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Letters — for Mar. 8, 2012

Cattlemen’s checkoff story in error

Regarding the story “CCA town hall: Showcases beef industry group’s ongoing efforts,” in the Feb. 16, 2012 edition of the Manitoba Co-operator, this article attributes incorrect information to Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) vice-president Martin Unrau regarding the allocations of the $1 national checkoff.

Unrau was in fact talking about the breakdown of the CCA operating budget as funded by provincial membership fees.

No revenues from the national checkoff portion are allocated to the CCA for its budget. National checkoff funds are only available to fund market development, promotion and research programs done in the best interests of Canadian cattle producers.

National checkoff funds may not be used by the CCA for lobbying government at any level. The CCA is funded through fee assessments to its provincial cattle organization members. The assessments are based on yearly cattle marketing records for each province as a percentage of the total Canadian marketing. This percentage is then applied against the CCA budget as approved by the CCA board of directors. Provinces pay this membership to the CCA from the provincial portion of their checkoff revenues. In some provinces, this portion of the checkoff may be refundable.

Gina Teel

Communications manager

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association

Calgary, Alta.

Saskatoon aims to lure Cigi from Winnipeg

I recently had the opportunity to tour the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) facilities. The institute is an important contributor to our provincial economy, supporting the improvement of agriculture while employing approximately 35 employees in well-paying, technical jobs in Winnipeg.

For the past 40 years, Cigi has been instrumental in the promotion and utilization of Canadian field crops by customers from around the world.

In excess of 34,000 people from 110 countries have used Cigi’s research facilities and resource personnel to better utilize our homegrown grain products. Many of these customers visit Manitoba annually, spending money at local businesses during their stay.

The presence of valuable research and development facilities like Cigi contribute to various important long-terms plans for the development of Manitoba’s economy, such as CentrePort.

It has come to my attention that the City of Saskatoon has made an offer to move Cigi to their city. Losing Cigi to another province would harm the economy of Winnipeg and Manitoba.

In addition to the loss of Cigi’s skilled staff and valuable research facilities, it could have a negative impact on the potential development of a centre of excellence in grain crops research in Winnipeg. Yet the silence from the provincial NDP government on this initiative is deafening.

Greg Selinger and the NDP seem content to sit and watch while well-paying, skilled head-office jobs leave Manitoba. It is exactly this kind of attitude that is damaging our long-term economic prospects and creating huge deficits and debts that Manitobans will be forced to pass on to their children and grandchildren. Selinger and the NDP need to act now, before the economies of Winnipeg and Manitoba suffer yet another self-inflicted blow from the NDP.

Blaine Pedersen, MLA for Midland

PC Critic for Agriculture and Rural Initiatives

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