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Letters – for Sep. 29, 2011

Farmers deserve freedom of choice

It is correct that 62 per cent of eligible farmers, deemed by the CWB, voted in favour of protecting the monopoly of the CWB, a foregone conclusion. When the math is done right, confirmed by Sidney Green, it is in fact only 34 per cent of all farmers.

However, whatever percentage you want to use, the difference, be it 38 per cent or 66 per cent of farmers currently has freedom of choice taken away under the powers of the monopoly.

It is also correct that 39.1 per cent or 24 per cent of eligible Canadian voters voted in the Conservative majority, which protects 100 per cent of all Canadians right to freedom of choice. As Canadians, we all have the right to freedom of choice regardless of the government in power. The current Conservative government is the only party that is going to ensure that equal right to those farmers currently being denied their right to freedom of choice.

If the 62 per cent own 62 per cent of the tonnage now controlled by the CWB what s the problem? Get on with the new corporation as it has the majority ownership of the tonnage. If however, this is not the case, the CWB does not have the right to take away the others right to freedom of choice.

The CWB chooses not to disclose certain information under the so-called privacy act screen, but it knows who owns what percentages of the wheat that it currently has control over, including the 38 per cent that want the right to market their own wheat.

There certainly is no comparison of the same being equal.

Lorne Neyedly Lockport, Man.

Hog Moratorium Campaign A Fallacy

The campaign against the moratorium on hog barns is a fallacy. How does it threaten the livelihoods of 500 hog producers?

Thousands of hog farmers who had collective market power under the single-desk marketing system were forced out, when in the late 1990s, the Conservative government got rid of the single desk and gave farmers marketing choice to destroy their market-power.

This market power was taken by the Manitoba government-courted and -supported, vertically integrated hog production industry. Primary control was vested in two corporations. Prices dropped for non-integrated farmers. Wealth flowed to these corporations and more hog farmers exited production.

Concentrating hogs in factories on too small a land base has led to the undeniable buildup of nutrients on operations and areas such as hog alley. Cheap, low-tech manure storage and application methods contributed to the pollution of land, water and Lake Winnipeg.

Campaigners don t tell us that the industry can build and expand with the moratorium. But there is a catch. It s going to cost money. They have to use more expensive manure treatment technologies.

They don t want to pay. Rather, they expect the public to continue to pay to clean up after them.

The industry wants to keep real farmers from raising small numbers of hogs and sustain-ably spreading small amounts of manure over large areas of land like in the past. It s too hard for corporations to control and take farmers money in this structure of production. Yet, they use the image and reality of farming to advance their false claim of industry sustainability.

The moratorium is not the real threat. It is the structure, scope and corporate concentration of the industry that has destroyed the economic and environmental sustainability of hog farming.

Ruth Pryzner Alexander, Man.

Explain the double standard

A plebiscite is the ascertainment of a nation or a group of people on a certain point. A referendum is the principle of submitting a question to the electorate.

I would like either Harper or Ritz to explain to us (and I mean growers of wheat/barley) how a similar vote i.e. percentage of voters and in your case a very small majority decision entitles the Conservative government the right to rule our nation, but does not entitle wheat and barley growers the right to maintain our status quo in the Canadian Wheat Board?

And don t bring out that old tale about freedom of choice. We live in a free and democratic country, but you still need to have rules and restrictions or we descend into anarchy or chaos.

David Caldwell

Kenton, 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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