64

The Commons: Iggy and the farmers

Liberal leader to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture: “I don’t want to be the leader of an urban downtown party”


 

The Scene. The annual general meeting of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture was being held in an airy ballroom in the back corner of the basement of a downtown hotel. A hundred or so farmers sat in beige chairs around tables decorated with white and purple tablecloths. In the hallway, the appetizer trays had been picked bare, save for a few remaining oatmeal and raisin cookies.

Michael Ignatieff, in dark suit, pinkish shirt and red tie, arrived at a quarter past four, shaking hands and smiling as he wound his way between the tables and chairs to the makeshift stage at the front of the room. There he took a ceremonial swig from a glass of milk, gave a thumbs up to the crowd and was applauded for his effort.

“I’ve just drunk an extremely delicious glass of Canadian milk,” he said.

Soon enough the prospective prime minister was telling that story about his uncle’s dairy farm in rural Quebec.

He is particularly fond of this story. At his first news conference as leader of the Liberal party, he recalled his fondness for the smell of manure. Should he ever achieve power it will no doubt become his cherry tree or log cabin. This time, he remembered that it was his aunt who did most of the farmwork and suggested that this was perhaps not uncommon in farming families. The crowd chuckled happily.

Flanked by the flags of Canada, the provinces and territories, he spoke of the rural-urban divide as no less than a matter of national unity. “I don’t want to live in a Canada where hope and opportunity only exist downtown,” he said.

He referred to farmers as “stewards of the land” and “stewards of the water.” He pledged to “build bridges,” not “drive wedges.”

“We can stitch this back together,” he said.

He spoke directly to his party’s shortcomings in this regard. “I don’t want to be the leader of an urban downtown party,” he said.

“I don’t want to develop policy from some ivory tower in Ottawa,” he added.

The prepared text distributed by his office was more less moot. Only passingly did he seem to pay it any attention.

“This,” he said at one point, “is an emotional issue.”

Indeed, for a man both celebrated and scorned for his intellectual capacity, his pitch in this place was almost entirely emotional. He spoke of farmers as having a “deep attachment” to the land. He harkened back to his father and the giants of Canadian liberalism, Laurier, King and Pearson. In that emphatic cadence of his, he made repeated use of the verb “to feel.”

“We’ve got to get our imaginations to work together,” he said. “There are values that we’ve got to reach down and reconnect with.”

He skipped his scripted closing line—a glib bit about moving from “hardship to hope”—entirely.

There was time afterwards for two questions.

The president of the pork council wanted to know how Canada might better export its meat. “It’s a great question,” Ignatieff commended, proceeding with an extended consideration of diplomacy, pork production, slaughterhouse capacity and something called a “market access secretariat.” We must get into “the guts” of the American political machine, he explained.

The chairman of the egg farmers commended him on his interest in agriculture affairs and thanked him for finding time to speak here.

“Guys,” Ignatieff said, dismissing any suggestion of extraordinary effort on his part, “this is what I do for a living.”

He concluded his 30-minutes then with a consideration of supply management. “I’m a strong supporter of supply management,” he assured.

The master of ceremonies thanked him for his time, vowed to keep in mind his “words and ideas” for future reference and presented the Liberal leader with a lovely parting gift. Off the stage, he retraced his steps, mingling, smiling and shaking hands—accepting a business card from one bearded young man, what appeared to be a cookbook from a friendly woman—as he wound his way back through the white tables and beige chairs.


 

The Commons: Iggy and the farmers

  1. He referred to farmers as “stewards of the land” and “stewards of the water.”

    Would that include the pork farmers represented in the house on this day? Anyone want to take a sip of the stewarded babbling brook running behind the barn housing four hundred pigs? Soooeeeee!

    • ewww…

      • Love the liquid manure smell for three days after it’s sprayed but otherwise I like country living by farms.

  2. This after Liberals made criminals of these farmers. You know all their long guns for shooting geese and coyotes and all.
    It is fascinating to read stuff like this from Ignatieff.He really says nothing at all of any importance. Yet I wonder how the rest of his party thinks about his words.(Oil sands..etc.) How these same Liberals stomach the change of spots so quickly without losing all credibility. The green shaft was only months ago for instance.

