The case of the delusional ag ministers

The agriculture ministers from B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan recently sang songs of praise and adulation for the federal governments plan to give producers marketing choice for wheat, durum and barley.

They announced their solidarity on the matter at the annual federal-provincial-territorial agriculture ministers’ meeting.

In the first place, one has to wonder how these three have derived such a mandate to support the federal agriculture minister when, in fact, the three provinces they represent have voted in six of eight single desk directors in CWB elections.

Jack Hayden, Alberta’s agriculture and rural development minister, affirmed that for producers “Marketing opportunities are being lost every day.”

Maybe Mr. Hayden could have enlightened us all a bit more by elaborating on exactly where and what these incredible marketing opportunities are?

And while you are at it, Mr. Minister, in your infinite wisdom how about attributing some dollar values to these great prospects?

Right in step, Saskatchewan’s agriculture minister Bob Bjornerud stated that his province’s farmers spend money and make decisions on land, machinery and inputs to grow their own crops.

And so, he theorizes, why shouldn’t they also taste marketing freedom in terms of selling their grain?

In adherence to this ideology, would the agriculture minister also be willing to remove the monopoly that railways and grain companies have in certain areas which would actually give producers more choice?

The truth is that our three esteemed ministers are blatantly disregarding the democratic right of producers. Let’s not forget that producers pay all operating costs of the CWB; the CWB is controlled, directed and funded by farmers.

The only logical and intelligent conclusion is that producers deserve the right to decide its future. If Ministers McRae, Hayden and Bjornerud do not agree, then it begs the question – what are they afraid of?

Essentially, their level of delusion is astonishing.

The reality is if the CWB loses the single desk, producers will have less choice.

The CWB currently markets producers’ grain to 70 countries.

Under the open market, that the three ministers are such fervent proponents of, producers will price their grain through possibly one of three companies and some areas, only one company.

Yes, this certainly sounds like a marvelous set of options.

If it’s an issue of giving producers more choice, there are choices in the present system. There are various pricing options without the CWB; producers can sell domestically as feed or even find their own buyer with the provision that they do not sell below what the CWB is selling into that market.

The three ministers need to return to reality or face a rude awakening. Producers are not about to buy into their rhetoric and delusions any time soon.

Vic Althouse

Kelvington, Saskatchewan

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