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Letters – for Nov. 11, 2010

Ron Doering, former head of CFIA, suggests in the Nov. 4 Manitoba Co-operatorthat the reason that there are almost no Canadian agri-food products in grocery stores in China is simply because we are too timid to grasp this golden opportunity. Solution: more trade missions, more marketing effort in China.

His views will go over well at offices like the China Canada Business Council and many others, who need to say such things to keep their doors open. But I suggest that they are based more on “armchair wisdom” than any real evidence.

Do we know how many dollars have been spent by our companies in the past 20 years to promote Canadian agri-food products in China? Answer: untold millions.

How often has he visited a Chinese food store in China? I have been in a few. It is like going to another planet, so great are the differences in consumer preference.

At the end of the day, Canadian exporters must put their finite marketing resources where they are best put to use. They can flog this dead horse for another 20 years or move on. Many no doubt realize it is time to move on. And in Asia that is more likely to mean Japan, not China. And above all, it means the United States. As was the case 10 years ago, 20 years ago and 30 years ago. As the old saying goes, the only thing worse is all the alternatives. Bill Anderson Forrest, Man. “the single desk returns the most benefit from domestic and world markets.” His leaflet, website and use of the vote 1-2-3 ballot all point with integrity to the harmony of a farmer-controlled collaborative co-operative vision.

Sandborn (a former Agricore director) has direct experience of how easy it is to lose farmer-centred organizations. So it makes me very uneasy when he is so positive about the efforts of the CWB to mimic the private trade with pricing options.

At least the CWB returns better than 95 per cent of the grain sales dollar to the farmer. I would still choose Sandborn over Sirski.

“Sirski declined to say whether he supports the single desk (adding), ‘The CWB’s mandate will be determined by Parliament, not the CWB’s board of directors.’”

Sirki’s half-truth appeal to the authority of Parliament undercuts farmers’ rightful authority and belies the fact, as decided by Canada’s courts, that Harper and company have a history of overstepping their legal authority when attempting to axe the single desk.

With Sirski’s record of being pro-GMO and anti-farmer-saved seeds, when the issue of GMO wheat re-emerges, what help will Sirski be on behalf of farmers as a CWB director?

Eduard Hiebert St. Francois, Xavier

Next time you cast your vote in favour of the NDP, you will be endorsing this type of undemocratic behaviour as well as the $7,000-per-household cost which invariably will be shared amongst all Manitobans.

At the same time, in the same building, Premier Greg Selinger was receiving an award from environmental groups. I question if they are aware that this decision to choose the west route will cause hundreds of farmers to spend extra on fertilizer, chemicals and fuel as they circle around the towers on their fields for generations to come.

And were they informed that the extra 479-km stretch of wire will cost power losses of $80,000 per day?

Mrs. Wowchuk, please do the right thing; honour the “D” of NDP, choose the east route and we will give you an award.

Willy Nayet Otterburne, Man.

Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email:

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