    • yeah, we can’t all be expected to be responsible; that’s a dirty word. the gun registry helps to trace many things; i hear the cops like it too. the conservs haven’t cancelled it yet have they?

      the Green Shift that you sneer at has been adopted by the USA–they got 300 million more ppl than us; that’s a huge potential competitive force we can’t compete with. watch CNN sometime. you’ll even hear about Kyoto often. in a very Avrow Arrow moment the conservs convinced ppl like you to let Canada slip deeper into the Tar Sands of history with them. we had a chance to be ahead of the game. i guess ppl like you like to follow instead of leading with a brilliant idea that we can profit from since the rest of the world obviously wants it.

      when we get tariffed to death (read majorly foreign imposed carbon tax) by the rest of the world for exporting “dirty oil” i hope you’re the first to step up to the plate to help pay for that extra cost since we, being the retailers of this resource mainly to our neighbours to the south, already pay more for our own product than our own customers. how brilliantly stupid.

      • watch CNN sometime. you’ll even hear about Kyoto often.

        Really? Kyoto? In the US? What targets have the US signed onto in the Kyoto treaty? Where was I? Did that wily sneaky GWB-43 convince the Senate to undo its UNANIMOUS rejection of Kyoto from back when Clinton was caressing anything round in the Oval Office?

        • nervous huh? (shrug)

          i saw it mentioned during a news conference held in Washington when the mayors were there speaking with President Obama. different era now…or did history pass you by too.

    • I’m lost. How does registering your long gun make you a criminal?

    • I know what you mean Daryl, SH never going into deficit and all. Wait until Harper accepts hard caps on GHG emissions, you’ll be able to hear the howls all the way from Calgary.

    • Oh don’t forget about all those people with cars who were made criminals in a much earlier time. Cmon Daryl, you and your other brother Daryl certainly don’t have such a short memory as that!
      Since when is registration the scarlet letter of crime now? Be careful when you make that next trip to the post office, chum, because someone may just be there to register a letter and then rough up your tinfoil-topped head…

    • The government made me register my car, my dog, and the deed to my home. They made me a criminal and I’m never voting for any of them ever again. Boo hoo,

      • Comments like above show the difficulty Ignatieff will have at any gains in the west. Even if he is sincere, his party is not.
        It’s unfortunate that I have to point this out.
        But you understand that if a farmer does not register his gun he uses to shoot coyotes than he will be charged with a criminal offense. Likewise if he paid the cost to register but fails to tell the Government when he moves.
        Is there a registry for real offenders who are not allowed to own guns or do these criminals have to keep the Government informed when they move? No. How many real criminals are going to register?

      • care to vote yourself out of the benefit of universal health care too? how about public access to our roads?

  3. Iggy makes me want to vomit. Most of the Canadian government is rigged in favour of rural areas. F-them.

    • Care to cite some examples or spout some more diarrhea. I guess you can eat cardboard and the plastic wrapper from your I-Pod once all of the farmers have retired and we all live in cities. Bon-appetit moron.

  4. Would it be possible for people to get over farmers? It’s 2009, not 1909. Our economy is fueled by the creative industry, service, finances, and yes, even still manufacturing. Farmers don’t rule Canada and politicians shouldn’t have to cater to them. More focus on cities, now that’s where people actually live!

    • There speaks someone who doesn’t like to eat!

      • Do farmers’ daughters ever suffer from anorexia or bulemia nervosa?

      • Nah. We like to eat, but we could just as easily eat corn, beef, etc. that the American or European government paid for. If they want agricultural subsidies, I don’t mind eating food for less than cost of production.

      • Andrew, are you saying we should get rid of our ability to produce food domestically because we can get it somewhere else cheaper?

        Don’t mean to be rude, but that is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Just imagine a protectionist trade war breaking out. Canada cuts of oil to another country, and they in return cut off our food. That would just be idiotic.

  5. For the first time in human history, more of us are found living and working in cities versus rural countryside. More food than ever is needed in these urban centres, produced by fewer farmers with less land. Our wasteful habits of urban sprawl threaten the agrarian way of life, swallowing up large tracts of fertile land for pre-fab homes and cul-de-sacs. Yet most living in cities take this all for granted. They go the supermarket and food is just *there*. One can play lip-service to the needs and aspirations of farmers, but the imperative is to recognize that a proper balance in land use and stewardship (!) is key to fighting the demon of exponential growth that threatens our very survival.

