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Letters to the editor

Border games

To the Editor:

What makes these farmers performing theatrics at the border think the U.S. will allow unrestricted access to Canadian farm trucks?

The U.S. has spent the last 10 years using the Export Enhancement Program to ruin international prices, with the obvious result that Canadian pooled prices have reflected those destroyed prices.

Will they allow us to flood one of the few markets where they did not destroy prices, that being their own U.S. market? Not likely, they’d quickly set a limit.

A certain percentage of Wheat Board sales, as much as possible, is made into the U.S. There is no way the Wheat Board is receiving less overall for those sales than individual farmers competing against each other would receive.

If these limited U.S. markets were freely open to all Canadian farmers, the average Canadian farmer’s return from the U.S. market would be smaller.

The pooled price ends up lower than the U.S. price, yes, but it has to reflect all international and domestic sales.

We have the advantage of a central marketing agency to help us cope with the disadvantage of having to export 80 percent of our crop. A dual marketing system would wreck the pooling system by allowing one of the few high-priced markets to be drained off from the pool.

This debate should not be about whether a few people should be able to haul across the border. They are challenging the pooling system at the heart of Canadian grain marketing.

What they are challenging is whether grain should be pooled at all. It wouldn’t hurt them to listen to the list of advantages the Wheat Board system provides. I recently saw a Wheat Board presentation showing how much of its sales are returned to the producer versus how much of open-market canola sales find their way to the producer.

There is a considerable Wheat Board advantage.

The presentation also showed the advantage of not having Canadian companies competing against each other and driving the price down in markets that Canada has worked to capture.

This is not government propaganda. This is your Wheat Board explaining itself.

I’d like to see a careful accounting of the farmer advantages of an American system versus our system.

Not many, I think.

– Harold S. Brooks,

Clavet, Sask.

Baiting

To the Editor:

I have a letter from the Hon. Roy Romanow who states that they are trying to find a middle way between those who support baiting game animals and those that don’t. He has also said that he sends his MLAs out to listen to public opinion.

After reading the 1995 Game Guide, the MLAs must have used only one ear, the one tuned in to the outfitters, as apparently all the protests that the public has been bombarding the government with have been totally ignored.

Not only is the baiting of game against public opinion but it is class legislation for the benefit of the outfitters only.

What chance has the hunter from the urban area to find a place to put out bait three months before the season opens?

The regulations regarding baiting doesn’t make sense; there is no way they can be enforced. Does every conservation officer carry a gallon measure and a scale to measure the amount of bait put out? How does he find these bait stations or measure the bait that is scattered around by the animals?

Why do we allow this in Saskatchewan when it has been a criminal offence in the U.S.A. for the last 60 years?

The WLF say their policy is to take care of the wildlife of this province. Why are they so quiet on this issue?

It must be a very proud sportsman who kills an animal that has been tamed by three months feeding, at 50 yards with a rifle with a 10-power scope that could kill an elephant.

I would say to these so-called sportsmen, that if they get such a thrill from this type of slaughter they should get a job on the killing floor of a slaughter house.

They would be right in their element.

– N. Sibley,

North Battleford, Sask.

Power rates

To the Editor:

I wish to discuss the proposed SaskPower rate increases.

First, I do not believe that the increases are necessary considering the $85 million profits of last year and similar profits since the early 1990s.

Where did the profits go?

Secondly, I was informed by the Finance Minister that the increase is necessary to pay for our large infrastructure.

This large infrastructure was built to a large extent to supply large corporations with the energy they required.

Now the suggestion is that they can buy power cheaper from other provinces and leave the rest of us to pay for the infrastructure. Perhaps the rest of us should organize and negotiate a cheaper rate from other provinces.

Third, I thought that this was a grassroots government that cared about all its residents. Doesn’t the agricultural industry and other small business and industry matter, or is it only a few large corporations that require a lot of energy? I would expect that the agricultural industry combined with small industry and business employs more people than a few large corporations.

When farmers were in a price-cost squeeze we were told to sharpen our pencils and become more efficient, better managers. Perhaps that is what SaskPower should do.

I am informed that our new hydro dam at Nipawin and our other dam north of Carrot River have several turbines that are not even used.

We are paying for the building and maintenance of these dams whether or not they are used.

Why not put these turbines into use and generate more electricity which could be sold at a cheaper, more competitive rate with other provinces, as it would cost very little more to produce the extra electricity?

I am definitely against the proposed increases. How are we supposed to compete in a global marketplace when we are burdened with such rate increases?

The questionnaire that was sent out is an insult to our intelligence. It is my firm belief that the minister responsible should pay an environmental tax (out of his own pocket) on that piece of garbage.

– Linda Enequist,

Prince Albert, Sask.

