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An Open Letter To The Manitoba Cattle Producers Association

A recent letter from the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association (MCPA) to a National Farmers Union (NFU) member who had requested a refund of her MCPA checkoff went to great lengths to fabricate a fictitious partnership between the NFU and R-CALF.

Based upon previous experience related to MCPA attacks upon the Manitoba Cattle Enhancement checkoff, and the MCPA’s back-door opposition to the Rancher’s Choice initiative, I would contend that MCPA’s false allegations linking the NFU to R-CALF is nothing other than a thinly veiled attempt by MCPA to divert cattle producers’ attention away from the NFU report entitled: The Farm Crisis and the Cattle Sector (available online at

To its credit, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) has published a response to the NFU report. The NFU website makes a link to the CCA response. The NFU has urged the CCA to provide a link from their website to the NFU report.

I would challenge MCPA to use its generous budget of checkoff dollars to complete and publish a detailed response to the NFU analysis, and make arrangements for their 2009 annual convention to host a two-hour panel that focuses on the two reports. Participation on the panel would be restricted to the research directors of the NFU and MCPA and one elected director each from the NFU and MCPA.

Any effort by MCPA to ignore this challenge will demonstrate a willingness on their part to maintain the status quo at any cost to individual producers and the truth.

Fred Tait NFU Manitoba Co-ordinator Rossendale, Manitoba

Stop The Bulldozers

A bulldozer, given time, can reduce almost anything to useless rubble. It is unfortunate that we are blessed in Canada with three such men – Stephen Harper, Gerry Ritz and Elwin Hermanson.

They collectively have been trying to reduce farmers’ safety nets to rubble. In this case it turns out to be Bill C-13.

This, if passed, will emasculate the Canadian Grain Commission of its powers to protect the interests of the Prairie farmers.

Because they are removing services at three points, it will be harder to access help.

As it stands now anybody that wants to trade in grain, big or small, is required to post a bond commensurate with the type and amount of business they plan to do. If C-13 passes, all farmers who deliver to any small grain company will be in jeopardy, as there will be no security assurance.

Also part of its mandate was to grade and weigh grain being forwarded to our deep water terminals as our last chance to make sure the shipments were right. What we are doing is handing our reputation over to the multinationals that may or may not be as scrupulous as we might be in this regard.

To jeopardize this kind of advantage in our grain trade can only be described as “irrational” especially when it only entails less than pennies a bushel to cover the expenses. To have this kind of assurance is well worth it.

It would be a blessing to the farmers to cut short Harper’s reign and to resign them to the dustbin of history as quickly as they can. If C-13 comes up it would certainly be as good a time as any to choose to curtail any more nonsense by putting them down with a confidence vote. Malcolm Macdonald

Brandon, Man.

Why MWI Did Not Support The Food Charter

Manitoba Women’s Institute (MWI) did not support the Manitoba Food Charter resolution presented at our 2008 annual meeting (March 5 editorial Manitoba Co-operator) for several reasons.

The resolution asked that the “President of the MB Women’s Institute be authorized to sign the Manitoba Food Charter on behalf of the Manitoba Women’s Institute.”

The main reason MWI defeated this motion was because of the wording presented in the vision statement. In three of the seven vision statements MWI was asked:

“To ensure the rights of farmers, fishers, harvesters, processors and distributors to generate adequate incomes and to use ecologically sustainable practices.

“To ensure a sustainable balance between fair international agriculture trade and diverse vibrant production for the local market.

“To ensure the availability of a variety of affordable food for all Manitobans by: a) accessible retail outlets and food service operations and b) adequate household incomes to buy sufficient food for each household member each day for their health and basic dignity.”

When our MWI resolution committee received this resolution they checked with the presenters to make sure the wording was correct and were told it was.

The MWI Board had never been contacted about any public consultations and it was very apparent as the discussion from the floor progressed that most members attending our AGM had never heard of the Manitoba Food Charter before seeing this resolution. We were certainly not going to put our signature to a document that said we would be responsible for ENSURING adequate incomes for anyone, or ENSURING fair international agriculture trade, or ENSURING nutritious food for all Manitobans. That is why the resolution was soundly defeated by MWI.

As a point of interest, I have never read or seen that particular wording anywhere in their material since that resolution was defeated. MWI’s “Mission Statement” reads: “Manitoba Women’s Institute is an organization that focuses on personal development, family, agriculture, rural development and community action – locally and globally” and it has served us well for 99 years and into our centennial which will be celebrated in 2010.

So this year at out MWI Convention and AGM in May, we have asked the executive director of the Manitoba Food Charter to speak to us and clarify their position.

Enid Clark, President Manitoba Women’s Institute Newdale, 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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