Farmers for economic freedom

Updates from the Canadian Farm Enterprise Network and the Canadian Farmers for Justice. Several of the items appearing here originally appeared in an email list operated by Dwayne Leslie at http://www3.mb.sympatico.ca/~dleslie/aglinks.htm

New to the struggle for free markets for farmers?

Then make sure to read the Western Producer's special report on the CFFJ and the CFEN at http://www.producer.com/docs/news/SpecRep/Feb_5_98/srfeb598.html

Centre urges dual marketing for grain

On March 31, 1998, the Prairie Centre gave its presentation to the Senate hearings on Bill C-4.

The Centre recommended that Bill C-4 should be amended to bring the CWB under the provisions of the Access to Information Act, that it should be amended to appoint the Auditor General of Canada as auditor of the CWB, and should be amended to allow for dual-marketing, whereby growers could voluntarily choose where they would market their product.

"Bill C-4 does not accomplish what the Government claims it will. It is fundamentally flawed, and is not supported by the majority of farmers. We request that the Senate Committee on Agriculture recommend the three essential amendments we have outlined," said the Centre in its presentation.

Vote for freedom!

Dwayne Leslie's Agribusiness Links has set-up a page for Western farmers to vote on the grain handling system they think is the best. Register your vote for freedom at http://www3.mb.sympatico.ca/~dleslie/aglinks.htm

A giant step forward - April 13, 1998

By Kevin Avram

In a civic sense, almost every moral infraction you can think of is a crime against property. And, almost every situation in the Criminal Code concerns both property and morality. Even crimes like slander are about property and morality. Slander is the destruction of a credible and truthful reputation. A reputation is the property of its owner. To destroy it is to steal it — a moral infraction. Likewise, theft, fraud, robbery, and forgery are crimes against property. These are serious offences as it is the sanctity of property which defines free societies. If an individual’s property can not be protected from unwanted confiscation by another — including inappropriate or uncalled for government action — what is the basis of society? If there can be no property rights, the aggressive and ambitious among us have no option but to pursue raw political power — the ability to control others.

Property rights have value for more than economic reasons. The right to own and enjoy property is the basis of moral independence. Morality obviously extends beyond the reach of property — including character, fidelity, truthfulness, etc., — but in the same way that those of us on the earth can enjoy life only because the sun is constantly shining on our planet, so it is with property rights and morality. They are inextricably intertwined. Societies which are the most immoral are those which have the least regard for property.

What can we say then about a piece of federal legislation that is designed to deliberately and systematically withhold the legitimate property rights of grain farmers? Bill C-4, the federal government’s new Wheat Board Act, is now in the Senate. As the Bill passes through what remains of the political process, it’s evident to anyone who cares to reflect on which way the wind is blowing that the ever-growing opposition to the CWB monopoly is not going to go away. An enormous number of western grain growers want back the legitimate right to their own property — a right the government suspended under the provisions of the War Measures Act during World War II. As far as these farmers are concerned, the war is over and the grain they grow is theirs. They claim the ethical and moral right to do with it what they want — including selling it wherever, whenever, and to whomever they want.

Rumour has it that Wheat Board Minister Ralph Goodale believes that once C-4 is passed, the debate over a monopoly versus a voluntary wheat board will be over — that the controversy will die away. He’s never been more wrong. What is actually about to happen, is that Goodale will be entering into a new phase of the same battle. This time he’ll have less maneuverability. Think about it: Bill C-4 is Goodale’s last line of defence against the ground swell of opposition to the government’s grain monopoly. Once passed, he has absolutely nowhere to go — no options. He has nothing left in his political arsenal to throw back at the thousands of growers who want out of the mandatory government scheme.

Scientists tell us that earthquakes happen when two plates of the earth’s crust push against each other with such force that they no longer have any capacity to bend or absorb pressure. With the passage of Bill C-4, movement on the part of Ralph Goodale and the forces that support the retention of the CWB monopoly have ceased to move. No more bend is available. Their line in the sand is drawn. This means that if the various forces which are calling for an end to the compulsory CWB monopoly keep pushing as hard as they have been, the scientific basis for a genuine, real-life earthquake, has been put in place.

For those who defend and promote the right to own and enjoy property, that is a giant step forward.

