Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Conservatives Kill Beef Plant

Here is a case where our Conservative Federal government in Ottawa seems to have forgotten that they claim to speak for "farmers" in Alberta.

Balzac beef plant closes after 14 months

Rancher's Beef Ltd. has shuttered its $40-million state-of-the-art processing plant in Balzac and laid off employees, just 14 months after opening to serve global markets.

Loan guarantees promised by the federal government fell short about $10 million because of changes to the funding formula, he said, adding the missing millions had to be taken out of the plant's operating budget to complete construction.

"We would never have built this plant if the government did what they did (sooner)," he said.

The company, a partnership of about 50 ranchers, farmers and feedlot owners from Alberta and B.C., had no choice but to file for bankruptcy, Van Raay said.

The closure of the slaughterhouse is a blow to Canada's fragile beef industry that is still recovering from the 2003 BSE crisis, said Ted Haney, president of Canada Beef Exports.
Meanwhile that other Tory Farmers Government of Eddie Stelmach did not bail out the plant. Instead they have been mired in a water diversion controversy about providing taxpayer subsidized infrastructure to Balzac for a Horse Racing Track, Casino and mall.

The Tories know where their bread is buttered. It ain't farm processing plants, as we saw with their fire sale of the old Gainers plant. Nor is it farmers support, as we saw in the corporate bail out over BSE.

Nope they subsidize horse racing and promote gambling. The latter being where they make all their money, since oil royalties are a subsidy to the oil industry.

This is just another nail in the coffin of the family farm.

Kill and Chill: Restructuring Canada's Beef Commodity Chain

By Ian MacLachlan,

Both horrified and fascinated by a visit with his geography students to the Canada Packers Lethbridge plant, Ian MacLachlan searched for a book that would explain the main features of the Canadian meat packing industry. Finding very little available, he set about writing an account of the industry that is both an economic geography and economic history.Comprehensive in its treatment of the whole system surrounding the Canadian beef industry, Kill and Chill offers a history of the structural changes in Canada's cattle and beef commodity chain, beginning with calf production and cattle feeding on farms and feedlots. It goes on to describe the changes in cattle marketing, the historical development of meatpacking-in particular the emergence of Canada's 'Big Three' meatpacking firms-and the rise of meatpacking unionism. Carrying the story almost to the present with the takeover of Maple Leaf by the McCain family in the mid-1990s, the work concludes with a discussion of current trends in retail beef marketing.


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