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June 25, 2020 - 2:43pm

Press release:

After fiercely advocating for federal aid to New York’s dairy farmers in the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today urged United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer to quickly raise concerns about Canada evading its commitments under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Canada agree to eliminate harmful dairy trade practices, including its Class 7 pricing program (Class 6 in Ontario) and lack of transparency in milk-pricing regulations. Both were explicitly addressed in the agreement, which enters into force next week on July 1.

“New York’s dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the Upstate economy, but unfortunately, they have been squeezed by the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis,” Senator Schumer said. “That is why I am calling on Ambassador Lighthizer to do everything in his power to ensure that Canada abides by its dairy trade obligations and eliminates its unfair and harmful pricing programs and practices that unfairly impeded Upstate New York dairy farmers from freely selling their product – as agreed to in the new trade agreement with Canada, the USMCA.

As the trade deal enters into force next week, it is imperative that our New York dairy farmers are able to sell their products into Canada and churn up profits that mitigate the huge losses they have suffered this year.”

“USMCA requires Canada to provide new market access for American dairy products and to eliminate its destructive Classes 6 and 7 milk pricing schemes,” said Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president for Policy Strategy and International Trade with the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “While not unexpected, Canada’s efforts to manipulate its agreed upon trade obligations to protect its tightly controlled dairy market are unacceptable.

"Canada needs to live up to the commitments it made to the U.S. on dairy. America’s dairy industry appreciates Senator Schumer for his leadership on this issue and we support Ambassador Lighthizer and Secretary Purdue as the U.S. works to hold Canada accountable to its commitments under USMCA.”

“Cayuga Milk Ingredients applauds the efforts of New York’s Senator Schumer for raising concerns over Canada’s recent request for dairy pricing secrecy within the Ontario Provincial Tribunal and their most recent administration of TRQs," said Kevin J. Ellis, CEO Cayuga Milk Ingredients. "On both issues, Canada is showing they have no desire to act in good faith with respect to the trade commitments they made underneath USMCA.

"Cayuga Milk Ingredients suffered a loss of nearly $24 million of sales in 2016 when Canada implemented a National Class 7 pricing scheme that was specifically and intentionally designed to stop the importation of ultra-filtered milk. Based on these latest events, it appears Canada cannot be trusted to honor its trade commitments with the United States,”

Craig Alexander, senior director, Milk Planning and Regulatory Affairs at O-AT-KA Milk Products in Batavia, said, “A foundation principle of the new USMCA pertaining to Canada was transparency of pricing formulation and the elimination of its Class 7 pricing. We appreciate Senator Schumer’s push for Canada to live up to its commitments in this agreement.

"Canada should not obscure information on pricing now in order to artificially create a pricing environment that will keep us at a disadvantage once these USMCA provisions go into force. Furthermore, Canada’s implementation of TRQs negotiated as part of USMCA and reserving increased access almost entirely to existing Canadian dairy companies is evidence that Canada has not changed its past history of circumventing trade agreements.

"If Canada simply held up their end of the deal on eliminating Class 7 and fair implementation of TRQs, we could again get a fair shake at the opportunities to serve the Canadian market going forward.”

Schumer explained that under USMCA, Canada agreed to eliminate Class 6 & 7 pricing within six months. However, the Senator revealed, Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), which represents approximately 4,000 Canadian dairy farmers, has recently requested that Ontario’s tribunal, which provides an avenue of appeal on agriculture issues, grant restricted access to DFO’s pricing regulations.

Schumer argued that with only a few days left until the USMCA is set to enter into force, the lack of transparency and timing of DFO’s request raises questions about whether or not Canada is seeking to circumvent its dairy commitments in USMCA.

Additionally, Schumer pointed out, under USMCA, Canada agreed to an expansion of tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for several categories of U.S. dairy products. However, the U.S. dairy industry has raised concerns that Canada’s recently released TRQ allocations weaken the intent of USMCA and will prevent New York dairy farmers from fully benefiting from the agreement’s expanded market access opportunities.

May 15, 2014 - 2:26pm
posted by Patricia Hawley in photography, Canada, fashion, art galleries, toronto.