Kevin Avram is Chairman of the Advisory Board with the Prairie Centre/Centre for Prairie Agriculture, Inc. Where Do We Go From Here is a feature service of the Prairie Centre.

CWB and free market not synonymous, says Alberta's agriculture minister

The federal government's refusal to end the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing monopoly flies in the face of Ottawa's general free market strategy, Alberta agriculture minister Ed Stelmach complained last month.

He warned the Senate agriculture committee the federal Liberal determination to keep the monopoly endangers national unity.

"The failure of Ottawa to appreciate the magnitude of the discontent on this issue in rural Alberta will strain our federal-provincial relations," he said.

As he appeared before senators holding prairie-wide hearings on proposed CWB changes, the Alberta minister said the consistent message from the federal government has been the need to promote market solutions, freer trade and an end to impediments to investment, job creation and exports.

"At the same time, Ottawa imposes a CWB marketing monopoly which regulates what varieties are produced, how they are marketed, at what price and to whom in the fashion of a command economy in a specific area of Canada only," said Stelmach.He called it inconsistent and discriminatory.

Reference to regional alienation was a common theme through six days of hearings as opponents argued the Liberals, with little western representation, were imposing an unpopular policy on western farmers.

Some saw a broader alliance of oppressors.

"This has nothing to do with what farmers want and everything to do with what the federal Liberals and the pools want," complained Greg Rockafellow, president of the Western Barley Growers Association.

Others noted the Liberal majority is centered in Ontario and even as these MPs were insisting on a monopoly for western farmers, their own Ontario wheat-growing constituents were deciding to allow an opt-out from the Ontario Wheat Board export monopoly.

When criticism turned to the clause that would allow farmers to vote new grains under the CWB monopoly, many noted the provision had been championed in the House of Commons by Prince Edward Island Liberal Wayne Easter.

"The perception is it's someone from the Maritimes imposing something on Western Canada we did not ask for," Stelmach told senators in Edmonton.

The next day in Winnipeg, Manitoba agriculture minister Harry Enns picked up the theme.

"A member from Prince Edward Island should not make any decisions about what happens to prairie grain producers," he said.

Enns quickly came under attack from senator Eugene Whelan for his comment.

Whelan said he was "shocked" that a veteran politician like Enns would belittle an MP because of where he lives. MPs are elected to deal with general public policy and not just local issues, he lectured.

Enns quickly retreated.

"You properly correct me," said the Manitoba minister. "I meant no disrespect to any member of Parliament. But it is understandable that a member from that part of Canada would not be sensitive (to the ramifications of inclusion for Manitoba)."

Later, National Farmers Union Manitoba director Fred Tait said the inclusion idea came from Western Canada and NFU members who testified during Commons committee hearings last year.

"This was not Wayne Easter's idea," he said. "It came from Manitoba here."

Cattle and barley groups oppose Bill C-4

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association and the Western Barley Growers' Association have joined forces to seek changes to the Canadian Wheat Board. Both groups favor a free and open market with the United States for feed grains and say the proposed amendments to the CWB Act in Bill C-4 could be disruptive to the cash market for feed grains.

The CCA fears that by limiting the marketing choices of farmers the government will undermine the confidence needed in barley production to support a healthy livestock sector. Conversely, the barley growers say the CWB pricing signals, such as the Pool Return Outlook released last month estimating barley at 61 cents a bushel, are telling producers not to grow barley at all.


The CFEN and CFFJ needs your help! The battle against the Canada Wheat Board can only continue with your support.

Canadian Farm Enterprise Network
Box 521
Central Butte, Saskatchewan
S0H 0T0
CANADA

Canadian Farmers for Justice
c/o Ron Duffy
RR#4
Lacombe, Alberta
T0C 1S0
CANADA

Write the following and demand free market rights for Western Canadian farmers!

The Canadian Wheat Board
423 Main Street
P.O. Box 816, Stn. M.
Winnipeg, MB
Canada
R3C 2P5

Telephone: (204) 983-0239 / 1-800-ASK-4-CWB
Fax: (204) 983-3841

Email Address: cwb@cwb.ca

Ralph Goodale
Minister Responsible for the Canada Wheat Board
Department of Natural Resources Canada
21 - 580 Booth Street
Ottawa, ON
Canada
K1A 0E4

Telephone: (613)996-2007
Fax Number: (613)996-4516
Email Address: rgoodale@NRCan.gc.ca

 




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