Sunday, September 11, 2011

CWB vs the Harper government, why does democracy scare you Stephen?

What is it about democracy that scares Stephen Harper and his merry band so much? 

Right now, I’m thinking about the west.  As an Ontarian and city folk, I don’t know all the ins and outs of the Canada Wheat Board, but I do hear farmers in the West calling to save this institution.

The Canada Wheat Board (CWB) was instituted some seventy odd years ago to help Canadian farmers compete on the world stage and reduce the risk of a single bad crop or a severe price drop from wiping out our farmers.  It also evened the playing field so that smaller producers could get their crop to market and get a reasonable return for their produce.

The CWB has in excess of 68000 members, many of whom wish to save the CWB, many wish to see it dismantled.  The question is how many is “many”?

These 68000 members have received ballots to vote on whether to save the CWB or not.  That will tell us how many.  The conservative government says they don’t care how many.  Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said that the results of this plebiscite will not affect the decision of the Harper run government to kill the CWB.  He says “many” farmers want it killed to end.

So, in other words, the government’s position is that they don’t give a rat’s patoot what the majority of the farmers want.  Gerry says he “believes” that “many” farmers want this to happen.  Why not wait a bit and you will Know what Most of the farmers want.

I don’t want a vote in this issue nor do I deserve one.  I’m not a grain producer.  As long as the CWB does its job and doesn’t cost the tax payers anything, it’s a CWB membership issue.

From what I do see from here, is that Some farmers want to sell their grain outside of the CWB.  I’m willing to bet these are large producers and Corporate farmers that have the means available to compete, and removal of the CWB would give one less major competitor in the market.  They aren’t afraid of family farms.  The family farms will blow away with the CWB.  It is the same reason that Mom and Pop stores are withering under the influence of the chain stores.  As an added bonus, then the family farms wither and die, the Corporate farms will just suck them up the same way Walmart takes the former customers of the Mom and Pops.

Before the CWB, farmers were at the mercy of the capitalists.  They produced the product, but had to rely on the rail ways and grain handling firms to get their goods to market.  The capitalists made sure they got their money, the farmers got the squeeze.  The CWB evened the playing field by banding the farmers into a unit that could compete with the capitalists.  The bonus being that the CWB being run by farmers was it was only expected to cover its costs and the profits would go back to the farmers.

So why is the government meddling in a working situation?  The “right” people complained.

We know the voice of the majority carries little weight with the government.  Polls tell us what the people think, we favour the gun registry, we don’t want the government snooping in our emails, but the Harper run government has its agenda and the CWB is on it.

A sensible alternative would be to sit down with the two sides on this and reach an agreement.  Surely there has to be a way that farmers could opt out and compete that would satisfy both sides. 

But that would require listening to the people. 

Something that our current government doesn’t seem all too interested in.

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