Thursday, October 12, 2006

Conservatives Attack Prairie Farmers

Driven by the Southern Alberta farming lobby that is deeply influenced by its American roots, the area is rampant with Mormons, Dutch Reformed Church and other proto-American exiles, the old Reform party took the position that the Canadian Wheat Board was a communist state monopoly. That's because it was originally formed in the dirty thirties during the Great Depression as a producers cooperative.

The New Conservative Government of Canada having its roots in this backwater minority lobby has taken on the Canadian Wheat Board and has decidied that one of its election promises, though not one of its five priorities, was to carry on the Reform party tradition and attempt to open up the western Canadian wheat and barley market by eliminating the Wheat Board. The problem is that of course while a free market in wheat and barley may appeal to large producers with their own trucks living close to the U.S. border, for the majority of wheat and barley farmers trade is international, and the single desk has served them well.

Orginally intended to be a producers cooperative board, the state created a bueracracy alienated from the farmers. In the last decade that has changed in response to pressure from the farm base and in response to criticism from the right and the right wing lobbying for a dual market in wheat and barley.
The Board is now elected by farmers. And the much lauded dual market lobby even has elected its own members to the board. However they garner far less grassroots support than they do media attention, and of course their voice is not really of farmers but of the neo-liberal Calgary lobby around the Reform/Alliance/Conservative party.

Now the government intends on forcing the stupidity of a dual marketing scheme on farmers without asking them their opinion. Worse it is gagging them, refusing to allow the Wheat Board to defend itself. Talk about a paranoid authoritarian action by the state. So much for democratic consultation with stakeholders.

Wheat Board ordered not to sow discontent Globe and Mail, Canada - 11 hours ago WINNIPEG -- The Conservative government has banned the Canadian Wheat Board from advocating its continued existence as the monopoly seller of Western Canadian ...
Canadian Wheat Board asks Ottawa to withdraw partial gag order
Farmers fretting over Wheat Board's future Globe and Mail

Farmers Support Wheat Board Despite Conservative Claims
Wheat Board supporters accuse Ottawa of imposing gag order
Canadian Wheat Board won't sit on committee designed to end its existence
Prairie coalition fights for Canadian Wheat Board
Keep the tradition of the Wheat Board
Farm groups demand voice in talks about Wheat Board

Why it makes one wonder where the libertarians in the Conservatives disappeared too. Nary a one left to speak out against state interference in a producers cooperative, which is democratic. What ever happened to minila state intereference, the compalint that was raised agaisnt the Liberal government from its domination over the farmers on the Wheat Board.
The Wheat Board exists not to limit the market, but to get the best deal for the most farmer from a market that is dominated and manipulated by large American Agribusiness monopolies. And their market manipulation works against the producers in favour of the market gamblers and the big agribusinesses who control transportation, storage, frefining, distribution and marketing. Volatile CBOT Wheat Futures Hit Market-Makers Hard

I guess it is time for another praririe farmer rebellion against a government in Ottawa that doesn't listen to them. Ironic ain't it.


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