Letters – for Nov. 17, 2011

We welcome readers comments on issues that have been covered in the Manitoba Co-operator.In most cases we cannot accept open letters or copies of letters which have been sent to several publications. Letters are subject to editing for length or taste. We suggest a maximum of about 300 words.

Please forward letters to ManitobaCo-operator, 1666DublinAve.,Winnipeg, R3H0H1 or Fax:204-954-1422 or email: [email protected] (subject: To the editor)

Stand for something, or you fall for anything

Regarding John Morriss s Nov. 3 editorial concerning the CWB, this issue is about who will control a multibillion-dollar grain industry in Canada.

Will it be farmers with the CWB or agribusiness corporations?

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives represents these agribusiness corporations. The CCCE includes Maple Leaf Foods, Agrium, Cargill, Viterra, Loblaw, Ethanol Greenfield, James Richardson, McCain Foods and PotashCorp. The railway companies and Canadian banks are also members.

In his letter of congratulations to Harper following the May 2 election, John Manley, former deputy prime minister and CEO of the CCCE, wrote, As a demonstration of Canada s strong commitment to trade liberalization, we endorse your plan to reform the marketing practices of the Canadian Wheat Board.

Consistent with that, we believe the time is right to phase out the national supply management system for eggs, dairy products and poultry, which penalize consumers and have seriously damaged our country s reputation as a champion of open markets.

The other side has not won the argument. Farmers continue to support single-desk selling through the CWB. The CWB plebiscite and the election of directors supporting the CWB single desk are a testament to that support.

Democracy is not dictators ramming legislation through Parliament, limiting debate, etc. Democracy is not making our farmers and indeed our country conform to the needs of U.S. agribusiness corporations.

John, could you explain to your readers how farmers are to re-establish some measure of influence in the handling, marketing and transportation system? All of the committees Ritz establishes are composed of CWB haters.

The CWB board of directors has attempted to meet with Ritz on numerous occasions. Ritz has no desire to meet or do any of the things you suggest. In fact the Harper government s legislation removes the elected farmer representatives from the CWB and leaves the appointed CWB haters in charge.

Policies of appeasement would have no greater success than Neville Chamberlain achieved in the early stages of the Second World War. There is a country song the lyrics go something like this, you ve got to stand for something or you will fall for anything, you ve got to be your own man not a puppet on a string.

Our CWB directors are standing up for farmers; it s time for you to grab a glove and get in the game.

Better Than Hand-Wringing

Eduard Hiebert s letter of October 27 contains good points and valid observations, while advocating a new voting arrangement where your second choice would also count for something.

Such a system would almost certainly help Manitoba s rural vote to have a voice. As he notes, the (NDP) government controls 65 per cent of the seats in the legislature while getting the vote of only 20.5 per cent of eligible voters. Not terribly democratic.

If we want to reverse the trend of lower voter turnout, this would work better than more hand-wringing.

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