From the Archives: ‘Marketing boards, supply management wrong,’ said Otto Lang

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: April 23, 1942

The International Harvester Company of Canada planned to use its 3,000 dealers to promote farm salvage. Farmers would be paid for their scrap metal after it had been sold. The plan was approved by War Services Minister J.T. Thorson.

Minister Thorson also announced that a conscription exemption for farm workers would not apply to those who left a non-agricultural job to go work on a farm. “Quite a number” of workers had quit their jobs in industrial plants to find work on farms after the conscription regulations were announced, he said.

50 years ago: April 27, 1967

A three-day storm dumped as much as 60 centimetres of snow on southern Alberta. It was a hard blow for the region’s ranchers, and losses of newborn range calves were expected to be high.

The prairie job situation was generally good with lots of employment opportunities, but farmers, particularly in Manitoba, were having trouble finding workers. Sugar beet growers in the Portage la Prairie area were recruiting workers on Indian reserves.

Alberta declared June 9 Farmers’ Day for rural schoolchildren. The day would be a school holiday for all schools except those in or near Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer.

25 years ago: April 23, 1992

Otto Lang, a former federal Liberal cabinet minister, said the country should welcome the disappearance of supply managed marketing boards under the proposed General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade deal. “We all know marketing boards and supply management are wrong and we all know Gene Whelan was wrong,” said Lang, who was the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board when marketing boards were introduced 20 years earlier. Whelan, who was the agriculture minister at the time, oversaw their implementation.

A group of Saskatchewan farmers took the provincial government to court for changing the Gross Revenue Insurance Plan. “We want to prove the changes are illegal and are asking for the return of last year’s contract,” said Al Kormos.

10 years ago: April 26, 2007

Farmers were facing record flood levels in parts of Saskatchewan, which was likely to delay seeding. “It’s one in 25 (years) in lots of places. One in 50 in some; one in 100 in others and for the Pipestone (Creek) feeding into Nut Lake near Rose Valley, well, it’s the highest flows on record,” said Doug Johnson of the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority.

The federal Conservative government published regulatory changes that it planned to use to remove the barley monopoly for the wheat board Aug. 1.

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