Keeping up with Friends

CFSC on the CBC

CFSC’s criminal justice program coordinator Verena Tan was interviewed on CBC’s The Sunday Edition at the beginning of April. Verena and host Michael Enright discussed CFSC’s research suggesting that judges may not be considering the impacts on children when sentencing parents. With well over a million listeners we hope this interview will help spark national interest. For a link to the interview and the report visit:

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement

Canada is seeking to update the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA). The proposed Agreement includes some commendable features, including chapters on gender, corporate responsibility, labour, and environmental protections. However CIFTA also has some glaring omissions. The 2018 European cooperation agreement with Israel makes it clear that the benefits of the agreement do not extend to goods from Israel’s settlements in illegally occupied Palestinian territory. Canada considers the settlements illegal and a serious impediment to peace. Canadian Quakers have collectively encouraged a boycott of settlement goods in keeping with our concern for the wellbeing of all in the region. Therefore, a new joint letter to Senators requests changes to CIFTA to bring it in line with Canada’s legal and moral obligations. The letter was signed by UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk, Amnesty International Canada, Independent Jewish Voices, The United Church, Mennonite Central Committee, and CFSC:

New video on growing up around people in trouble with the law

In a new four minute video interview CFSC member Joy Morris describes some of what she learned from a rather unusual upbringing. Joy explains that she grew up in a household where her mother, Ruth Morris, regularly welcomed people to stay while they were awaiting trail for crimes ranging from petty drug offenses to murder. Watch the video at

Living clothing, bioweapons, and edited twins – synthetic biology 2019

Scientists, technology-enthusiasts, and corporations hope to create novel life forms. They seek to move from evolution through natural selection into a moment of ever more human-conceived and designed life. Once a year we round up and share stories making headlines in this weird world of “synthetic biology.” These updates are not technical and don’t demand any science background. This year we briefly cover:

  • Editing humans: edits of twin babies born last year–the health implications for the twins, and what other human editing may lie on the horizon
  • Gene drives: updates on attempts to crash populations of mosquitoes and mice in the wild
  • Bioweapons: a virus created with mail-order DNA and US military funded research
  • Skin products: yeast-secreted sunscreen and skin products
  • Patents: the corporate control of genetic information
  • Clothes: plans for clothes that sense and communicate, leather from lab-made human skin
  • Plants: claims about the need to genetically edit crops and other plants.

We’re on Instagram

CFSC is pleased to launch its Instagram account. If you’re on the platform follow us for behind-the-scenes photos of our work in action. If you’re not on Instagram you can still see the photos by visiting