Letters to the editor – Sept. 13, 2012

NOT FOR SALE?

What (agriculture minister Gerry) Ritz and (CWB president Ian) White left off their pronouncements in the Aug. 9 Western Producer, “Despite offers, CWB isn’t for sale,” was “yet.”

Government appointed White states, “we want to ensure that we talk to farmers about privatizing the CWB at some point in the future.”

Presumably that will mean the same thing to Conservatives as ending the monopoly.

Ergo, if the western provinces give the Conservatives a majority in the 2015 election, that will mean farmers want privatization, and decades of farmer equity will vanish into the government’s treasury. That certainly wouldn’t be motivation for the government, would it?

Dianne McCollum,
Dunnville, Ont.

WRONG CHARGES

It seems the media is letting (prime minister Stephen) Harper and (agriculture minister Gerry) Ritz keep spinning the false statements about these farmers that they pardoned.

These farmers were first charged for not having a Canada Customs export license/permit. Everyone exporting any Canadian goods, oil, wheat, barley, canola, oats, chicken, pork, beef must have a Canada Customs export license/permit.

Some of these farmers’ vehicles were put into the customs compound, (while) other vehicles were in the process of being impounded.

The farmers were told they would have to arrange for their own transportation to get home.

The farmers realized that Canada Customs and media were not paying enough attention to them, so they took their vehicles from the Canada Customs compound and headed home.

The farmers were arrested and thrown in jail for removing their vehicles from the Canada Customs compound, not for selling grain.

Harper and Ritz want the general public to feel sorry for these poor, poor farmers and believe they were wrongly convicted.

If you or I had broken the Canada Customs Act and then removed our seized vehicles, we would be charged and not pardoned, but Harper and Ritz have done a fine job undermining, destroying and dismantling the single desk monopoly marketing agency that farmers controlled.

Matter of fact, Ritz has admitted that they (the government) have already entertained two offers from two grain companies to purchase the CWB.

This was the government’s intention from the beginning: take the monopoly from farmers and then turn all control over to the multinational grain companies so the grain companies can sell to the end users. Now, there is no power for farmers.

You, the reader, be the judge of all the bull the government is feeding everyone.

David Bailey,
Saskatoon, Sask.

CONVICTED LAWBREAKERS

Prime minister Stephen Harper misrepresented the facts by claiming that the farmers he plans to pardon broke Canadian Wheat Board laws. This is simply not true.

These farmers, whom he committed to pardon, broke various laws and were convicted under the Immigration Act, the Customs Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. When it suited their purposes, these same offenders used the threat of physical violence on unarmed customs officers.

Lawbreakers have the right to apply for a pardon. However, by using his executive powers to pardon these convicted lawbreakers, the prime minister is sending a signal to all Canadians that in Harper’s Canada, there are two kinds of citizens: Conservatives and their supporters, and the rest of us.

For the prime minister to use his powers of pardon based on ideology undermines justice for all.

Wayne Easter,
Liberal MP Malpeque,
Ottawa, Ont.

BIASED RANT

I am surprised that The Western Producer ran Mr. William Dascavich’s biased and inaccurate rant (WP open forum), titled Super Rich Club, about the Bilderberg group in the Aug.16 edition.

I suggest the WP and all its readers check the full site of this group and decide for themselves if it has any subversive or world domination capitalist agenda: www.bilderbergmeetings.org/participants2012.html.

Of course, it is amusing to publish a hysterical, wacky letter to the WP’s editor for its shock effect on readers.

However, the voice of reason calls for fact checking, website viewing and considering whether or not the Bilderberg group’s think-tank intentions are genuine or merely a ruse for something much more sinister.

Mr. Dascavich needs to get a grip.

Candy Watson,
Riverview, N.B.

GOATS IN THE GARDEN

“Something got your goat?” letters page WP, Aug. 30. This phrase refers to the state of mind (agitated) that exists when the goats got into the garden when the gardener’s back was turned. Goats are intelligent enough to know when an opportunity exists.

What gave them that intelligence? Goats are mountain dwellers and have found safety on the slopes of the mountains where their agility was better than lions and most other predators. This use of terrain provides the evolutionary mechanism to develop their intelligence. Gazelles know only to run like crazy when confronted with predators.

Animal domestication was one of the most important events in human history. A reliable food supply was achieved by having a herd of domesticated animals. Filipe Pereira and António Amorim of the University of Porto in Portugal used genetic and archaeological techniques to suggest that goats were the first animals to be domesticated.

The intelligence of goats made it possible for them to transfer the idea of the safety of the slopes to the safety of human protection.

What would be the reason for humans to keep goats on a daily basis? Perhaps a mother could not supply her infant with milk.

Keeping their infants alive would be a tremendous value for the new farmers. Managing goats to keep them alive and available for their milk would have been the first duties of the first farmers.

Humans owe their civilization to goats.

SAFETY FIRST

To the Editor:

I do not read every issue of The Western Producer, but because I live on a farm, I often glance at it when it is on our office table. I have commented to our staff, many times, that I am going to contact you about the “cute pictures” of children that you include. I never have, even though it bothers me to no end.

I work in a school in a rural area and we never stop trying to impress to our children the importance of farm safety. Be safe, stay away from farm machinery. Then I open up the paper and the caption says, “Girls on back of tractor.”

You have got to be kidding me. They are leaning over the back of a wheel. Is the tractor running, is this a staged picture? Why can’t they be just walking in the field not concerned with the money slipping through their fingers?

And besides, what does this caption have to do with little children? This is not the only such picture that your paper has included.

Today’s front page of the Lethbridge Herald has a story about safety and farm children. It says, “there are some recent statistics that point increasing risks on farms when it comes to safety of children.

“The rate of agricultural related deaths among children went up 5.8 percent each year between 1992 and 2009 despite the fact that the overall number of children living on farms in the past two decades has dropped by 50 percent.”

I know that this article is related to child labour on the farms, but your recent pictures of Hutterite children working and playing around farm equipment is not cute. It is dangerous.

Look at the numbers of Hutterite children that die in farm-related accidents. The number of children living on Hutterite colonies has not decreased.

So in our schools we’ll just keep preaching safety and keep pointing out to them the dangers that can happen from this kind of cute picture taking.

Shirley Serfas,
Turin, Alta.

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