  6. Shame on Ignatieff for going to talk and listen to the farmers. Doesn’t he know that its only the CONs who know how to walk that walk schtick, before stepping out and pumping tarsand-soaked poisoned water into the farmers’ water table? Harper’s gov’t has done the farmers no favours, but they currently curry a lot of support from them thanks to decades of liberal ambivalence. I dare say we should be encouraging leaders of all parties to get outside the urban zone to hear the farmers ideas and complaints.

    • Yeah. At least the Conservatives have taken the time to lie to farmers in the last decade or two. It beats being ignored.

      I don’t think supporting supply management will win many votes with western farmers. Supply managed industries are mostly in Ontario & Quebec. Some dairy & eggs out here, but we’re mostly grains, oilseeds & beef. I think there’s a lot of sour eggs over supply managed products being a lot more profitable for the farmers, but just mentioning the term gets westerm farmers sputtering & drooling about the Liberals taking their money & giving it to Quebec farmers. I don’t get the connection, but then again, I suffer from logic.

    • I don’t think there are any farms that far north in Alberta. Plus the soil is full of oil, so I’m not sure how the farming would be even if the climate warmed up. The river flows north, so the pollution would end up in the arctic.

  7. “The prepared text distributed by his office was more less moot.”

    Sorry I do not get the subtleties of Macleans-speak this time…..

  8. Daryl, The entire talk and Q&A was available on CPAC … you perhaps should have watched it. What was very clear from the response of the audience was that Ignatieff had done his homework and understood the issues. Aaron didn’t quite tell the whole story with

    ‘He concluded his 30-minutes then with a consideration of supply management. “I’m a strong supporter of supply management,” he assured.’

    Ignatieff actually provided a rather concise assessment of the challenge of protecting supply management practices in Canada while opening access for international markets for Canadian produce. He pointed out using pork producers (sorry Madey) that different farmers would naturally have different interests depending on their primary market. This is of course the same base issue as the Wheat board. Look for Ignatieff to force Harper to raise his game on that issue as well.

  9. “as one who doesn’t eat”? iggy maintains his health by eating healthy farm vegs, etc. Not foods from those huge cartels that Harper wants to take over.

  10. Well … well … well .. Iggy I have to admit you get 2 political cookies in one day. Standing up and clearly and without any prevarication defending the oil sands then slicing and dicing the eco nazis out there was brilliant and well played. I have an answer to all of you who don’t like the ‘ dirty oil ‘ (as if there is such a thing as clean emmissions) Don’t freakin buy it. That’s right folks if the yanks or chinese or whomever don’t like it don’t buy it – hey it’s cool with me after all we don’t even develop it unless we have the contracts so if you are out there and you don’t like the stuff don’t use it simple no (Enough Said)? Then Iggy goes to the next item and he gets a cookie here folks no doubt about it – the best part of the speech he gave was when when someone thanked him for spending time listening to them and the Igster replied : If I am not here listening to you I am not doing my job … so don’t thank me!!!!!! = Igster you got me here .. I was speechless .. brillantly done (I’m not sure I like giving you cookies Iggy but this is shaping up to be a damn good fight – Finally!). I can’t argue with anything he said at the interview and he clearly showed sincerity there was only a little partisan spin but of course .. so all in all he had a good day and is showing some smarts as he goes about thinking very strategically …

    • Because extracting natural gas in Saskatchewan to pipe to Alberta to mine tar makes so much economic sense. And then we process the tar into regular diesel for Saskatchewan farm vehicles to make biodiesel & ethanol. The whole progress makes me dizzy.

      Gotta agree with the cookie-readiness. At least someone is walking up to the chess table with Harper instead of flicking Tiddlywinks(TM) onto it.

  11. Heh, I love the fact that the left-wing urban posters here say they don’t care about farmers and largely they shouldn’t have so much influence, but unconditionally support that the wheat board stays in place regardless of whether individual farmers want to be under its control or not.

    So is the Liberal party going to allow farmers to opt out of the wheat board? We just need the go ahead for a parliamentary majority. After all, you don’t care about what farmers do right?

    Oh silly me, the left is only about individual freedom when there isn’t bureaucratic jobs to protect. I forgot.

