Letters to the editor – February 7, 2013


Re: Lawsuit proceeds despite ruling, WP Jan. 24.

For the most part, I think farmers will acknowledge the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the (Canadian) Wheat Board appeal case and continue on with their normal everyday lives and challenges.

But every once in a while they will be jolted by a distinct, wafting, unpleasant odour that emanates from the office of Canada’s agriculture minister.

This will be a reminder of minister (Gerry) Ritz, and his abandonment of a promise to consult with farmers and respect a vote for those who support single desk selling. He told farmers that he respects democracy.

Consulting of farmers ended up as insulting of farmers. Yes, the single desk selling has been terminated, but the officious manner in how it was accomplished will be remembered for a long time, maybe even to the next federal election.

John Fefchak,
Virden, Man.


The paper has been reporting in the last two or three issues that grain movement since the removal of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly is just wonderful. The last article in the Jan. 24 edition reports the wheat growers state grain movement has no glitches.

The wheat growers do not nor never wanted to market wheat or barley through the CWB. All those who wanted the monopoly gone are telling the general public that everybody is elated. The grain companies do not want the CWB to survive and they are doing everything they can to discourage farmers to sign CWB contracts.

I am a retired farmer and I have stayed in contact with farm relatives and farm friends in different parts of the three prairie provinces. Here is what they are telling me. If they signed a CWB contract, the elevator company informs the farmer there is no room for CWB grain. They are informed there is room for open market grain. Surprise, surprise.

Also, if a farmer goes into the elevator and wants to sign a CWB contract, the farmer is told that if he signs a CWB contract then that grain will be the last grain called for. Open market grain takes preference over CWB grain and that is how the grain companies will destroy the CWB.

So, in summary, open market grain is getting accepted at the expense of CWB grain. If this trend continues, the CWB will be just a memory in less than five years.

Just remember, the grain companies are now selling the majority of the grain to the end users and all that profit is not going to farmers. The grain companies want all the grain to be controlled by them and them alone at the farmers’ expense. What goes on in the grain trade is as clear as mud.

David Bailey,
Saskatoon, Sask.


Re: Story by Barb Glen WP Jan. 17, The perks of forest bathing.

This story has motivated me to relate some of my experience growing up on a farm in the parkland of this province. I had recently submitted a commentary on the Emma Lake Art School founded mainly by Gus Kenderdine and the Cowleys. My intention was to salute these people for their belief in wilderness life.

My own parents probably indoctrinated me this way. Cutting logs with an axe for a house seemed to be therapy one summer after a tuberculin reaction. The girl I married later was co-operative, as we took to farming, possibly mindful of some of her family adapting.

I had a boyhood love of trees and was delighted upon finding a small spruce in pasture. My father went with me and it survives in the yard, a kind of lesson to me in retirement. A neighbour lady observed that aspens near their yard seemed to group as families, leafing or yellowing together.

I am not advocating moving into the forest. Perhaps others interested in yoga or meditation can see a relationship. My parents were lovers of nature, so I may have inherited an attitude.

T. R. Smith,
Pathlow, Sask.


Yes, Kevin, you are probably right about the attitude of farmers as to entitlement (WP column by Kevin Hursh, Jan. 10), but what hasn’t changed in the consumers’ attitude about entitlement?

Where on earth do you think farmers got that attitude? Year after year they supply cheap food (meat and grain) to consumers. North America, Canada in particular, has the cheapest food in the world. I think your ancestor farmers would turn over in their graves if they knew you were accusing them of wanting or expecting something that they had not earned and, I might say, worked very hard for.

I am also very disappointed in your attitude. With your background, you should be defending farmers of the past as well as farmers of the present, not running them down.

And I would ask, why should farmers be any different than the rest of the population? You tell me how many people you know are working to feed the world as opposed to feeding themselves? Because most farmers do want to feed the world. But they would also like to get some compensation for it. If you think working people are doing it to feed the world, why do they retire the first chance they get and let pensions feed them?

You mention the government stepping up and helping farmers in weather related situations. Are you saying the government never helps the public when their homes or businesses are damaged and also result in lost income? And what about the government’s involvement in the automotive industry when they were in financial trouble? That involvement helped those huge businesses and in doing so kept a lot of working people keep their jobs secure.

I could go on and on, but you should be able to see that the general public gets as much if not more help than farmers ever did. Kevin, you should tell people, the public, how much money the farmer actually gets from the products they produce, because a farmer gets 12 to 15 cents out of a $3 to $4 loaf of bread.

Kenneth Leftwich,
Esterhazy, Sask.


It was with total disgust that I read the Grain Growers of Canada were receiving $208,000 from the federal government. This money is supposedly for promoting and educating customers around the world about Canadian grain. The money will also be used to send favoured farmers on overseas trade missions.

The farmer-controlled Canadian Wheat Board that (prime minister Stephen) Harper killed promoted Canadian grain sales and developed good relationships with approximately 70 countries around the world.

Isn’t (agriculture minister Gerry) Ritz’s new CWB doing a good enough job for the federal government? Why does it have to waste taxpayers’ money to send their “select farmers,” most of whom are shills for the grain industry, on overseas junkets?

With the Conservative government eliminating the CWB’s single desk and turning over grain marketing to the so-called “open market,” the grain companies are doing sales and presumably advocating the benefits of Canadian grain. Shouldn’t these sellers be responsible for promoting their products? Didn’t the mighty Gerry Ritz himself say that farmers’ responsibilities ended when the grain hit the elevator pit?

The other question is, since when did the Grain Growers of Canada, so many of whom are just industry shills, become experts at promoting the grain industry in Canada?

Their expertise has been in promoting the Conservatives’ ideology of ending the single desk and removing any farmer control by turning our grain over to the international grain companies.

It looks like holding a Conservative party card and being a No. 1 government promoter of their insane farm policies will probably ensure you an overseas vacation on the public dime disguised as a trade mission.

Eric Sagan,
Melville, Sask.



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