The coalition between Saskatchewan farm groups and political parties, shaky at best, appears to be tottering on the edge of an abyss.
As there is more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes, there is more than one way to break ranks and upset the solidarity of the farm coalition.
The Saskatchewan Party was the first to go with its pre-Christmas plea to the NDP-Liberal coalition government to spent $300 million of its liquor and gaming “rainy day fund” to help the province’s farmers.
The Saskatchewan Party members aren’t wrong, and there is much sympathy for their stand which is, however, a break from the united stand for a $1.3 billion trade equalization payment for Manitoba and Saskatchewan from Ottawa.
Some members of the farm lobby agree with the Saskatchewan Party.
Others are following the government line that says if the province pays out the money, as cash or as a reduction of the education portion of the property tax, the federal government might agree to matching funds rather than the whole amount.
When it broke ranks, the Saskatchewan Party appeared to be thinking. Would that one could say the same about the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, which this week is holding its annual convention in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Let us make two things clear: while there is a crisis in agriculture across the Prairies, some farmers are doing better than others and can take their vacations where they want.
The WCWGA, as an organization, is a different matter.
It is a member of the farm lobby group whose representatives lobbied the federal government for more money for the province’s farmers in crisis.
While wheat growers officials were justifying their convention site as what their members wanted and needed as stress relief, the National Post was asking “Farm crisis? What crisis?” in an article headed “Farmers’ new cry: two coronas!”
Perception is everything in politics and the coalition effort to get trade equalization money from Ottawa is politics.
The wheat growers have said that the organization will remain as part of the coalition and will continue to lobby for farmers who need assistance.
Unfortunately, their credibility and the credibility of the farm lobby have dropped several notches.
If the organization had really wanted to help its fellow farmers and maintain solidarity in the lobby effort, it should have thought twice about perception as reality and stayed at home.