    • Terry the Canadian Wheat Board would be run by farmers if the curent government would stop interfering. And a simple referendum would confirm what has been known for a long time, that a majority of grain farmers not only support the CWB, but single desk selling of wheat.

      (That manipulative joke of a referendum last year (with three questions instead of two) still showed huge support for single desk selling, but neocons would rather not listen because they have a made in Calgary ideological need to put our food security and the interests of farmers into the hands of the likes of Cargill.)

      By the way, this urban-rural wedge that you try to exploit is easily rebutted. Tell me please, who runs the Agri-Business Companies that woudl be the instant benficiaries of dismantling the wheat board? Where do they live? Are they farmers, or MBAs? And if they live in cities does that make them urban lefties?

      • Yeah, because asking farmers:

        1) Do you want the wheat board to continue selling your barley exclusively.
        2) Do you want to be able to sell to any buyer including the CWB.
        3) Do you want the CWB out of the barley selling business completely.

        Is really goddamn confusing. Heck, my dad was absolutely puzzled at the three options presented and what they mean when he makes business decisions on how to invest his capital and market his grain every day. After all, those who want the CWB out o the barley marketing business completely are likely to prefer to be under the thumb of the CWB rather than simply making it a voluntary option. I see the CWB’s use of our money we are forced to pay them is doing really well in spinning information for you to consume and shove back in our faces.

        Also, Cargill and other grain companies have absolutely no interest in dismantling the wheat board. They have no interest in dismantling the wheat board because the only people the wheat board sells to are the big companies like Cargill for export. The wheat board prevents the development of farmer owned industries and smaller industries from competing by ensuring that farmers have to buy back their own grain at the price they would normally sell it to Cargill for. That pretty much cuts down any hope of a value-added, farmer owned domestic processing market doesn’t it? After all, the fact that you see all sorts of small companies domestically buying a whole bunch of crops but not wheat and barley is pretty much just a coincidence.

        Finally, even if the majority of farmers truly support the CWB (despite the evidence of what my father and all our neighbours want) what the hell business is it of theirs. My father’s farm should be an independent business, and the say of how, when and to who he sells his product which he has put 100% of his investment into should be his own damn business. Me, I think it has more to do with the fact that the CWB cooks the amount of permit books it gives out, and since there isn’t any way to vote with your feet if you think the whole election system is corrupt as all hell. There is no real oversight and no real means of getting hold of information. In short, there is no protections of a free vote that even municipal governments have to follow. The CWB determines who can vote, how much their vote counts, and what votes are counted. The barley plebiscite was one of the first honest votes we’ve had on anything to do with the wheat board in decades, which is why the left found a judge who was a good Liberal to steal it from us.

        Do people honestly believe that the CWB will have the best interests of farmers if they have the power of the state to force people to do business with them?

        Oh, and Toby? Most young farmers these days have degrees in agriculture or business administration. Maybe you should keep that in mind when you accuse us farmers of being hokums who can’t run their own businesses without being fleeced. In the end though, the fact that crops other than wheat and barley are marketed just fine, and often exceeds the acreage of wheat or barley just shows how good your opinion is about the rural market.

        • Well said.

          • I’ve done a couple thousand farm tax returns, and I’m pretty convinced that the CWB on average pays more for high-grade, high-protein crops (especially semolinas, where they control 30% of the world market) than you could get from the open market, if you count all the payments and not just the initial one. The CWB doesn’t seem to pay as well for low-mid-grade & feed-grade, though. Although anything but the highest grades lose money no matter how they’re sold.

            The CWB doesn’t seem to mind producers selling feed barley to feedlots & beef producers as long as the sale doesn’t cross any borders. Either that or CRA & AgriCan don’t tell them, because I’ve seen it happen a lot.

            Non-CWB crops mostly aren’t heavily subsidized by the US & the EU, so of course they market better than wheat & barley. It’s not really a useful comparison. It’s like comparing apples & oranges, or small green lentils to hard red spring wheat. Or like comparing a properly functioning international market to one messed up by subsidies. The international market for wheat is going to give Canadian farmers the shaft, and there’s little the Canadian government can do about it. NAFTA is a one-way street as far as farm subsidies go. The US & EU subsidize the hell out of their farmers, killing the price, and get really mad if anyone does the same.