Local photographer Susan Meier, owner of Susan Meier Photography in Batavia, has been selected to exhibit a photograph in the Todmorden Papermill Gallery in Toronto, Canada. Her black and white print, “Feathered” will be on view beginning May 21 through June 7 as part of the Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators (CAPIC) show.


This is the first time that Meier has submitted work for consideration to the gallery. “I was encouraged to send a photo to the CAPIC show by Struan Campbell,” she said. Campbell, a fashion photographer, met Meier when she participated in his photography workshop in Buffalo earlier this year. “I prefer fashion photography because I love working with people to create a theme - the more fantastical the better!” she admits. Her daughter, Katelyn, posed for “Feathered” in a series of photographs that included wreaths, masks, and hair ornaments all constructed of feathers. “I start with a theme and then add layers,” Meier says, “until I get the desired effect.” 


A life-long resident of Genesee County, Susan is a self-taught artist and has been taking photographs for over 30 years. “I won a camera in a coloring contest and that sparked my interest,” she said. She continues her professional development by “taking workshops whenever I can.” Clinics, workshops, and intensive training inspire her both creatively and technically. “There’s always more to learn about lighting and composition to improve your craft.” Susan’s work has been shown locally at the Gallery at Blue Pearl Yoga, Richmond Memorial Library, Genesee Community College, Moon Java Cafe, GoArt!, and Muller Quaker. Her studio located in the Harvester Artisan Center at 56 Harvester Avenue in Batavia also serves as a gallery of her work. 


Building on the success of the CAPIC submission, Susan is preparing an image to submit to Image City Photography Gallery in Rochester. She is also a participating artist in 6x62014- the widely acclaimed International Small Art Show at Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) in June. An active member of the Batavia Photography Club, Susan received four awards at their recent annual meeting: Best Color Digital; Best Color Print; Image of the Year; Most Advanced Photographer of the Year. 


Meier says “It has taken time, dedication, education, expense and persistence but submitting and getting accepted into galleries is a great step forward  for me. I look forward to expanding the visibility of my craft while sharing what I love to do!”


To learn more about Susan Meier Photography or to book a photo session visit her website at www.suemeier.com or call 585.861.0415. You can also visit her gallery at 56 Main Street, Harvester Avenue, Batavia, part of the Harvester Artisan Center.

July 23, 2012 - 7:33am
posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors, nature, Canada, black bears, bear hunting, Quebec.

The photo above depicts a Canadian sunset over a placid and serene Lac Remigny. The photo was provided courtesy of Batavians Larry Smith and Paul Barrett, two longtime outdoorsmen who head to the North Country in pursuit of black bears.

It turns out the pair had themselves an adventure, one they chose to share with The Batavian. And as you will see from their photos, in addition to their pursuit of black bears, the pair took time to enjoy the scenery, the wildlife and the hospitality.

Their trip began in early June with an eight-hour drive to Remigny, Quebec, Canada, where Barrett and Smith renewed acquaintances with Mark Kepka and his wife, Gosia, the owner/operators of Camps Ronoda. 

Barrett and Smith arrived at Remigny on Saturday, June 9th and the next evening ventured to their assigned hunting locations for the first time. Hunting 16 miles from camp and posted three miles from one another, both Batavians saw bears that first evening on stand. Photo above shows the roads and terrain they traveled through to get to their stands.

"I saw my first bear in the wild that Sunday evening," said Larry Smith, who was hunting from a ladder stand.

Heeding the camp owner's words, he passed on the opportunity to shoot even though the bear was within 20 yards of him.

"The bigger bears will tend to show up later in the week. Because you are a 'strange' odor in the area, the big bears will keep their distance until they get accustomed to your scent," Smith said, echoing his host's advice. "During that time you tend to see smaller bears. Mark told us to be patient, wait until midweek if we want to see bigger bears."

Instead of shooting, Larry put his camcorder to use and got some footage of his first bruin encounter.

That same evening Paul Barrett also had an encounter with a black bear, though a bit more confrontational than this marauding raccoon he photographed as it raided the bait bucket.

Unlike his companion, Barrett was not in a ladder stand, but instead situated on a rock outcropping overlooking the bait pail.