Plains hospital

To the Editor:

Why close the Plains Hospital in Regina? Let’s take a look at the aged Parliament Building. What does it cost the taxpayers of Saskatchewan to keep this colossus running?

Isn’t it long overdue for a restructuring process also?

Let’s sell the old building to a private concern for a museum. Switch all the offices to the Plains Hospital building and what’s left over, turn the rest into a commercial enterprise.

Or, better yet, why not use the computer network to do the province’s business and have a stay-at-home office? Just think of the money we could save doing that. Will this cause the government any inconvenience? Well it’s called “do unto others,” and see if you like it.

– Lillian Johnston,

Hazlet, Sask.

Quebec divided

To the Editor:

So the Referendum has come and gone. The shouting and tumult has died away. The Captains and Kings departed.

Now what?

It is now plain the Separatist leaders are not accepting the verdict. I do not fault them for this. A 50-50 split is not viable.

Perhaps the time has come to consider setting up two Quebecs, a French north shore and English south shore.

Montreal could become a free city, some such have done quite well in the past.

A corporation could be set up to assist any who wished to cross the river either way, also to act as a trustee for immovable property. The last thing anybody wants is a “fire sale.”

Should the French become dominant in Quebec I fear Anglophones would become second class citizens. There would be none of this bilingual multi-culturalism nonsense. This would annoy the rest of Canada, leading perhaps to a rerun of the Abraham battle which would not solve any problems, only serving to reduce number of contestants.

I was not born in Canada, but it is mine and I cherish it.

– Eric Ashley,

Kindersley, Sask.

Distinct society

To the Editor:

A democracy’s constitution must embrace its goals, not its genes!

Neither a united humanity nor an enlightened democracy can be built on ethnic vanities.

The continuing tragic ethnic wars of our world attest to the folly of promoting societies and distinctions based on ethnic heritage.

A wise and just society builds on the equality, creativity and unity of all individuals without regard to birth or background.

Our mess is the result of historical political manipulation. It must be resolved by cautious wisdom and statesmanship.

Entrenching “distinct society” status based on the dominant ethnic group in a nation or province cannot be justified (either by history or urgency) anymore than granting or continuing special status for the historically dominant gender, color or creed. Better separate than degenerate!

Some politicians are again rushing to embrace and legislate that same unfortunate and unimaginative proposal, twice rejected by a greater wisdom. Beware of quick fixes by slow learners!

– T. A. Howe, Q.C.,

Regina, Sask.

Quebec PMs?

To the Editor:

It is time that Canadians dispensed with Prime Ministers born in Quebec.

What is Quebec anyway? It seems a province in which half of the population wants a divorce from Canada while still retaining bedroom privileges. Ridiculous!

In the last 30 years, chiefly under Quebec-born prime ministers, Canada’s national debt has gone from less than $25 billion to over $550 billion.

The yearly interest on that debt is crippling our economy. The yearly interest alone would drive the economy to provide much needed jobs for young people. The fact is we have little to show for our crippling interest burden, our debt burden.

It paid for lucrative jobs for the cozy inner circle in federal politics, for overpaid wages for unions whose employers moved many jobs offshore.

It paid for support of noisy, special interest groups, who always knew in advance when a special interest hearing was coming up and who turned out en masse to spout the government position.

Which of these was worth burying Canada in this monstrous debt?

– Jean Ferguson,

Calgary, Alta.

Quebec future

To the Editor:

At least one Quebec leader has resigned, and there is no doubt that Jean ChrŽtien will be forced to do so. And we might have to face a federal election in the near future, unless there can be an agreement on a new Prime Minister.

It is certain that we cannot settle the Quebec problem, unless we have a Prime Minister with no ties to Quebec. And we should move most government departments out of Quebec. It does not make sense to concentrate our armed services headquarters and bases in a province that is determined to separate from the rest of Canada.

If, as is quite possible, Quebec separatism ends in a civil war in Canada, the other nine provinces and two territories should have control of our armed services plus most of our federal government departments.

– J. R. Clayton,

Killarney, Man.

Complainers

To the Editor:

I’m getting a little annoyed with those farmers that are complaining about the financial institutions not passing on the Crow buy-out more to their tenants. I agree where the lease arrangement is voluntary, the landlord and tenant should negotiate the share of the payment.

If the landlord wants to share it, that is their choice. In the future the tenant can then adjust what they are willing to pay.

But, in the case of the six-year lease-back program the lease is not voluntary. The financial institutions were forced by provincial legislation to lease back to the farmer who lost the land. I want to make it clear, I believe a lot of farmers lost their land due to a cost/price squeeze. Others, on the other hand, lost their land due to poor management and outrageous lifestyles.

