An obsession with free trade has been disastrous for farmers.  |  File photo

Farming needs a new policy direction

Last month the federal government announced another “compensation” package for dairy farmers. Canadian dairy farmers have been deprived of 3.5 percent of our dairy market to European cheese under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, 3.5 percent more to Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership countries, and under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada […] Read more

Organic milk producers must be in compliance with protocols and standards set by the Canadian Organic Regulation.  |  File photo

Milk pricing system fair for everyone

A front-page story in a recent edition of the Toronto Star claimed to be an investigative report about milk in the grocery stores. While it is an interesting account of different practices of several dairy farmers, it comes to wrong and misleading conclusions that don’t do justice to the realities of conventional and organic milk, […] Read more

An inquisitive purebred Holstein cow awaits its turn in the milking parlour at Van den Pol Dairy. | File photo

Saving our supply managed beacons

With U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric, it looked like NAFTA renegotiations would end in a stalemate. However, Canadian giveaways to appease Trump are keeping talks for a reformed North American Free Trade Agreement alive. Farmers and consumers must not be complacent regarding the federal government’s political commitments to defend supply management against Trump’s […] Read more

The National Farmers Union argues that the NDP government in British Columbia should have stopped building the hydroelectric dam on the Peace River.  |  File photo

Site C decision rewards renegades

Hydroelectric dam in its early stages on the Peace River

When British Columbia’s new government was sworn in last spring, many people hoped for a renewed respect for treaty rights and First Nation communities. The promise to have the B.C. Utility Commission report on the construction plans of Site C was encouraging. When the report was issued in October, there were even more reasons to […] Read more

The National Farmers Union says several of its incorporated members have asked their accountants’ opinion on implications for their farms and all were assured that the proposed legislation would have no negative impacts for them.  |  File photo

Remove the heat from tax debate

The federal government is proposing changes to the Income Tax Act aimed at collecting revenue from corporations that are using certain measures as loopholes to shelter profits from being taxed at the same rate as other Canadians’ income. There is a heated debate in the farm community about these tax proposals, largely because some organizations […] Read more

SARM should focus on how governments and corporations are stealing from farmers and rural communities, rather than individuals, says the author.  |  Getty photo

SARM delegates aim at wrong target

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities has called on the federal government to expand the legal justification for self-defence. In March, 93 percent of delegates at SARM’s annual convention voted in favour of a resolution indicating they believe rural residents do not have adequate rights to protect themselves or their property. It is frustrating when […] Read more

Canadian agricultural exports are still disadvantaged because of transportation costs, despite trade agreements, says the author.  |  Robert Arnason photo

Rural Canada can’t afford trade giveaways

In the decades since the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and later the North American Free Trade Agreement were signed, Canadian agriculture has undergone a significant shift. There was once a multitude of diverse local and regional economic drivers, but now we have a one-size-fits-all, export-driven, low-priced commodity production model. Farm capital needs have sky-rocketed […] Read more

Democracy, supply management threatened

The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism gives foreign corporations the right to sue our government if they believe their future profits will be reduced as a result of democratically enacted measures. While ISDS puts a chill on public interest regulation, the TPP also has more insidious ways of overturning democratic decision-making and imposing […] Read more

Conference board report self serving

The Conference Board of Canada embraces the mantra that “all growth is good.” Its plan to change supply management for growth is a prescription for weakening, if not eliminating, the three pillars of supply management for dairy production in Canada — production controls, import tariffs and farmers’ cost of production pricing — to produce more […] Read more

Could a farmer-controlled agency help solve transportation woes, asks the author.  |  William DeKay photo

Backlog in grain, backlog in democracy

Believe it or not, there is a relationship between the backlog in prairie grain and the Fair Elections Act. Here’s how. As prairie farmers wait anxiously for the backlog in grain transportation to be resolved and for prices that at least cover the cost of production, agriculture minister Gerry Ritz and friends continue to meet […] Read more