You may remember the June 1996 edition of Enter Stage Right telling you about David Sawatzky. The Alberta farmer was acquitted by Judge Arnold Connor for selling wheat across the Canada-U.S. border without the permission of the Canadian Wheat Board. The prestigious Earth is Flat Award was even given to Ralph Goodale (Federal Agriculture Minister) and the Canadian government.
Well, it seems that the Canadian government is not yet finished with its attack on capitalism. The Federal government charged eighteen more farmers from Saskatchewan and Alberta with exporting wheat without a valid license. Their trial is scheduled to begin November 21. Many producers are pressing for an end to the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly and some have been crossing the Canadian-United States border to sell wheat in defiance of the law.
The government was not finished with merely charging farmers. In early July a federal government panel astonishingly found that the Canadian Wheat Board should continue to be the sole marketer for most classes of wheat. Only too willing to be the slaves to demand their chains back, the National Farmers Union supports the continuation of the Wheat Board believing that farmers earned their best rewards because of the boards monopoly on grain exports.
July also saw 100 farmers protesting outside of a Brandon, Manitoba jail to protest the imprisonment of farmer Andy McMechan. McMechan was involved in protests against the wheat board's monopoly on exports. He was jailed in mid-July for breaching a bail condition by refusing to turn over his tractor to Canada Customs.
The only thing that these farmers wish to do is to sell their grain to the highest bidder. Its called capitalism, the only free interaction between human beings. The Federal government does not seem to be aware that by destroying the free exchange of goods it is attacking the very notion of freedom itself. The only controls needed in capitalism are those mutually agreed upon by the seller and the consumer.
There is no doubting the ability of the Canadian government to enforce their whims. People invest in governments a monopoly of force to protect them from internal and external threats. What is in question is whether the Canadian government has the moral right to impose something like the Canadian Wheat Board on farmers and Canadians in general. A majority of farmers may support the Canadian Wheat Board, but that does not give them the right to impose it on all farmers.
The Canadian Wheat Board must be dismantled. If some, or most, farmers wish to use a collective to sell their wheat, that is something that they should be involved in and not the federal government. The farmers being persecuted for practicing capitalism are exercising their right to engage in commerce and that is something that the federal government has no business being mixed up with.
Support freedom. Support the Eighteen.
And it's not just the government...
According to a recent poll by Environics for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Lung Association, a strong majority of Canadians want licensed tobacco shops. As with alcohol, tobacco would only by sold in outlets specifically designated for that purpose. According to the survey, 70 per cent of Canadians outside of Quebec and 65 per cent of Quebecers would support something like this.
The poll also found that people were supportive of tax breaks for non-tobacco companies who support cultural and sporting events , something that tobacco companies do quite often currently. The three agencies intend on using these poll results to pressure the federal government to pass harsh new laws concerning tobacco.
Two things I'd like to remind people of. First, tobacco is an individual choice. I realize people love to attack the tobacco companies (and I'm not defending some of their past actions), but people make the choice to use tobacco themselves. Second, this is still a country of freedom. The majority does not have the right to decide where a legal product like tobacco is sold. The majority does not have the right to decide how accessible something will be, and the majority does not have the right to alter the market balance through government action.
I like how people want to be free...as long as the other person isn't...
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