            Now if we really want to get the discussion going lively we can bring up the Crow subsidy.

        • Well said Terry. Toby….the majority do not support the single desk. The Wheat Boards own internal polling has proven this.

  12. If Iggy REALLY wanted to make inroads in Western Canada, he might try bringing in a motion to allow farmers the choice of selling their grain to whomever they want to.

    I couldn’t see this hurting his base in TO, and it might start to lessen some of the mistrust westerners have for the Liberal party.

    Easter’s head would explode…but that would be a small price to pay…might win them a few seats in the West next election.

    • Or they could have a referendum on the issue and actually not attempt to stack the vote.

      • dtto in my above reply to Terry.

      • Well after the CWB lost 226 million dollars of farmers money on speculative trading, I’m sure that the results would be a little different. Haven’t seen that reported around too much.

        Screw a referendum. Leave the CWB in place and just let the farmers sell to whomever they want. If the CWB does a good job, they will survive, if not, they will collapse.

      • To follow up my comment, Richard, your response is a great example of why the Liberals can’t get elected in Western Canada. I give you a VERY legitimate way that the Liberal party could try to gain traction in the West without significantly upsetting their base, and you respond with a snarky shot aimed at the party that actually tried to do something on the issue. It is really annoying to see a politician from PEI tell the west what is best for them, especially when farmers from his area are not subject to the same rules as the ones in the West.

        Harper’s attempts to make changes at the CWB are appreciated by many Westerner’s even if they haven’t been successful. It at least shows that he is listening and trying to help.

        • Your proposition is based on a fallacy. Grain farmers overwhelmingly support the Canadian Wheat Board so moving to disband single desk selling wouldn’t win “the west” for Liberals.

          There is a fairly large industry associated with pretending to speak for farmers, but really representing their own opinions. That includes banks, agri-business reps, trucking companies, pesticide companies, and Mecheng.

          • My father doesn’t want to be under the wheat board, and they have to use threats of fines and imprisonment to force him to market with them. The parties you support side with the pseudo-public servants of the CWB over the wishes of my father, who simply wants to be left alone.

            Those jackboots fit comfortably Toby?

          • Yeah, I’m pretending to speak for farmers.

            I spent 20+ years on my parents farm, still own some cattle out there, and have relatives with farms in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. My fathers side of the family were almost exclusively farmers since they came to Canada.

            But apparently you know more about how farmers feel than I do.

            Don’t disband it, let the farmers choose who they want to sell to.

            And for the record, you could disband it, allow free market competition, or legislate new grains into their mandate, but as long as morons like Toby keep telling the Western farmers what is best for them, the Libs will never gain traction in the West. And here is a tip…MANY of the folks in Western cities have ties through family or friends to farms…and MANY of us sympathize with the farmers.

            This is so bloody frustrating, because I would love to have a second political party out here that I could vote for, Iggy really could make inroads with my proposal, but all you elites know what it better for me, so I guess I’ll just shut up and keep on voting for the one political party that has ever attempted to listen to our concerns and do something about it.

          • Toby……there you go again with your garbage about farmers overwhelmingly supporting the single desk. If thats true why do farmers overwhelmingly support the Conservetive party who has promised to end the single desk.

    • mecheng
      As a westerner my self it always amuses me to here Albertan’s talk about the west, when they mean AB.I understand most of the support for disbanding the CWB comes from AB. That’s ok, not saying they don’t have a case. But isn’t it a bit presumptuous of you to speak for the west or all farmers?

      • I’m not saying I speak for all the farmers of the west…I’m speaking for myself, and I support the position of all the farmers in my family (who are spread across the prairies). More of my family is from Sask than AB, and they all feel the same way (with minor variations) on this topic.

        • Fair enough.

    • Give Ignatieff a chance and he just might do it. After all – it’s in his favour that he hasn’t been in politics in Canada for the past 20 years; otherwise he’d be the same as the rest of them.

      I don’t see how people can go on complaining about politicians in Canada in one breath, and then with the next they condemn Ignatieff for not having been in Canadian politics for his entire life. He’s done something ELSE all this time, therefore – his thinking is different, and has to be better than the rest of them. He’s already shown it by refusing to align himself with anyone in Parliament.

