Letters to the editor – June 15, 2017

Alberta politics

It’s praiseworthy to unite like-minded conservatives under one political entity. This July both the PC and Wildrose parties will vote to merge into one entity called the United Conservative Party.

The proposal, while laudable on its surface, raises some serious questions about the motives and integrity of the architects of the merger.

Among the fundamental principles of conservatism is the basic tenet of limited government.

Thus the Wildrose party’s popularity soared on a wave of opposition to the landowner Bills 19, 36, and 50. Not surprising, the PC party’s popularity correspondingly dropped. What happened?

Simply put, those in power stopped listening to Albertans and concluded that a centralized authoritarian government was preferable to a messy democratic process that allowed for local participation.

To exacerbate matters the bureaucracy had evolved into a netherworld of nepotistic appointments.

Since 2012, the Wildrose has embraced nepotism. Hypocrisy is rampant. (Leader Brian) Jean formed a new political entity to replace the Wildrose without the consent of the membership.

Dissent (free speech) is now grounds for membership revocation. While former floor-crossers are denied party membership, the main architect of the crossing is Jean’s paid confidant. 

Now, members are asked to support an agreement that gives absolute authority to Jean’s appointees to approve candidate nominations.

The vote in July should be a vote of no confidence on Jean’s leadership, and (Wildrose spokesperson Vitor) Marciano’s future with the party. Surrendering grassroots rights for an authoritarian power grab to become what led to the PC party’s demise is a bad start. Jean and his obsequious MLAs need to be turfed.

The PC membership voted on (PC leader Jason) Kenney’s agenda. Jean hid his agenda from the Wildrose membership for two years, thus denying them an opportunity to vote.

Like his successor, Jean is sabotaging the party’s sovereignty. Why rush? A no vote resets the clock.

Joe Anglin
Rimbey, Alta.
(Mr. Anglin is a former leader
of the Alberta Green Party and
a former Wildrose MLA.)

Income deferrals

Farmers use deferrals to regulate their annual income. A steady income is important for securing farm credit, for purchasing farm inputs, and generally paying for common life-sustaining expenses. 

There are many factors affecting the year-to-year production of a farm that are beyond the control of the farmer; chief among these is the weather.

On top of that, farmers are price takers when they are selling their production, and price takers when they are buying their inputs. For these reasons, farm income can vary widely from one year to the next.

The fluctuations in farm income are significantly mitigated by the current deferral system. If farmers were forced to claim all income in the year that the grain was conveyed, deliveries would cease once their income threshold was reached.

Our grain-handling system requires all parties to deliver in a smooth and continuous fashion. Holding grain until the new year, rather than delivering it in the fall and deferring the income to the new year, would result in a tremendous backlog of grain to be delivered in January and February, to the extent that the grain transportation system would struggle with the load and regularly fall months behind. Since grain is a perishable product, delays in transportation could lead to product spoilage and/or downgrading.

The transportation system suffered after the closure of the Canadian Wheat Board, and five years later timely grain delivery to sea ports remains a serious issue.

Farmers are a cog in the grain transportation system and the system needs grain to be delivered year-round.

Product shortages during the fall and early winter when movement should be at its peak would result in a delay and/or loss of revenue to the entire system including producers, grain handlers, transportation companies, fertilizer producers, seed growers, chemical companies and equipment manufacturers.

Sandra Gillies, M.Sc.
Debden, Sask.


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