From the Archives: Saskatchewan farmers talked of striking for better prices

The Western Producer takes a weekly look at some of the stories that made headlines in issues of the paper from 75, 50, 25 and 10 years ago.

75 years ago: Sept. 11, 1941

The Western Producer published a front page article from the Sask-atchewan Wheat Pool about what it called an unfair rail car allocation system that was forcing pool members to deliver grain to rival companies.

The issue was over not basing allocation on temporary storage, which the pool had more of than the traditional line companies.

Prairie farmers were becoming interested in growing corn, particularly in Manitoba, where shelled corn production increased to 1.5 million bushels in 1940 from 600,000 bu. in 1939. Farmers in southwestern Saskatchewan were also reported to have had success with corn, including the Colqu-houns of Maple Creek, but production in that province was considered negligible.

50 years ago: Sept. 8, 1966

The federal government used legislation to enforce settlement of a six day rail strike, but not all workers were going back to work. The railways weren’t happy, either, calling it a “very expensive settlement.”

Sask Pool’s board of directors was discussing a resolution that asked the company to conduct a province-wide survey to find out what farmers thought of possible strike action to back demands for higher prices for their products.

25 years ago: Sept. 12, 1991

Some things never change. Twenty-five years later and striking workers were still playing havoc with efforts to export grain. This time it was federal public servants, who admitted targeting the export grain industry. “We wanted to bring it to a halt because it is an effective way to put pressure on the government,” said Larry Leng, acting president of the agricultural union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Harvey McEwen, president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, took his fellow farmers to task for demanding more financial assistance from government.

“As a farm leader I was disappointed, as a general citizen I was sort of disgusted,” he said.

“There was such a grand display of grovelling and snivelling and begging that I thought was rather unbecoming.”

10 years ago: Sept. 7, 2006

Agriculture Canada and Pulse Canada were pointing fingers at each other in the aftermath of a trade dispute with China over selenium levels in peas.

The pulse industry said it could have been working on dismantling the costly trade barrier if Ottawa had been on the ball, while the government said the organization had ample opportunity to provide input but didn’t.

As debate increased over the federal government’s plan to dismantle single desk marketing, the Canadian Wheat Board received support from an unlikely source — the Communist Party of Canada.

The wheat board declined to comment.

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