Newspaper journalism has faced a digital tsunami

The internet and social media are cool, but the right-side/wrong-side journalism it has created are a curse

When I showed up at The Western Producer in November 1994 I was handed a Macintosh laptop and shown how the company email system worked. That was pretty cool. Instead of being shackled to a boxy desktop computer, I could take my sleek laptop wherever I was reporting from, plug into a phone line and […] Read more

This week the NFU held its 50th annual convention in Winnipeg with NFU members from Nova Scotia to British Columbia in attendance. At the event, the NFU unveiled a 98-page discussion paper called Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis. | Twitter/@NFUCanada photo

BLOG: NFU must do more to avoid fringe reputation

The National Farmers Union is a serious organization with serious ideas. But ordinary farmers may not be listening. This week the NFU held its 50th annual convention in Winnipeg with NFU members from Nova Scotia to British Columbia in attendance. At the event, the NFU unveiled a 98-page discussion paper called Tackling the Farm Crisis […] Read more

Farmers’ attitudes and realities evolve over a quarter-century

(And so does the observer)

Farmers sure have changed in the past 25 years. Or have I changed in the quarter-century I’ve been covering farmers and farming for The Western Producer? Do the same things just look different to my older, more experienced and physically degraded eyes? It’s probably a bit of both, but looking back over these 25 years […] Read more


Lots changes, but much remains the same, in both farming and journalism

In 25 years of reporting on farming, everything seems both different and the same

How do you find a farmer? Finding farmers and getting their views has always been a core part of my job. It wasn’t easy to do 25 years ago, when the internet was a just-beginning thing, almost nobody had a mobile phone and most farmers lived far from the cities I was living in. Fortunately, […] Read more

Despite enjoying the support of a high proportion of western canola growers, Conservative party leader Scheer has sounded a hawkish rather than conciliatory note when talking about China.
 | Screencap via Twitter/@AndrewScheer

With Canada-China relations, how did things ever get so far?

An opportunity for China to calm down things with Canada?

How did things ever get so far? I’m hoping somebody high up in the Chinese government is thinking that today, as its relationships with multiple countries are strained and have suffered considerable damage in the last couple of years. Canada is not the least of those strained relationships and deepening bad blood, with two Canadian […] Read more


Supporters watch the results come in at the Conservative leader Andrew Scheer's campaign headquarters during the federal election in Regina.  |  REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

Life in the afterglow of the commodity boom: Is this why we’re all so mad and raging?

Everybody wants somebody to blame. Better blame Mr CommoditiesCycle

It’s a truly dark time in Canada, with the rise of an angry, raging, denunciatory politics taking over this nation the way that it has been doing in the U.S. for a few years now. The federal election supplied ample evidence of this, with ill will and personal attacks hanging over the entire campaign. Beyond […] Read more

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump after signing a joint statement on trade during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City Sept. 25.  |  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst photo

Could Canada run a two-track trade policy?

One track for the rules-following folks and one for the cheats?

We keep hoping this present worldwide binge of protectionism, geo-political bullying and bad-will will fade, subside and JUST GO AWAY! But if it doesn’t, what does Canada do? How do Canadian farmers adapt to that fact? It’s like with climate change: We hope it can be stopped, but if it can’t be, what do we […] Read more




The battle over intellectual property rights has become a major sticking point in the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. | File photo

BLOG: China dispute much bigger than canola sales

In 2015, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis released a report about intellectual property in China. Normally, reports on intellectually property rights are about as appealing as flavourless oatmeal, but the document contained at least one remarkable tidbit. “We estimate that as of 2010, more than half of all technology owned by Chinese firms was […] Read more