If you were a financial institution, or any landlord, would you rent to a farmer that lost their land because of poor management or would you rent to someone with proven management skills? They may not have leased the land back to the farmer that lost it, they weren’t given a choice.

Now these people are saying “because I am renting this land I should also get the Crow buy-out money.”

The purpose of the Crow buy-out money is to compensate farmers for higher freight rates in the future. Who is to say that at the end of the six-year lease-back the current tenant will be the owner? What right do they have to this money?

I was one of the foolish farmers that struggled through the tough times and made my payments and didn’t lose my land.

I would like to be renting some of this land for what those people are paying. I don’t get a chance at it.

I would also like a chance to buy some of this land for what the financial institutions are offering it to these people … usually well below market price.

I know of one farmer who bought his land back from FCC for seven times the assessment and turned around and sold it for 10 times the assessment.

At least if I bought this land it would be to farm it. I don’t get a chance at it.

And wouldn’t it be nice if someone gave me the money for the down payment? I hear FCC is passing on all of the Crow buy-out money so these people can use it for a down payment to buy their land back.

So, please don’t tell me how hard done by you are, I get a little annoyed.

– Glen Nunwiler,

Eatonia, Sask.

Protect CWB

To the Editor:

Cargill can smell death in the winds of the west. The Alberta Barley Commission, or should I say the Klein administration, can smell the fruits of their investment. They have convinced the press and a few border jumpers that the Wheat Board is dying.

Not so. I’m happy to say western Canadian food producers are intelligent and informed business people. We realize the only entity protecting us from international greed is the Canadian Wheat Board.

Grain companies want to increase their profits, not ours. Producers know that we could profit further if the CWB was marketing our flax, canola and oats. With Canada’s share of the world canola production, the CWB could give us $7.50/bu. for our canola up front with interim and final payments to follow. Cash now and price confidence always perfect.

Commodities speculation and daily price fluctuations made our parents appreciate the work of the CWB. Daily price changes help only the grain companies that buy from individuals who can’t wait for higher prices. It’s sickening and it’s undermining our rural fabric.

Let us end this cycle. Mr. Goodale must be made aware that the CWB is a cost-effective marketing agency that can ensure the viability of all producers and rural communities that depend on us.

Attacks on the Board by the few must be countered by a demand by the many to protect and enhance the mandate of the CWB.

– J. Ross Murray,

Young, Sask.

Unfunny comic

To the Editor:

With reference to your comic strip “Betty” Nov. 23, I find your portrayal of a mouse being chained to an altar as feed for a snake to be in very bad taste.

There is enough cruelty in the world without it being shown in comics which children undoubtedly read. I hope no more of this will be shown or I shall cancel my subscription.

– Phil Johnson,

Wainwright, Alta.

Grain drought

To the Editor:

This year is difficult for many who are purchasing feed grain. I am writing in support of the domestic feed grain market. We all have friends and relatives who are employed because of the large value-added business which has resulted from our livestock production.

The Canadian livestock industry has its own challenges. Distance from markets is as big an expense for us as for the grain industry. We also need to sell into countries where the governments would rather purchase our grain and feed livestock themselves in order to create jobs for their own people.

Our own government has financed the sale of billions of dollars worth of grain and has written off billions of dollars in bad debts. The Canadian industry has had to pay cash for its grain.

Our country has advantages for livestock production but we also have a relatively high labor and tax cost. It costs four times more to construct a new hog operation in Canada as it does in parts of the States.

My sympathies are for grain and cattle producers who got hit by drought this year. Grain producers are not able to take advantage of the higher prices and cattle producers have low calf prices plus high feed costs which they need to purchase because of drought.

– Laverne Isaac,

Medstead, Sask.

Pick on others

To the Editor:

What happened to Terry Fries? Did he wake up real grouchy or is he blind in one eye and can’t see in the other? I am referring to his article in the Nov. 23 Producer, “Plebiscite frenzy grips Alberta.”

Has Terry not noticed that hospitals are being closed in Saskatchewan; is he not aware that social programs are being cut in Saskatchewan? Has he not noticed that this is also happening in B.C.? Why pick on us poor Albertans?

We already have the burden of Walter Paszkowski, our Minister against Agriculture, Ralph Klein, whom he may have heard of, and Grant Mitchell, an opposition leader whose most important issue is equal rights for homosexuals! Do we need Terry to pick on us as well?

The height is that Terry seems to think all Albertans think alike or even agree with what is going on here. Give us a little more credit than that, Terry.

