Harper still resonates
This seems to be shaping up to be another year in which we are really going to miss the Canadian Wheat Board.
We have a high-volume crop, just like we had when the grain companies used “transportation problems” as an excuse to take about $6 billion from the pockets of prairie farmers through excess basis.
The railways were not blameless, but mostly it was the grain companies dropping their elevator price for grain, artificially widening the basis (roughly the cost of getting grain from elevator to ship), which slowed up farmer delivery. The international price was, of course, unaffected and they pocketed the difference.
The Americans are competing with us with a large crop of their own, but it is low in protein. One of the things the CWB was exceptionally good at was getting Canadian farmers well paid for their higher protein levels. Now, if grain companies can negotiate any extra for protein they keep it.
The former Harper government cost us both money and flexibility. The coffin lid is now closing on the port of Churchill, as we knew it would. No matter what you may have heard from Conservative apologists, grain companies will not ship through a terminal which they do not own, not unless ordered to by something like the CWB.
To add insult to injury, a few days ago I got a shamelessly hypocritical mail out from my MP Gerry Ritz. The same MP that promised a vote on the future of the CWB in the 2011 election, and then ignored his promise, now demands a vote on possible changes to the federal electoral system.
Did I mention he was shameless?
What can a citizen say? What must a citizen do? The North Saskatchewan, the historic river of the great lone land,” has been polluted from near Fort Pitt and downstream into Manitoba.
The government that has elected to serve the people’s interests has failed them. The company has shown its inability — or its unwillingness — to monitor the pipeline and (as of the time of writing) cannot even tell us how much crude has been spilled.
Are polluted rivers the price we must pay for developing a resource? The answer appears to be yes. If so, in my opinion that price is too high.
It would be better policy to leave this resource in the ground until better means of using it can be found.
Aug. 20 is Farmworker Day.
On Aug. 20, 1999, the savage killing of a farm worker on the roadside ditch south of Taber, Alta., was the beginning of the long road to Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act. It has taken 17 years and a decade plus of consultations with Alberta’s agriculture industry to finally get this workforce included under Charter protection.
To Alberta’s farm workers, men, women, children, paid or unpaid we thank you for the bounty of your labour you provide us with.
To the Alberta government thank you for respecting the rights of the men, women and children employed on Alberta’s farms, ranches and feedlots.
We also thank you for providing Alberta’s agriculture industry with the tools they will need to meet international market agriculture sustainability deadlines which are fast approaching.
To those vehemently opposed to Bill 6 you are opposing the Charter Rights of these workers. We may live and work in Alberta but we are Canadians, Charter protection belongs to all of us.
Aug. 20 is the 12th Annual Farmworker Day and it is also “Open Farm Days” in Alberta.
Come on out and meet the “hands that feed you,” come celebrate Farmworker Day down on the farm.
We encourage Albertans on this occasion to make a donation to your local foodbank as their shelves need stocking this time of year.
Happy Farmworker Day!
Darlene A Dunlop
Farmworkers Union of Alberta,
Bow Island, Alta.