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LETTERS – for Dec. 11, 2008

Third party interveners must register

Open letter to Ian Craven, CWB election co-ordinator, Meyers Norris Penny

Several Conservative members of Parliament from Western Canada, including David Anderson, MP for Cypress Hills-Grasslands, sent letters to voters in the CWB director elections instructing them to vote for specific candidates. These letters were sent during the week of Nov. 24 in the midst of the CWB director elections.

The letters from David Anderson and the other Conservative MPs promote individual candidates by name and are explicit in telling farmers how to use the preferential voting system to vote for candidates endorsed by the Conservative MPs.

The cost of the Conservative letters and postage were paid by the taxpayers.

These letters from the MPs were specifically addressed to voters, using names and addresses that appear to have been derived from the Meyers Norris Penny voters’ list. The NFU has raised this issue with the federal privacy commissioner.

The National Farmers Union argues strongly that these letters from Conservative MPs constitute direct advertising in the CWB director elections. Any third party that seeks to influence the outcome of the vote in the CWB director elections must register as a third-party intervener.

David Anderson and his fellow Conservative MPs did not register as third-party interveners in the CWB director elections, as required by the election regulations under the CWB Act.

The National Farmers Union did. We have been very open and forthcoming about our initiatives with regard to the CWB director elections. During the election campaign, we published a flyer advocating voters’ support for single-desk candidates, and distributed those unaddressed flyers through Canada Post to rural mailboxes in selected postal code areas which tended to coincide with even-numbered CWB districts.

The objective of our flyer is very clear. In the same way, the objective of the material mailed out by David Anderson and his fellow Conservative MPs is also very clear.

Upon review of the facts of the case, and adhering to the CWB Act regulations with

regard to CWB director elections, we are confident you will rule that David Anderson and his fellow Conservative MPs must be classified as third-party interveners.

In the event the office of the election co-ordinator determines that the Conservative MPs do not meet the criteria for third-party interveners, then the board of directors of the National Farmers Union will be obliged to reconsider the decision to register our organization as a third-party intervener.

Stewart Wells

President, National Farmers Union

Swift Current, Sask.

Traceable animal welfare

Recently the Manitoba government and IBM announced a new software program, called Global Traceability Network, to trace food (including livestock) within the province using a digital passport. Food can be traced from its origin to consumers’ shopping carts with the IBM software.

An additional use for this program is tracking animals in poor condition at markets and slaughter, to the farm of origin, with accompanying disciplinary

action and/or monetary penalties levied. This should help prevent suffering in future for other animals. The new system is a tool to end the shipment of ailing, injured or otherwise health-compromised animals which should never have been shipped in the first place.

We encourage the Manitoba government to use this tool to its maximum potential to provide protection to farm animals.

Stephanie Brown

Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals

Toronto, Ont.

What’s in your wallet?

Manitoba pipeline landowners: did you know Enbridge pays your rural municipality approximately $30,000 per mile annually? When the two new pipes are complete, that will increase to approximately $40,000 per year. What is your annual compensation for using your land to generate millions of dollars in revenue per week?

The National Energy Board allows for pipelines to compensate landowners on an annual basis. For obvious reasons, the pipeline companies have not made this public.

Wind farms pay annual compensation to the landowner

– up to $10,000 per turbine. Oil companies pay annual compensation to the landowner, whether it be for surface rights or mineral rights, et cetera.

Enbridge is a publicly traded corporation, generating millions of dollars per year in profits for its shareholders. Are you a shareholder, or are you a landowner, allowing the use of your land so that others can profit?

How does what you are paid for the easement compare to what you could realize if you are compensated $40,000 annually? Do not include payments for crop damage or land damage, as those payments are separate.

You should be compensated for revenue on your land – not the rural municipality. You are paying taxes on this land each year as well.

Enbridge has not negotiated in good faith – even though they say they pride themselves in their relationship with landowners.

Dennis Rome

Nesbitt, 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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