"A big bear came in from right to left, 12 feet below and 20 yards away," he said. "It sniffed the air then ran off into thick brush. Ten minutes later I heard his teeth snapping -- definitely not a good sign. The bear was by that time behind me, over my left shoulder about 20 feet away. Now above and behind me, the bear lumbered back and forth, trying to get me to move," he continued.

With his Remington model 700 338/06 custom-built rifle in his lap, Paul opted for his camcorder and, as his companion had done, got several minutes of footage, albeit in dense brush. The bear eventually walked off.

On Tuesday, June 12th, Larry Smith was once again seated in his ladder stand when, at about 8 p.m. he noticed movement on the ground below and to his left.

"She came in on the same path I had used to walk in four hours earlier," he said. "She stopped briefly at the base of my ladder and looked up at me before moving on. She went straight to the bait pail, situated 6 feet off the ground and full of ground up cookies and meat scraps." It was noted that the bait pails are placed at the 6-foot height to give the hunter an indication of the bear's size. 

"She reared up on her hind legs facing away from me and began removing meat scraps from the pail, at which time I decided to harvest this bear." A single 180-grain bullet from Smith's Remington 700 30-06 did the trick. "She fell backward, then ran about 25 yards before she collapsed," he concluded.   

By then it was getting dark in the dense woods and, having previously heard reports of wolves -- or even larger bears -- that will come in to a kill, Larry thought it a good idea to get the outfitter on his way.

"He needed to travel 16 miles and offload his ATV so let's get him started in this direction," he thought to himself. When Mark Kepka arrived the first words out of his mouth -- before spotting the bear -- were, "Is it dead?" His concern was tracking a wounded bear in the the bush, nighttime or otherwise. I was also informed Kepka carries no gun in such a situation, only a flashlight and a knife. The task of finishing off a wounded bear is left to the hunter.

Paul Barrett was also at the scene by the time Mark Kepka had arrived. And he had some news of his own.

"I was sitting on the same rock outcropping when I heard Larry's shot. I immediately texted him and learned of his kill. I then texted my wife, Kathleen, back home in Batavia to her inform her of Larry's kill." 

No sooner had Paul done that when he had a visitor.

"Approximately seven minutes after texting my wife, a bear approached from behind and over my right shoulder. It then wandered off to my right for a couple of minutes before circling around me and heading directly for the bait. It stood on its hind legs and I put one shot right between the shoulder blades."     

Meanwhile, Larry is back at his stand, not having heard the report of his companion's gun and waiting for Mark to arrive. At this time he, too, decided to text his wife, Julie, and daughter, Melissa. Like Kathleen, their reaction was one of excitement, delight and enthusiasm.

Paul's big boar weighed in at 400 pounds, while Larry's tipped the scale at 200. The bears were 5 and 9 years of age and by their calculations, they were taken 11 minutes apart.

"The morning after the bear harvest we had a photo shoot before Mark and his dad, Henry, skinned and quartered both bears before freezing them. We each brought back four quarters of bear meat plus the pelts," said Paul, who plans on having a rug made from his bear hide while Larry opted for a full standup mount. 

Both Paul Barrett and Larry Smith pointed out that when they began the search process for an outfitter, the Kepkas came highly recommended and they actually met with them three times prior to their hunt.

"I would classify the Kepka's operation at Camps Ronoda as remarkable -- accommodations, meals, hospitality, amenities, all of it," Larry Smith said.

His sentiments were echoed by Paul Barrett who also lauded the culinary skills of Gosia Kepka.

"Truly remarkable. She cooked two meals a day, breakfast and dinner," he said. When I asked about lunch, he quickly added, "you don't need lunch -- the portions at breakfast and dinner are huge."

Camps Ronoda has been outfitting sportsmen since 1948. In addition to bear hunters, they serve fishermen, duck and goose hunters and offer grouse, woodcock and small game hunts. 

They can be contacted at:

1337 Rue de L' Eglise

Remigny, Quebec, JOZ 3110


September 6, 2009 - 4:31pm
posted by Bea McManis in Health Care, Canada.

August 12, 2009 - 8:08am
posted by Peter O'Brien in Obamacare, Canada.

Thanks to Scott Atlas we learn that American Health Care (rated number 1 in the world in patient care by the liberal WHO) is much better than Canada's Public Health Care system.

1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

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