Letters to the editor – November 9, 2017

An equitable society

We are often told that there is not enough money available to create a genuine equitable society to provide the basic needs of life for all human beings.  So why even try?

However, a team of economists set out to establish the fact that an equitable society  is possible if we cut out or reduce programs that collect billions of dollars to fund corporations, or those who are already wealthy.

These include ending fossil fuel subsidies (worth about $775 billion globally), getting a fairer share of the financial sectors earnings by imposing a transaction tax (which could raise $650 billion globally, according to the European Parliament), increasing royalties on fossil fuel extractions, raising income tax on corporations and the wealthiest people, (lots of room there, a one percent billionaire’s tax alone could raise $45 billion globally).

According to the United Nations, a progressive carbon tax (at  $50 per metric ton of CO2, emitted in developed countries), would raise an estimated $450 billion annually, and if the top 10 global military spenders were cut by 25 percent, that would free up $325 billion (these are numbers reported by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute).

However, this group forgot to mention the fact  that billions of dollars of taxable money — perhaps the greatest revenue potential of all — are illegally siphoned off to off-shore tax havens. It is the responsibility of government to shut down the availability of those tax havens. Siphoning off taxable money to offshore tax havens should be considered a crime. Those evading the payment of legal taxes should be fined the appropriate amounts to discourage them from evading the payment of legal taxes.

It is the responsibility  of voters to inform their political leaders that an equitable society is possible. Presently, more money is being accumulated by those already wealthy, instead being used to fund programs that would contribute to society in general.

A genuine equitable society would a make a tremendous contribution towards decreasing criminal acts.  This would then allow human beings to  interact within an evolving peaceful environment in the daily lives of all citizens.

Leo Kurtenbach,
Saskatoon, Sask.

Lament loss of CWB

Five years after the loss of the Canadian Wheat Board, farmers have turned back the clock 100 years.

The farmers missed the boat by letting both the Saskatchewan Party and the federal Tories get rid of the CWB — at what cost to them?

Commodity prices posted publicly are usually the lowest available.

Farmers shipping their grain wind up begging for a good price. Today, No.1 wheat with 11 percent protein is selling for $4.23 per bushel.

Wheat export price in Vancouver is $9.44 per bu. and in Thunder Bay $11.80 per bu. Six years ago I sold my No. 1 wheat to the CWB at $8.50 per bu. So much for the open market, but not so open information.

The blame is on every farmer who was sleeping at the switch. In the last election Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced you could sell all the grain you produced — but at what price?

For example, the average farmer today produces 70,000 bu. of wheat. Five years ago, No. 1 wheat 13.5 percent was $8.50 per bu., so if you sold 70,000 bu. you would get $595,000.

Today you are likely to get $5.10 per bu., so 70,000 bu. would bring $350,000. Instead of getting $595,000 for his crop, the farmer gets $350,000 — a loss of $245,000. This amount of loss over the five years without the CWB comes to $1,225,000.

Under the CWB, farmers would get paid 88 percent of export prices. Today, under the open market, we get 40 percent.

Farming without the Crow rate and the CWB is hard to do. Other farm leaders were destroying what our forefathers fought for.

How can anyone’s farm survive on wheat at $5 per bu. and canola at$12 per bu.? A four-wheel-drive tractor imported from the U.S. costs $700,000.

With $5 wheat you need 140,000 bu. to buy the tractor. At 30 bu. per acre, you need 4,700 acres to grow the crop to pay for this tractor. 

The big farmers have been sleeping since the loss of the CWB. Farm Credit (Canada) tells us a three-year loss is the end of farming. Big volumes of grain do not pay the outstanding bills.

Because the big farmers did not support the CWB their only option is to sell out or to downsize.

We have to thank both the federal and provincial conservative governments for this. 

Edward Sagan
Director, National Farmers Union
Saskatchewan Region
Melville, Sask. 

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