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Letters – for Oct. 13, 2011

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The CWB single-desk collective selling western Canadian wheat and malt barley for farmers represents, by the most conservative and neutral studies, a minimum of $500 million in their pockets annually.

But what is $500 million anyway? Is it really that much? And what about the annual tenfold spinoff value as it cycles through our communities every year before leaving? How much is this and how do you benchmark it?

Well, it is quite a substantial amount actually.

If you had the power to stop this financial scourge on our Prairie provinces, as the MPs in our present majority government do, and you didn t exercise it, what does that make you? My guess would be whatever the extreme opposite of a national hero, champion of good and source of pride is.

Who really wants this so bad? Is, and was there a trade-off? What was the trade-off, who made it and who will benefit? After 14 trade court challenges, costing millions to fight, you wouldn t just give it away. Without more information than our Canadian citizens are being offered to date, none of this makes any sense.

KAP Is Out Of The Closet

Finally the executive and membership of the Keystone Agriculture Producers can come out of the closet.

With the headline, KAP bows out of the CWB fight, there is no longer the need to pretend that KAP is anything but a surrogate of the Conservative party in Manitoba. Their relationship with the federal Conservatives now shows an ideological kinship that is finally honest with no pretence of representing the best interests of Prairie farmers.

Farmers and farm organizations have every right to be supporters and members of any political party they want, however the organization should be up front about its political bias. Farmers have long needed an organization that represents the best interest of the rural community not tinged with the politics of weakness and opportunism.

Compromise has always been the mantra of the so-called reasonable organizations that say we must be reasonable and face the fact that we can negotiate a better deal by being at the table.

Historically that was the so-called reasoned approach that Manitoba Pool Elevators delegates took that ended the legitimate fight to save Western Canada s Crow Rate subsidy.

All the rationalization by the president of KAP that said our membership is divided, that we must face reality, that in the end the battle for the CWB is over is simply camouflage for the fundamental weakness of the organization.

KAP as an organization that does not

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have the fortitude to stand up to its political masters and do what is right for Prairie farmers.

Truly, the sad part of this political capitulation is that it makes the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association look good. Its sole reason for existence is to destroy the CWB and it is totally honest about that intent. KAP, on the other hand, has always proclaimed it is politically neutral which gives the illusion that this organization will represent rural Manitoba s best interests without a political bias.

In the end farmers lose because the organization that is supposed to represent their interests no longer has any credibility.

All Farmers Must Have A Say

In response to the opinion piece Market Power: 50 Years Forward, 50 Years Back, western Canadian farmers produce top-quality grains and deserve the freedom to choose how and to whom they market their products.

Beverly Stow highlighted that the CWB monopoly supporters only want the voices of pro-monopoly farmers to matter. Our government disagrees. Every western Canadian grain farmer deserves an equal voice. Every farmer deserves a choice in how they market their grain, whether that s selling on an open market or through a voluntary pooling system. Every farmer deserves the right to make their business decisions independently.

While Stow and the CWB are entitled to their own opinion, they are not entitled to create their own facts. Allocation of producer cars is mandated through the Canada Grains Act and will continue to be done so. In addition, short line rail is expanding on the Prairies as per the recent announcement by Mobil Grain LTE.

While the board chooses to turn its back on the future of the western Canadian grain industry, our government has been working with the entire value chain to ensure a smooth and stable transition for our farmers to an open market.

Farmers and businesses throughout the grain sector are excited about the increased opportunity and value-added industry our government s changes will bring.

As I have stated before, no illegitimate survey should give farmers the authority to make business decisions for their neighbours. It is time for the board to stop promoting a system that treats western Canadian farmers like second-class citizens and support our government s plan to give farmers the freedom they want and deserve.

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