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Letters , June 28, 2012

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 Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email: [email protected] (subject: To the editor)

Trees disappearing on the Prairies

The site of a well-sheltered farmyard is commonplace across the Prairies. However, many of the farm, wildlife and conservation plantings are getting old and will soon need replacing or upgrading.

Unfortunately the federal government feels trees are no longer needed by Prairie people. Next spring the last seedlings for the shelterbelts and other conservation plantings will be distributed by the Agroforestry Centre at Indian Head. The centre will shut down its tree production operation by December 2012 after 110 years of service to Western Canada.

The Agroforestry Centre will be sold as the federal government wishes to save money and “reduce its footprint” in Western Canada and wants landowners to pay for tree seedlings.

The bureaucrats in Ottawa seem to forget that the 8,000 landowners who plant trees each year are partners, who pay the shipping, planting and maintenance costs. The tree planters do not see the benefits of their work for five years or more and are not planting just for themselves but for future generations.

Within 50 to 60 years many parts of the Prairies will have few trees left as the existing trees die of old age and are not replanted. It’s a sad thought that our children and grandchildren will live to see the Prairies as they were 100 years ago — flat — all because of a decision made without thought or consultation by bureaucrats in Ottawa.

Gord Howe

Prairie Tree Planters

Indian Head, Sask.

Supports Brazilian royalty challenge

How refreshing it is to see that somewhere in the world, there are farmers willing to say to Monsanto and others like them, “Get your hands off my throat” (“Monsanto defends Roundup Ready royalties in Brazil,” June 21). As one who has refused to sign technical use agreements of any kind, and have found that as a consequence I must either grow canola that must use 25-year-old technology or not grow canola at all, I was delighted to see that farmers in Brazil are challenging Monsanto over saving seed.

I have wondered as year after year the big three companies have increased the cost of sowing canola whether there is a point at which Canadian farmers would say “enough.” But even though it can now cost over $50 an acre for seed, a sum that not long ago would have bought the land, let alone the seed, farmers continue to pay up and shut up and pay over $500 a bushel for seed canola.

Someone, somewhere is going to put a stop to this piracy. If the Brazilians have the intestinal fortitude to do it, more power to them.

John Beckham

Winnipeg

Looking for Lyme disease cases

It has come to my attention that Lyme disease is a prevalent issue in this province. Over the past legislative session, numerous cases have come to my attention in which testing and treatment plans have proven to be insufficient, leaving patients to suffer. Many patients have been forced to travel outside the province to be properly diagnosed, and with that diagnosis, can be treated. Without early treatment, this disease can mask as other devastating health conditions, and ruin a lifestyle.

While I have the utmost confidence in the doctors of this province, I am aware that the infrastructure that this government has to deal with this disease is lacking. The state of Minnesota can diagnose over 1,000 cases a year, while this province can only diagnose 25. We are all aware that deer ticks do not stop at the border and check in, so legitimate questions arise when we see cases in this province that are improperly diagnosed.

My office has received dozens of cases where treatment and diagnosis plans have failed. Cases like Mason French of Dominion City, whose mother had to take him to four doctors to receive a proper diagnosis, or Marie Hughes, who after years of fighting the bureaucracy still does not have a proper diagnosis, or Michelle Miller, who has to go on $2,000 IV treatment to curb the symptoms, provide a snapshot into this disease, and the effects it can have on someone. I want to encourage all those affected to contact my office with their story, as I feel that this government needs to hear the importance of this issue, and needs to properly act on it. My office at the Manitoba legislature can be reached at (204) 945-5639, and my constituency office is (204) 324-9901, and I would be happy to talk with you.

Cliff Graydon

MLA for Emerson

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