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Letters – for Oct. 1, 2009

MWI intervened to save home economics

I read with interest, the item, “Home economics heads to the second century at U of M.” (Pg. 12, Sept. 17, 2009)

Members of Manitoba Women’s Institute, an organization that has from the start been closely connected with the University of Manitoba and home economics, will also celebrate its centenary in 2010. This little detail has been clearly ignored along with the fact that this faculty owes its very survival in 1999 to the direct intense intervention of Manitoba Women’s Institute. Granted, when we held our final pivotal meeting with Emoke Szathmary, president, and James Gardner, vice-president of the University of Manitoba, one of the home economics alumni making up the delegation, was Chris Hamblin, then a vice-president of Keystone Agricultural Producers. Others were: Gwen Parker, formerly a 26-year executive secretary of MWI, Lois Neabel, a past president and active member of MWI, Susan Van De Velde, a director of Wawanesa Mutual and Helen Rigby, 1998-2000 president of MWI and retired income tax consultant. Neabel was the only non-farmer, but also had strong rural roots. Parker, Van De Velde and Neabel had early in their careers worked as home economists in the Manitoba Agriculture’s extension services.

One might suggest that the Manitoba Co-operator would in the near future present to its readers some history of this valuable organization.

Helen Rigby Killarney, Man.

Carbon Credit Grab Will Discourage BMPs

It is quite interesting and surprising to read in the Sept. 17 edition of the Manitoba Co-operator that Loni Scott of MAFRI and Ian Wishart of KAP have joined forces. In Ron Friesen’s article they agree and state that the province of Manitoba has a right to confiscate – and will seize any carbon credits attributed to any BMP that has received a financial incentive from the government. Really!

When the cow-calf sector provides a “Best Management Practice” there is invariably much more than the carbon credit offset involved. For instance, the BMP related to seeding perennial forages on sensitive lands will not only increase the ability of that land to absorb carbon. It will also offset the threat of erosion, provide wildlife habitat enabling us to continue feeding the province’s deer, moose and geese, and provide plant and wildlife biodiversity within the landscape. It will increase the ability of the land to absorb water and recharge the groundwater supply, aid in the maintenance of the watershed and help keep our “wetlands” wet and aquifers full, increase the aesthetic appeal of the countryside, provide an environment where endangered plant and wildlife species can survive and thrive, reduce the use of sprays and fertilizers on the landscape, and the list goes on. And all of these environmental goods and services are provided free – no cost to society.

Perhaps Wishart and Scott should consider that by supporting the notion of expropriating the carbon credits associated with a BMP, they are recommending the implementation of a process whereby any financial incentive to practise or employ a Best Management Practice will be neutralized. The cattlemen and women of this country – by virtue of our close connection to the land – will be significant players in any attempts to salvage and maintain our natural environmental capital. Excluding or discouraging the cow-calf sector from playing a prominent role in any farm stewardship program is a mistake.

Who comes up with these ideas anyway?

Brian Sterling Tilston, Man.

Tough Questions For Wheat Board Critics

I feel forced to enter the debate about the Canadian Wheat Board. I have no vested interest, but remember why the wheat board was formed.

I feel the vote (on barley in 2007) was very misleading as there was no chance of (marketing) choice being viable.

If the wheat board did not need elevators to compete, why would James Richardson spend $268 million to purchase the elevators Viterra was forced to sell?

If the price is so much better in the U. S. why would those buyers not go to the wheat board and save money for their customers?

A member of Parliament said if the U. S. put a tariff on the government would appeal. Would this mean paying 20 per cent as in soft wood?

The buyers of wheat board grain want to get rid of the wheat board so they can buy cheaper at the same time sellers want to get rid of the board so they can sell higher. This requires some explaining.

Companies and businesses the world over are amalgamating and taking over other businesses to get larger to be better able to control more of their costs and selling price.

Some farmers want to do the exact opposite. It was reported that over 7,000 farmers sold below wheat board price, so take a look.

The wheat board may not be perfect but it might be a lot better than giant corporations.

If the government wants to get rid of the wheat board, have a realistic vote and let the farmers decide. If there is a negative vote so be it. There are many large farmers who strongly support the board.

Elgin Routledge

Virden, Man.

Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or e-mail: [email protected](subject: To the editor)

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