colonies (aka “settlements”) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). In his persistent fight to hold the CFIA accountable to their own standards, yesterday Dr. Kattenburg filed to appeal the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)’s decision to allow the continued mislabelling of wines from Israeli colonies. 

In July, the CFIA issued a directive to prohibit the importation and sale of any wines falsely labelled as “Product of Israel.” However, after coming under immense pressure from pro-Israel lobbies and organizations, the CFIA retracted its initial decision by citing a little-known provision in the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA), whereby “Israel” is considered “territory where its customs laws are applied.” However, as CJPME has pointed out in the past, CIFTA does not override existing Canadian consumer labelling laws. In response to these recent events, CJPME President Thomas Woodley added, “Canadians expect honest labelling practices from their government. This case shows the government applying a blatant double standard to Israel by allowing violations of both international and domestic law.”

CJPME notes that this ongoing struggle with the CFIA is emblematic of a more overarching problem: Canada is out of touch with international law and consensus on the issue of Israel-Palestine. CJPME points out that UN Security Council resolution 2334 (December 2016) called on the Israeli government to cease all settlement activities in the OPT. The resolution furthermore beseeches UN member states, including Canada, to distinguish between the state of Israel and the OPT in their economic dealings. The CFIA’s flip-flop on wine labelling indicates that the government has no intention of complying with the UN Security Council’s directives.   

Dr. Kattenburg’s appeal calls on the CFIA to reinstate their initial decision to prohibit the importation and sale of wines produced in illegal Jewish-only colonies in the OPT. Should his appeal prove unsuccessful, Dr. Kattenburg intends to pursue his case in filing for a judicial review of the CFIA’s decision in federal court. Dr. Kattenburg is a scientist and educator, as well as the child of holocaust survivors. He is prepared to speak to media representatives through his lawyer, Dimitri Lascaris, who can be reached by email at alexander.lascaris@gmail.com or by telephone at (519) 851-5991

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact Miranda Gallo, 438-380-5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org

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