GFM Network News


Editor’s Take: Who’d have thought?

It’s been another week of surprises. Who’d have thought we’d see gasoline prices below 60 cents a litre again? Who’d have thought we’d see the federal government backstopping 75 per cent of the wage bill for the entire country? Who’d have guessed the concept of a universal basic income would suddenly be on the minds

Editorial: Coronavirus situation offers strange times

I’m sure most of us are feeling a sense of other-worldliness these days. It’s like we’re suddenly at war, but against an unseen enemy. The prime minister holds daily briefings outside his residence, while observing his own self-quarantine. The U.S. border has slammed shut for weeks and possibly months to anything but essential traffic. Domestic


Editor’s Take: We’re all in this together

As the March 19 issue went to press, Manitoba has confirmed its first three cases of COVID-19 infections (now expanded to seven). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had entered a 14-day isolation period after his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, tested positive for the virus after returning from a speaking engagement in the U.K. Parliamentarians had suspended




A demonstrator stands at a blockade on CN track west of Edmonton on Feb. 19, 2020.

Editor’s Take: Leadership needed on rail blockades

Where do the rights of protesters end and the responsibility of government begin? In the Canada of 2020, that’s no longer a rhetorical question or a philosophical exercise. It’s a reality that governments and citizens find themselves grappling with. The recent rail blockades are disrupting lives and the national economy with serious repercussions. For a

Despite a good early effort, a CN strike and landslides on both main lines had already set the stage for problems.

Derailed: Protests cause grain shipping turmoil

The many moving parts of Canada’s rail network mean it will be weeks or months before normalcy returns

The head of Canada’s grain transportation monitor didn’t mince words during a recent conversation following a spate of protests that have disrupted rail service on the national level. “I’m really glad I don’t work for a railway this week,” Mark Hemmes of Quorum Corp. said by telephone Feb. 19 from his Edmonton office. “This has

Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal agriculture minister, attended CropConnect 2020 last week in Winnipeg.

Bibeau announces funding, but offers little on standing issues

The federal agriculture minister spoke briefly last week in Winnipeg

The federal agriculture minister told CropConnect attendees about two new programs last week, but had little new to say on long-standing producer concerns. Marie-Claude Bibeau was at the annual event to meet with Manitoba farmers and while there announced a total of $1.2 million in funding for the grain industry. Most of the money is


The farm sector isn’t yet well positioned to fix its labour shortage problem — and it’s not entirely clear large parts of it can be.

Editor’s Take: Farm labour in short supply

Ordinarily, when there’s a shortage of something in the marketplace, classic economic theory tells us prices will rise along with demand, until producers create more of whatever is in short supply. It works for manufacturing, mining and even farming, where the old saying is that “nothing solves high prices like high prices,” alluding to the

Meeting the farm worker shortage in Manitoba is a big – and fast-growing challenge.

Working it out: Manitoba needs a farm labour plan

The province sees the highest cost for unfilled positions

The farm labour shortage is expected to hit Manitoba harder than any other province because of its diversity of agricultural products. That’s according to Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, executive director of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council, who spoke last week at the Keystone Agricultural Producers annual meeting in Winnipeg. “Because of the product mix that you