From the Archives: Farmers march on Parliament Hill over threat to supply management

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: Feb. 26, 1942

Saskatchewan Pool Elevators was in the final stages of distributing $900,000 in patronage dividends based on members’ grain deliveries to pool elevators in 1940-41.

The dominion government planned to allocate $30 million less to the agriculture department in 1941-42 than it did in the previous year. The spending estimates tabled in the House of Commons included an $18.5 million appropriation for agriculture.

50 years ago: March 2, 1967

A report released by a royal commission studying taxation included a recommendation to tax patronage dividends paid to members of consumer co-operatives and credit unions. The commission, which was headed by Kenneth Carter, former president of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, also proposed taxing co-ops and credit unions at a new flat corporate rate of 50 percent of taxable income.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s annual submission to the federal government included a demand for higher milk and wheat prices and a call for a national conference of all governments and farm organizations that would conduct a major review of agricultural goals.

25 years ago: Feb. 27, 1992

It was estimated that more than 30,000 farmers marched on Parliament Hill to tell the federal government that it must protect farm marketing boards. Farmers were worried that a proposed world trade agreement would end import controls that allowed Canada’s supply management system to operate against foreign competition.

A judge threw cold water on a plan to set up pickets on major rail lines to stop grain movement. Members of a splinter group of the Concerned Farmers of Saskatchewan organization hoped the blockade would support their demands for higher grain prices but agreed to abide by the Court of Queen’s Bench injunction ordering them not to interfere with railway operations.

10 years ago: March 1, 2007

Winter wheat breeders complained that kernel visual distinguishability requirements were preventing the registration of high-yielding, high-starch varieties.

“We should just shut down all the winter wheat breeding programs in Western Canada and put all of our efforts into trying to get KVD out of the system,” said Brian Fowler of the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre.

“That would be a lot more productive.”

Two varieties of red winter wheat put forward for registration at a meeting of the Prairie Grain Development Committee had just been rejected because of KVD issues.

Fewer than 14,000 of the more than 200,000 farmers counted by Statistics Canada had a reasonable chance of making an adequate family living from farming, said a report from the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.

The rest would have gross revenues too small to reasonably expect to support a farm family without off-farm income or government support.

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