Canadian Farmers for Justice Updates

web posted February 1997

The Vote...

In an effort to add legitimacy to his 'vote', Agriculture Minister Ralph Goodale has contracted KPMG to administer the vote as to whether the Canada Wheat Board should be abolished.

Goodale has rigged the vote early. Instead of asking whether farmers wanted to voluntarily opt out, Goodale has made sure that the status quo shall remain.

If the Canadian Wheat Board is such a great organization, how come Ontario and Quebec aren't demanding to be included?
- Ken Dillen, CFFJ member

The official editorial policy of Enter Stage Right is that the CWB should be dismantled, or at the least, the entire structure should be privatized by turning it over to farmers. The Canadian Farmers for Justice, which of course we champion, only ask that the CWB remain as it is, and those farmers who wish to stay within it can do so, and those who wish out, have the right.

While I believe that the CFFJ position is incorrect, as it is morally wrong for the government to be running a collective, their position is certainly infinitely more palatable then the government's.

Farmers were sent packages on January 23 and have until February 28 to return them. Results should be announced soon after.

But before you this (or if you want to understand why people only want choice...)

This is a letter to the editor published recently in the Leader Post.

Will Rodgers, writer, all round American cowboy, elected Senator, movie star, were just some of the accomplishments in his illustrious career, once said:

"Politicians, governments, are the enemy of the people."

Those arguments were made back in about 1900, but they are even more relevant today.

Ralph Goodale's comments in the December 30, 1996 Leader Post shows his very biased extremist views on the archaic grain marketing in western Canada.

Ralph, you talk about freedom and justice, but you don't exhibit it.

All that the majority of farmers in western Canada want is fair and honest treatment. We just want the same treatment as farmers in the rest of Canada. That is the freedom to market our products to the highest bidder. Your accusation that Farmers for Justice oppose the Canadian Wheat Board is false. Farmers for Justice members only want out of the CWB. Our basic position is, "We are prepared to turn in and surrender our permit books for life." But we are also prepared to defend and protect the rights of people who want to retain the CWB marketing option.

Every producer should want and have as broad a window as possible to market his or her product.

This should be easy to understand unless you believe in one machinery manufacturer, one grain handling company, one farm -- there is a name for that.

The people who want out should be given thirty days to opt out. And not have the choice to rejoin the CWB again for possibly another five years. The adventurous, aggressive think producers who opt out of the CWB are not doing this to hurt their bottom line, but in doing some of their innovative ways, these producers will force the CWB to crank up their performance. Result -- people who get out will set the pace and in doing so will force a better deal for those who remain in the CWB.

A win-win situation for everybody but government, who extracts two to three billion dollars out of western Canada annually through the CWB.

There is not an economic development officer in any town, city or province in western Canada that can boost the economy of the west, like freeing up the movement of wheat and barley, like this would. Every economic force in western Canada should rally for this cause.

Ralph, you talk about the "Rule of Law" and to depart from it would lead to social, economic and legal chaos.

Ralph, Canadians realize social, economic and legal chaos is here. When homes are raided in the middle of the night by armed RCMP and customs agents, making seizures of farm equipment, harassing and intimidating farmers who are guilty of nothing more than selling their product to the highest bidder. The product being what and barley that they put all the inputs (fertilizer, fuel, sweat) into, but the minute it was put into the bin, big government confiscates it. Who protects Joe Citizen from big government?

Big government, who throws a farmer in jail for five months for selling his product (wax barley) to the highest bidder. A product the CWB said there was no market for.

Ralph, you have had many opportunities to give the west its due since you did away with the Crow Benefit. The Western Grain Marketing Panel which took you a year to select and then a year to do the research was supposed to be your be-all and do-all fix. In your zeal to appease the pools, NDP and the Farmers Union, you quickly put it to death. The million dollars in taxpayer's money spent on this project should have had a better fate.

The barley vote will also go the route of the Grain Marketing Panel if the results do not go along with your philosophy.

You should win this one, Ralph. The ballot is drawn up in Ottawa, by your people, sent out to producers to vote and then sent back to Ottawa to be counted by your people. What a farce.

I wonder who would win the next federal election under similar circumstances?

Positive, progressive thinking farmers admire and follow new and better ideas -- that is progress. Your job Ralph, is not to hold back progress, but to encourage. In your efforts to regulate, control and manipulate, you are very devious. Your method to divide and rule has been around a long time and the minority who support you are not likely or able to stop your demise. Ralph, right is right, and wrong is wrong, and there is no in between ground.

Ralph, it is not too late for mediation and new direction. Western Canada has been treated as second class citizens for too long.

The CWB designated area is a designated area of second class citizens.

Canada is a great producing nation, but we need leadership from government to free up the future. Production is in good hands -- the best in the world. Marketing could be the best in the world also, if producers were freed up to expand their scope and imagination. In your efforts to protect the CWB, you are destroying it.

There are farmers who want and need the CWB and others who would like to try it on their own.

Diversity through strength through competition. Competition always has and always will be the greatest motivation known.

Art Mainil
Benson, Saskatchewan

While Mr. Mainil's prose can be somewhat...excited...the sincerity of his beliefs come through clear. Let western grain farmers sell their production without government statist collectives and stop interfering where you are not wanted.

Andy McMechan's Post Prison Tour

Lyleton farmer Andy McMechan who was in jail for 155 days (and strip searched 50 times while in jail) for hauling a load of grain into the United States was on a speaking tour of part of Alberta. Wherever McMechan went he was greeted with a shower of support and plenty of media coverage.

McMechan has stated a few times he didn't want to be a martyr and he's not...he's become an inspiration to other farmers.

CFFJ Convoy...Plenty of Charges for the Government to Lay

CFFJ member Ken Dillen stated in a newspaper article that the organization is planning to send a convoy of "500 trucks facing the border in about March."

The demonstration will be called the Dual Market Freedom Day. Rick Strankman, an Alberta farmer says of the event, "this action should help the public understand that the participants can no longer tolerate the Canadian Wheat Boards ability to take title to, and possession of our grain, without our consent. In other words, after we produce the grain, it is not ours to sell as we see fit, unlike farmers in Quebec."

This is a risky maneuver that will doubtless result in hundreds of charges, but the best of luck to those who will participate. ESR will keep you informed on this front.

Regina vs. Sawatzky - Round 2

David Sawatzky is back in court.

Sawatzky was in court on January 27 after the government appealed the acquittal of the Manitoba farmer. He had been charged with failing to provide an export license for grain which he shipped to the U.S. The judge acquitted Sawatzky because he concluded after hearing the evidence there was no specific law requiring farmers to provide export licenses to customs officials for exporting grain.

The charge is the same one upon which another Manitoba farmer, Andy McMechan, was found guilty and which led to his imprisonment for more than five months and fines and orders of $95,000. More than 100 other western farmers have also been charged.

Good luck to David and may he win again!

Farmers Urged to Boycott

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association passed a resolution recently asking its 6 000 members to avoid doing business with grain companies that support the wheat board monopoly.

The association's members of tremendous bargaining power, spending over $1 billion on inputs per year.

Farmers are also being asked not to deliver grain to elevator companies supporting the wheat board.

CFFJ on the Internet

The Canadian Farmers for Justice have just put up their web page. Right now it is fairly basic, with the CFFJ's statement of beliefs, a membership form and some their broadcast faxes in .AWD format. Visit it at

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