Instead of bad-mouthing Albertans perhaps Terry could have an article on better alternatives to the present worldwide way of solving problems. After all it’s easy to criticize; coming up with better alternatives is much harder. A statement in the news recently may illustrate my point: “In order for agriculture to thrive there needs to be much more value-adding and secondary processing.” Was this statement made by a) the illustrious Mr. Paszkowski, b) a leader of a major Alberta farm group? The answer is b) President Ron Leonhart of Unifarm. What is different about his position compared to dozens of other farm leaders or the governments or economists or a myriad of other “experts?” If you have the choice of a lousy meal or bad food, which do you choose?

Your assignment for the next week, Terry, is to come up with truly different and better alternatives. Have a nice week, eh!

– Horst Schreiber,

Daysland, Alta.

Serious guns

To the Editor:

Last evening on the CBC radio news there was a segment describing the debate in the Canadian Senate on the Hon. Mr. Rock’s gun-control bill. … What made last night’s newscast poignant was listening to one of the mothers of one of the young women massacred in Montreal six years ago by Marc Lepine. There, 14 young women were gunned down simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those young women were shot by a young man wielding a gun armed with “dum-dum” bullets that explode within the body on impact, almost always ensuring death rather than injury. The mother who pleaded with the Canadian senators to pass this bill yesterday lost her daughter, her child, to violence.

Given the seriousness of this issue, I was dismayed to read Daryl Briscoe’s column on Oct. 5, entitled “Would farm women be safer without guns?” I realize Mr. Briscoe was making an attempt at humor but it was a sorry attempt at best. Given the fact that in Canada it is estimated that an act of male violence against women occurs about every six minutes, serious dialogue on the issue might go further than pithy wisecracks.

Mr. Briscoe’s solution, to arm all women and take guns away from men, would hardly counter the problem.

Surely solutions “aimed” at peace within households and within society in general, where people would no longer feel threatened or feel the need to raise a weapon to solve a problem, would make more sense.

Regardless of one’s views on the proposed gun-control legislation, violence in this country (in the house across town, the farm up the road, the city neighborhood) needs to be addressed very seriously, not in the mocking tones expressed by Mr. Briscoe.

– Jan Temple-Jones,

Christian Feminist

Writer’s Network,

Nipawin, Sask.

Control coyotes

To the Editor:

Villages are at the mercy of the coyote, and coyotes are going into the villages looking for something to eat. They are becoming a big problem.

The only way to control the coyote is by leg trap or paying a bounty if you have no gun and are not allowed to use a leg trap. The coyote will soon find out that people cannot hurt or kill him. Their fear of man is no more. The coyotes will prey on people and the first victim will be children. Then Mr. Rock will have something to think about.

I know of one city in Alberta that has skunks and you can hear coyotes howl at night. Coyotes eat the eggs of birds, they kill deer, calves, sheep, chickens, pigs, and pets if you get too many coyotes.

They will get rabies, distemper, mange and you name it. If the coyote is not controlled, in not too many years the only wild life left will be the coyote.

– Charles Heck,

Provost, Alta.

Trade camels?

To the Editor:

Recently one of our local papers carried a commentary by Elmer Laird, in which he quoted extensively from criticisms expressed by Roy Atkinson regarding Sask Pool’s proposal of a share offering.

Now, while I am not too enamored with the stock market as I suspect neither are those in charge of the Pool, there is no denying the validity of the rule “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

When we allowed Cargill in, we created a situation patterned after the story of the desert traveller whose camel asked to be allowed to put his head inside the tent as it was cold outside. Pretty soon he wanted to have his front quarters in and shortly after he squeezed his entire body inside saying “there really isn’t room for both of us, maybe you should get out.”

First it was Cargill, next we have Archer Daniels and so it goes. Unfortunately we have loudmouths such as the wheat and barley growers associations promoting the cause of these global giants, and even the current Alberta government lending a hand. It is sad that hard-pressed farmers, (mostly the younger ones), who have had no experience with unfettered private trade readily fall into the pitfalls of these foreign giants who are well-heeled and can offer incentives to draw business away from the Pool and Co-ops, as they have the ability to make up the shortfall from more pressure on their operations in less developed areas of the world.

It is worth noting that Cargill when it came in was already at the point of $38 billion in total yearly turnover, almost 13 times that of the Pool at that time. And of course, as always, money talks. It was reassuring to read an economic philosophy paper that was distributed recently by some people in Rougemont, Que., entitled “Real Social Credit” in which … they reveal the ludicrous inconsistency of our monetary policy wherein the vast majority of business is transacted with credit created out of nothing, by the stroke of a pen.

They illustrate how it not only could but should be the duty of our government to create the medium of exchange to facilitate these commercial transactions (a power they already have) without us being held for ransom by the money-lenders. The Bible reveals that almost 2,000 years ago, an exalted individual, after whom Christianity is named, chased the “money changers” out of the Temple. Maybe it is time for a repeat performance of this kind.

– Philip Lindenback,

Weekes, Sask.

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