Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Conservatives VS. Farmers

In the marketplace of ideas 'Wheat Board bad' requires massive government subsidization and suppression of opposing points of views in order to survive. Hence the millions spent on undermining the farmer controlled organization over the years by Alberta's Conservative provincial government and the firing of the Wheat Board's President this week by the federal Conservative government for the unspeakable crime of following the lead of farmer elected members of the board and supporting the existence of the organization he headed.

Board President Adrian Measner was fired from his position days after farmers reaffirmed their support for the single desk model by electing pro-monopoly candidates to four out of five positions - this despite government voter suppression. The Harper government knows a majority of wheat farmers support the board which is why they refuse to hold the vote by farmers required to dismantle it while simultaneously hedging their bets by purging Wheat Board voting rolls of single desk supporters. The government justifies the purge by claiming they are trying to remove those who haven't marketed grain in years - included in the purge are likely single desk supporters in Manitoba still recovering from massive flood damage to their fields.

Along with a majority of wheat farmers, the Board's single desk model is supported by the government's of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, all of the federal opposition parties, The National Farmers Union and the National Union of Public and General Employees.

Opponents of the Board's single desk model include southern Alberta farmers who own big trucks and live just across the border from the lucrative US market, front organizations for the Alberta provincial government and big agribusiness corporations and the governments of the United States and the European Union who believe the Board's monopoly gives Canadian farmers an unfair advantage on the global market.

Harper's government claims that all they want is for farmers to have the choice to use the Wheat Board or not, but multiple studies including the oblique conclusions of studies by the anti-monopoly Alberta government clearly indicate that a Wheat Board without single desk marketing would depend on it's competitors for survival and would quickly cease to exist. The inescapable conclusion is that the end of the Wheat Board would mean that family farms would suffer and big agribusiness would flourish.

Harper's Conservatives came to power rightfully decrying the anti-democratic Liberals. Their own anti-democratic tendencies are apparent by now, but are starkest in their all out assault on an organization that is supposed to be run by and for farmers.

3 comments:

eugene plawiuk said...

Thanks for the link, and the concluding sentence at that. Good job of linking to posts on this. Impressive.

Cliff said...

My pleasure - I didn't think I could possibly address the topic without a tip of the hat to you.

Cliff said...

Accidental Deliberations links to a study of the actual comparative benefits of single desk and the alternative.

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