As a lifelong CWB supporter and one who donated part of my grain revenue towards the first 2,000 hopper cars that were purchased, I feel I have the right to join in the discussion on the “lakers” even though it seems to be a done deal.
I feel I have a legitimate right because my share of the cars is still going merrily back and forth, adding load by load to the totality of the revenues collected on behalf of those farmers still actively farming.
Don’t take me wrong. I had the use of my share for roughly a dozen years and am particularly glad that they are still of use to someone else. But maybe there might be a better or fairer approach to the situation as regards to the “lakers.”
First off, let’s make it a fairly equitable business deal where nobody gets to hold the short straw. So one way to do that would be to still use the farmers’ revenue money to buy the vessels as has been proposed – in effect, having the farmers, in this case, be the bankers. What a reversal.
Then, as projected, the grain-hauling tariffs would, supposedly, cover the cost in eight years. Now I think that with the hopper cars that anything earned, as far as I can determine, just went into general revenues and was divided up amongst every producer. But what I am suggesting is that anything taken from an individual producer be recorded, and repaid until he or she is fully compensated.
So you wouldn’t sit at a railway crossing watching a row of hopper cars go by and wonder which one you had a piece of, because you would have been paid out. I’m sure there are more wrinkles that can be thought of but I think this might be a start to an equitable, fair, positive arrangement, that you and your readers might take and run with.
Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email: [email protected] (subject: To the editor)