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Letters – for May. 26, 2011

If CWB not needed, are subsidies?

The Harper government is hell bent in destroying the Canadian Wheat Board, which brings a lot of value to farmers, because corporate farmers believe they can do better without it. Does this also mean all the farming subsidies corporate farmers receive will now end also?

Smaller, unincorporated family farms under 1,000 acres will probably need more help now, as they will be getting less for their products. They will be at the mercy of multinational companies, that need to make big bucks to pay their chief executives. There is a reason why farmers wanted a wheat board in the first place. It looks like history will repeat itself again.

Daryl Beaudry Elie, Manitoba

Bipole III A Crucial Investment

Bipole III is a crucial investment in our province’s economic future, an investment that will support Hydro exports, improve reliability and keep our rates among the lowest in North America.

The route that was picked for Bipole III has the least impact on agricultural land. The total easement required is only 11.6 square miles, with nearly 70 per cent of the route on Crown land. Diagonal crossings were avoided where possible, with the line running along roadways and half-mile lines. There are no residences or livestock barns located within 50 metres of the preliminary preferred route.

Landowners will be able to continue farming the land under the transmission line, as they have prior to any towers being erected and still be eligible for compensation.

Doug Chorney, president of the Keystone Agricultural Producers has described the new proposal for compensation as a significant improvement. He told theWestern Producer:“So they’re actually paying you more than it’s worth. And you still own the land.”

It is unfortunate that some individuals are politicizing the much needed Bipole III, rather than working to protect Manitobans from the possibility of rolling blackouts and export losses.

Hugh McFadyen is continuing to mislead Manitobans about Bipole III, which won’t cost taxpayers one cent. McFadyen is throwing around numbers that don’t add up. We can only conclude that he wants to do with Manitoba Hydro, what the Tories did with MTS in the 1990s – privatize it.

Our government will keep Manitoba Hydro strong and publicly owned, so that all Manitobans, including our agricultural producers, will have access to reliable, green power at affordable rates.

Sincerely, Rosann Wowchuk

Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro

The Best Thing Before Or Since Sliced Bread

I have been accused of negativity at different times in my life, even by the resident pooh-bahs of this publication, but I don’t think I ever reached the heights (or depths) of hopelessness evidenced by letter writer Inga Goritz in her May 19 offering, “Can’t go back in time” (Co-operator,page 5).

After reading it, I was tempted to cast myself off something high, preferably with rocks at its base, or else dress myself in a bark (no fur) gown and await the worst. We are all products of our time, and of events and developments that, though often made far in the past, directly affect us in our daily existence. An economy based on fossil fuel is such a fact. The problem is, no one is really qualified to tell us exactly what that means, vis-a-vis our day-to-day existence in our world. Many try, and just as many mock their conclusions.

I personally laid in a good supply of flour, back when it was less than $4 for 10 kilograms. Night before last, I mixed up some yeast, sugar, water, shortening and flour and turned out two very large, fragrant loaves of bread. It was pleasure to mix it, it was pleasure to see it rise, it was pleasure to smell something that I remember from my childhood, so long ago. And it was pleasure to cut the first slice, and with only butter, savour the flavour of a largely lost art.

So to those who spend their days in sackcloth, lamenting our footprint on our planet, I would say, get over it. The earth is the Lord’s, we are told, and the fullness thereof. Whether we will admit it or not, God is in His Heaven, and all will, ultimately, be right with our world. Until then, enjoy the good things He gives us, among them homemade bread.

John Beckham Winnipeg, Man.

Flood Waters Destroying Pristine Lake

Lake Manitoba is a relatively pristine lake. During an ordinary year Lake Manitoba receives water from two main sources, the Waterhen and Whitemud rivers. Neither river is a massive source of phosphorus, the nutrient responsible for promoting the growth of harmful blue-green algae.

During a flood, the Assiniboine flows over nutrient-rich agricultural land, absorbing large quantities of phosphorus and other algae-promoting nutrients.

A study in 2009, when the diversion operated for 27 days, showed that the Portage Diversion contributed 93 per cent (16,543 tons) of the phosphorus that flowed into Lake Manitoba. The Waterhen (779 tons) and Whitemud (501 tons) accounted for the remaining seven per cent.

The flooding and pollution of Lake Manitoba is a man-made disaster. The operation of the Portage Diversion needs to cease.

Alternative methods to prevent flooding of the Assiniboine need to be examined. These could include further diking, or perhaps a system of dams in the Assiniboine Valley for water retention.

The flooding and pollution of Lake Manitoba has been caused by decisions made by the Government of Manitoba. All cottagers, permanent residences and landowners along the shores of Lake Manitoba should be fully compensated.

To fail to do so should result in a class-action lawsuit.

Larry Baker Sugar Point, Man.

Cargill Wins, Farmers Lose – Again

In his May 19 article, “Cargill calls for orderly end to orderly marketing,” Rod Nickel, certainly brought out a few essential facts regarding the situation from Cargill’s standpoint. Cargill is not a shareholder-driven corporation, but a private holding company with all profits going to the founding family and of course the descendants. It is the third-largest grain-and commodity-handling company in North America.

One line stands out glaringly, “There is a lot of money involved.” He doesn’t say just who exactly is going to make the money, the farmers or Cargill. None of these guys can talk on this subject without paying lip service to the old canard that the CWB can survive without the single desk and no facilities, even though Cargill has just finished the process of purchasing the AWB in Australia. Talk about speaking out of two sides of your mouth at once.

In Canada we have had an ongoing battle in agriculture to provide ourselves with some leverage against the big line elevator companies. The Pools and United Grain Growers made the sad mistake of moving from a coop- type format to a shareholder organization and then all the work of generations were swallowed up into what is now Viterra. Whatever that represents, it is certainly not a political advocate for the Prairie farmer – just another grain company out to make a buck off the farmer.

So the only possible entities that you have left, so to speak, for you are the CWB and theManitoba Co-operator,with the one having quite a bit more moral authority than the other. But it, according to Harper and Ritz, will all be gone by the beginning of the 2012-13 crop year. So the Cargill family is quite happy to sit back and let events take their course. Malcolm Macdonald

Brandon, Man.

Western Route Folly

The May 19 column “Bipole III must change” by Keystone Agricultural Producers president Doug Chorney outlines various concerns of KAP with the western-route for Bipole III, thus joining a long line of groups and individuals who see the folly of this route.

Whether a farmer, a taxpayer, an informed environmentalist – or all three, the western route is bad news.

As a small consolation, it appears that there is barely anyone still standing who defends the NDP’s foolish western-route decision.

William Anderson

Forrest, Man.

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)

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