Farmers for economic freedom

Updates from the Canadian Farm Enterprise Network, Canadian Farmers for Justice and the Prairie Centre. Several of the items appearing here originally appeared in an email list operated by Dwayne Leslie at http://www.prairielinks.com.

web posted September 20, 1999

Saskatchewan election a blow against wheat monopoly: NCC

The National Citizens' Coalition says the September 16 vote in Saskatchewan was a blow against the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly.

"Yesterday farmers sent out a clear message," says NCC president Stephen Harper. "They are fed up with the status quo, they want an end to the wheat monopoly, and they want the right to sell their own wheat."

Harper says he hopes the NDP government, which has been a staunch supporter of the monopoly, gets the message.

"When Eric Upshall, the NDP's pro-wheat board monopoly Agriculture Minister, goes down to such a surprising electoral defeat it should send the Premier a strong signal," says Harper. "Farmers are tired of Wheat Board bureaucrats and politicians who don't listen."

Harper says he is also encouraged by the Saskatchewan Party's support for dual marketing option throughout the campaign and the success it enjoyed among rural voters.

"We hope the Saskatchewan Party continues to hammer this issue home in the legislature," says Harper. "Someone has to point out how the Wheat Board monopoly is killing opportunities for farmers, like those in the Weyburn area who have been prevented from establishing a pasta manufacturing plant."

The NCC has long supported pro-free enterprise farmers who are opposing the wheat board monopoly. In recent weeks it ran a radio ad campaign across the Prairies to argue that "selling wheat should not be a crime."

The NCC is also financially supporting the Canadian Farm Enterprise Network (CFEN) and Saskatchewan farmer Dave Bryan who are challenging the wheat monopoly in the courts.

Bryan is awaiting leave to appeal his case in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Playing Monopoly

In this game, you are a Canadian farmer who grows wheat. The object of the game is to stay in the business of farming. You will have to contend with fickle weather, equipment breakdowns, fluctuating commodity prices, weeds, pests, crop failure, escalating input costs, and inconsistent government regulations.

Your success in farming will ultimately depend on your ability to keep your production costs lower than your revenue from grain sales. Keep in mind, however, that if you farm on the Prairies, government regulation removes your control over some of your primary production costs and gives you no say in the final selling price of your wheat.

Good luck, and enjoy the game!

Game Rules:

1. If you farm in Ontario, you may sell your wheat through the Ontario Wheat Board, or directly on the open market (using the new Producer Direct Marketing program). Direct producer sales may be made to Canadian, U.S. or foreign buyers. There is no penalty for exercising this option. Take another turn.

2. If you farm on the Prairies, however, you may only sell your wheat through the Canadian Wheat Board. If you attempt to market your wheat directly on the open market, go directly to jail, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

3. If you farm in Ontario, you can choose from one, or a combination, of six marketing programs. These programs employ various pricing arrangements with a significant measure of transparency. Move ahead 5 spaces.

4. If you farm on the Prairies, you are not entitled to know the price your wheat sold for. You will only be told the average price earned on CWB wheat sales throughout the year. If you insist on more specific information, you must go back 10 spaces for not blindly accepting the fact that government knows what is best for you.

5. Players may own more than one farm in different areas of the country, but must observe the government laws and regulations in effect in the area where the wheat is grown. An explanation of the inconsistencies in these laws and regulations is not included in this game and is deemed unnecessary. Just play the game.

6. Transporting your Ontario wheat to the Prairies in order to market it is permissible under the Ontario Producer Direct Marketing program. There is no penalty for exercising this option. Take another turn.

7. Transporting your Prairie wheat to Ontario in order to market it, is not permitted. If you make this move, go directly to jail, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

8. Players who farm in Ontario and wish to increase their profits by marketing directly to their own mill or pasta plant may do so without penalty. Take another turn.

9. Players who farm on the Prairies and wish to increase their profits by marketing directly to their own mill or pasta plant are not permitted to do so without penalty. If you make this move, you must go back 10 spaces and miss your next turn.

10. Throughout the game, players may attempt to change the rules concerning wheat marketing in their area, providing the majority of farmers in that area agree to the changes.

11. Notwithstanding rule #10, no provision exists in this game for the implementation of dual marketing on the Prairies. Unlike Ontario, the only marketing options for the Prairies are a completely open market, or the existing monopoly system. An explanation of this contradiction will not be given and is deemed unnecessary. Just play the game.

12. If players insist on dual marketing for the Prairies, the sky will fall, ending the game. Dual-marketing in Ontario will not cause the sky to fall, however. Designers of this game insist that there is no contradiction here. Trust me.

13. This is not a game.

Craig Docksteader is Coordinator with the Prairie Centre/Centre for Prairie Agriculture, Inc. "Where Do We Go From Here" is a feature service of the Prairie Centre.

Prairie Centre/Centre for Prairie Agriculture, Inc.
#205, 1055 Park Street
Regina, SK
S4N 5H4

Phone: 306-352-3828
Fax: 306-352-5833
Web site: http://www.prairiecentre.org
Email: prairie.centre@sk.sympatico.ca


The CFEN needs your help! The battle against the Canada Wheat Board can only continue with your support.

Canadian Farm Enterprise Network
Box 521
Central Butte, Saskatchewan
S0H 0T0
CANADA

Write the following and demand free market rights for Western Canadian farmers!

The Canadian Wheat Board
423 Main Street
P.O. Box 816, Stn. M.
Winnipeg, MB
Canada
R3C 2P5

Telephone: (204) 983-0239 / 1-800-ASK-4-CWB
Fax: (204) 983-3841

Email Address: cwb@cwb.ca

Ralph Goodale
Minister Responsible for the Canada Wheat Board
Department of Natural Resources Canada
21 - 580 Booth Street
Ottawa, ON
Canada
K1A 0E4

Telephone: (613)996-2007
Fax Number: (613)996-4516
Email Address: rgoodale@NRCan.gc.ca




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