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 24, 1941
In a full page editorial that began on the front page, The Western Producer savaged federal agriculture minister James Gardiner for his new wheat policy and how he tried to sell it to farmers.
The paper was particularly scathing in its response to Gardiner’s appeal to farmers’ patriotism as he urged them to grow less wheat and accept lower prices.
The federal government announced the formation of a special products board to deal with agricultural products exported to Great Britain other than bacon and dairy products, which already had their own boards. Ottawa said the new board was made necessary by a recent agreement with the British food ministry to export eggs.
50 years ago: April 21, 1966
Canada was breaking nearly every grain handling and export record as an unprecedented volume of grain moved from country points to export markets. A total of 242,223 boxcars of grain, including 189,504 cars of wheat, were loaded at country elevators between Aug. 1, 1965, and March 30.
The number of boxcars unloaded at Vancouver and the Lakehead were also at record levels.
A report by the Manitoba Economic Consultative Board said Manitoba needed more large farms run by specialists and technologists if the province was to grow and prosper agriculturally. It also said separate agricultural policies would be needed for large commercial operations and smaller family-type farms.
25 years ago: April 25, 1991
A federal cabinet shuffle saw agriculture minister Don Mazankowski from Alberta move to finance and defence minister Bill McKnight from Saskatchewan move to agriculture.
“I don’t see any radical changes,” McKnight said.
Farm debt review boards were getting busier in Saskatchewan. More than 10,000 of the province’s 60,000 farmers had gone through either the provincial Farm Land Security Board or the federal Farm Debt Review Board, and an increasing number of rural municipalities were seeing more than 20 percent of their farmers seeking help from the boards.
For example, 41 of the 108 farmers in the RM of Gull Lake, or 37 percent, and 132 of 401 farmers in the RM of Kindersley, or 33 percent, had gone through the boards.
10 years ago: April 20, 2006
A U.S. court ruled that the North Dakota Wheat Commission could no longer receive money from tariffs collected on Canadian wheat imports. The commission, which had initiated the wheat trade challenge, had already received US$128,000 and was expecting to receive another $370,000. “This money is being used to subsidize trade harassment of Canadian wheat,” said Canadian Wheat Board chair Ken Ritter.
David Anderson, a Saskatchewan MP and parliamentary secretary to agriculture minister Chuck Strahl, said it was only a matter of time before access to information legislation would apply to the Canadian Wheat Board.
The board had been excluded from the Conservatives’ new Accountability Act, but Anderson said he had been assured “there is every intention to make that change.”