Letters to the editor – March 31, 2016

Oil and gas don’t rule

In response to the article “Expert has Grim Outlook on Alberta’s Economy” in the March 3 issue, I saw a different perspective, and it was anything but grim.

While Todd Hirsch certainly had some gloomy forecasts as to the price of oil and the Canadian dollar, there was also a silver lining.

Admittedly, Alberta’s and Canada’s economies are very closely tied to the oil and gas industry. This affects every other part of the economy and opens us up to all the hurt of a heavy boom-bust cycle.

The solution should be simple, — diversify the economy and we can spread the pain. We can build an economic safety net by putting our eggs in more than one industry’s basket.

As is mentioned in the article, however, governments have been trying to diversify the economy for quite some time with little success.

Why have these attempts been unsuccessful? Because all the money was in the oil and gas industry. Everyone wanted to work for and invest in the industry with the highest returns. They had a monopoly on the labour market,and other industries just couldn’t compete.

This is no longer true. There is a labour force out there that is ready to work. Resources that would formerly have been invested into the energy sector can now be concentrated into other areas. Instead of simply trying to wait for things to “return to normal,” we need to be innovative and creative to seize the opportunities that are opening up in Canada’s economy.

Kale Scarff
Edmonton, Alta.

Global warming effects

In response to the article “Supreme growing conditions for West expected” (WP, March 3). It was disappointing to read the enthusiastic voice of a climatologist predicting supreme growing conditions in Western Canada, resulting from the current extreme El Nino events.

Although difficult to model, there is no doubt that the current trends in El Nino events are being amplified by global warming trends; therefore, resulting in a higher frequency and intensity of El Nino events, ones that have been rippling their effects around the globe.

From my standpoint, weather patterns are not just a little screwed up, but rather may be due to a much larger consequence. The consequence being countless years of anthropogenic effects leading to climate warming, resulting in the many intensified and prolonged weather events that we have been seeing around the globe in recent years.

Perhaps supreme conditions resulting from an El Nino is not something that should be viewed positively, when the consequences of why this is occurring, far outweigh the benefits of a single good growing season.

Globalization has led to a great interconnectedness in resources; therefore, a loss in one area should start to be viewed as a loss of the whole system. Western Canada relies on major imports from both provincial and international neighbours.

Should we not be more concerned that our neigh-bours are facing conditions that will not be favorable to production? If I’m not mistaken, self-mindedness and competition within the market is what led us into climate issues to begin with.

Megan MacGregor
Sherwood Park, Alta

Need for transparency

I read with great humour the comments made by FarmCo President John DePape in the Feb. 4 edition of The Western Producer. (Marketing tool opens doors for producers.)

In response to whether port country data was important DePape said, “Personally, I don’t favour reporting actual sales data at the port because that’s competitive (information) and should be confidential.”

Has DePape seen the light?

He certainly did not say this when he questioned every sale the CWB made.

DePape goes on to say he is concerned about timing of reporting prices of grain to compare since grain companies may not be selling it the same day they are pricing it.

But it never stopped him from critizing the CWB when he would compare spot prices to port prices.

DePape always criticized the CWB for not being more transparent in their sales data now he questions the motivation behind increased transparency, mainly that farmers want to know if they are being gouged.

To expect that the industry would have no checks and balances to ensure it is not gouging farmers is ridiculous; especially in view of the fact that the CWB did have an insight into actual sale data, actual basis values, actual transportation costs and grain company handling costs.

Farmers do need more transparency in grain pricing. Not many realize that the futures markets are not the price grain is sold for, only the value that it can be hedged at.

Farmers did have price transparency with the single desk. But that was taken away by the likes of DePape who now whine that transparency in grain pricing is not required, and are really saying it is okay if farmers get gouged.

Market Freedom is here.

Kyle Korneychuk
Pelly, Saskatchewan



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