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Strikes affect grain shipments from coast to coast

Our History: September 1974

Still around after all these years — this ad from the Sept. 19, 1974 issue encouraged farmers to try Avadex for fall application. However, the then-recommended method of harrowing it in twice at 90-degree angles has certainly changed.

News about strikes affecting grain shipments were common in that era, but that issue’s front page covered not one but three events. Grain handlers were striking at the West Coast, and eastern shipments were stalled by a dispute between lake vessel owners and deck officers. There were prospects of settling that dispute, but a new strike of seaway pilots had started the previous week.

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The labour disruptions were partly due to workers concerned about wages keeping up with high inflation during the 1970s. In response to high food prices, the Pierre Trudeau government had appointed a Food Prices Review Board headed by Beryl Plumptre. Ms. Plumptre criticized high egg prices caused by actions of the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency (CEMA), putting her in a public dispute with Agriculture Minister Eugene Whelan, who called her comments “hogwash.” This earned a public rebuke from fellow cabinet minister André Ouellette. Meanwhile, CEMA was in hot water due to reports that a further three million eggs had rotted in storage, and there were claims that the total could reach 200 million between August and October.

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