Farmers for economic freedom
Updates from the Canadian Farm Enterprise Network and the Canadian Farmers for Justice. Several of the items appearing here originally appeared in an email list operated by Dwayne Leslie at http://www3.mb.sympatico.ca/~dleslie/aglinks.htm
The Flat Earth Society -- defending the indefensible
By Kevin Avram
I had an aunt who went to her grave believing the world was flat. She
was a wonderful lady. She grew up during a hard time, was poor, and
had little education. I once asked her where the edge of the earth was
located. If the world was flat like a plate - as she always claimed
it was - the outer edge must be somewhere. She said she didnt
know, but thought it might be out in
My aunt was a sincere woman, honest in her dealings with people. Despite her honesty with other people, however, she wasnt always honest with herself. On some issues she was governed by a kind of superstition, on others she was plain narrow-minded. She would choose to believe things because they were convenient.
Unfortunately, she reached a point where she so closely identified with her narrow-minded ideas that it actually became a type of prison within which she lived.
When I page through any number of farm or rural weekly newspapers,
and read the letters defending and promoting the Canadian Wheat Board
(CWB) monopoly, my aunt comes to mind. I realize that some of the writers
of these letters are probably not unlike her - people who are motivated
not by what they know, but by what they choose to believe. Consider
the evidence: Under the CWB monopoly, the system is expensive, unaccountable,
and slow. The Canadian Grain
Add to this the fact that the CWB operates behind a cloak of secrecy and that not one Canadian farmer knows how much a bushel of the grain he delivered to the CWB has ever been sold for, and the picture is complete. Anyone who would fight to keep such a system intact is obviously not driven by what he knows but by what he believes.
In spite of this, the defenders of the CWB monopoly continue to put forward the tired old idea that the CWB was created to protect farmers from the Grain Exchange. Once a person accepts this as being true, no further evidence or evaluation is supposed to be necessary. Its a convenient way to deal with the complete absence of credibility behind the doctrines of the institution.
The only problem is that it isnt true. The CWB monopoly was created in 1943 for the specific purpose of holding down wheat prices during the war. Its true that the agricultural branch of the Flat Earth Society had been lobbying for a Wheat Board monopoly throughout the 1930s (and eventually took credit for its creation) but their noisy ramblings were not the reason the monopoly was created. In fact, anyone can go to a public library, see photo records of newspapers from September of 1943, and read in detail about how it happened. As the historic record clearly shows that the CWB monopoly was set up to systematically control farmers and deny them access to higher market returns, anyone who seriously investigates the matter will quickly abandon the agricultural fraternity of the Flat Earth Society.
Incidentally, the Flat Earth Society really does exist. Sending $20 to Drawer 369, Hanna, Alberta, T0J 1P0 can purchase a membership. If my aunt were alive Id buy one in her name and give her the membership certificate for Christmas, or her birthday. Who knows, if wed been able to laugh about it, over time, she might have come around.
Since shes not around anymore, Ive been thinking I should take the names of three or four people who have a track record of defending the indefensible, and sign them up. I dont know if they would hang the certificates on their wall or not, but whether they see the humour in it or not, it is true that some of these guys have taken the same approach to agricultural policy that my old aunt did to science.
Kevin Avram is Chairman of the Advisory Board with the Prairie Centre/Centre for Prairie Agriculture, Inc.
Prairie Centre/Centre for Prairie Agriculture
Vote rigging feared in CWB election
Canada Agriculture (http://www.agcanada.com/), on July 19, reported that boundaries proposed for the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) director elections appear designed to rig voting in favor of pro-monopoly candidates, according to Larry Maguire, president of the Western Wheat Growers Association.
He was commenting on federal proposals that would see as many as 7 of the 10 producer-elected directors come from Saskatchewan, where farmers are considered the most supportive of single- desk selling. Alberta farmers would be guaranteed only 2 directors and Manitoba farmers just one. Four of the electoral districts cross a provincial boundary, and 3 are exclusively in Saskatchewan.
"This is a classic example of gerrymandering by a government that has done everything in its power to prop up a compulsory system," says Maguire.
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