  13. Just out of curiosity, if you were an Alberta farmer that was concerned about oil industry pollution contaminating your ranch or ruining your crops, or jeopardizing your future access to irrigation, is there a pre-fab Liberal talking point for you, too?

  14. Are any of you commenting on this farmers, or have any personal knowledge of farms? Part of the whole “western alienation” is that nothing is going to pi$$ off a farmer more than being told by city dwellers from the east what’s best for them.

    • Farmers are generally too busy to sit around posting on Maclean’s website.

      • Haha…good point…most of them can’t get anything better than dial up without paying a fortune…so the internet usage is definitely less than in the city.

        (But it is in the -20’s today in Alberta, and there is a strong wind…after the animals have been fed, I’m guessing many of the farmers are spending the day in the house. February/March tends to be a slower time on the farm than the rest of the year…if you don’t calve in the spring.)

        • Posting on Maclean’s blogs is like facebook. You do it as an urban wage earner who sits at a computer all day, and you take a few moments to goof off from work.

          The sedentary white collar slacker is, I imagine, the majority of the blog’s commentators, followed by academics and students who don’t have a set work schedule. There is a reason why the traffic of these comments slow to a crawl in the evening.

          There is always accounting, machine repair, hauling or turning grain, and watching market trends to fill up your time. Even if you do take some time for yourself, a nap or a visit is a better use of your time than spending it on these forums. These forums are for those chained to a computer because they are supposed to be working.

          • If there’s so much that you should be doing, shouldn’t you be doing it? I’m sick of my taxes going to you farmers so you can sit around all day, bellyaching about how hard it is to farm. Go grow me a sandwich already!

      • Well said Terry : this is one area I stay out of because though I was raised as a on a little farm I really have no direct knowledge of the business and was too young to remeber a lot (except cleaning barns and unsalted butter on toast at breakfast time HMMMMM!) and I wan’t you to know I really enjoy posts such as yours from people who know what the hell they are talking about as the left wing nut spin in this area boggles the mind. What I don’t get is what is really holding up the farmers from running the board wasn’t that like the original idea .. just me but soemtimes I think we lose all prespective when spending our time listening and only learning from our own political slant

        • Wayne
          The unintended irony of yr last pt is boogling my mind anyway!

        • The Canadian Wheat Board did not become compulsory until 1943 as a war measure. It was established earlier in 1935 as a means of delivering subsidies and providing market opportunities, but it was not compulsory.

          The problem with the CWB is that it isn’t compulsory, and it does not have any investment share in the farms it demands the power to market grain for. So thus, it really has no financial stake in how well the farms do, nor does it have any liability in how well it does.

          It is a similar situation the investment banks investing other people’s money, only you can actually choose who handles your investments. The CWB handles your investments, or you get prosecuted and fined. So any accountability is pretty much impossible. Hence the fact that the CWB lost $131 million of farmer’s money in speculation over the last 2 years, and farmers just have to suck it up. It isn’t as if anyone is going to get fired, or there is going to be any changes to how they do business. Why would they when they aren’t accountable to their customers?

          The CWB is not a vehicle for delivering subsidies anymore, since the minimum price is low enough to ensure that the price of wheat will never fall below it, and if it did the minimum price the Board offers wouldn’t be enough to stay in business anyway. They then make payments and force farmers to wait for their cash to come in, cash they could be using to reinvest in their business. There has been some loosening of the ability of farmer’s to market their own grain in recent years, but we pay the same people the same amount we always did, but now we do most of the work as well.

          Farmers in Ontario market all their crops just fine. My father markets all of his crops aside from wheat and barley just fine. All farmers market more than just wheat and barley, and there is no noticeable benefit to the farmer to marketing their grain through the wheat board and many noticeable lost opportunities.

    • mecheng
      He was speaking to to the AGM of some agricultural organizaton, his audience were farmers. Or is it yr contention that ther’re no farmers west of the peg? Enough with this alienation crap! The west is in, what more do you want for god’s sake? Try and remember we all live in a little country called Canada!

      • Sure, can the farmers in western Canada live under the same regulations as the farmers in Ontario? You know, since we all live in the same country called Canada?

        • Good question Terry. Unfortunately i don’t know why!

      • The topic was Iggy talking to farmers. I pointed out the fact that Iggy could win a LOT of political capital in the west by proposing giving farmers choice in marketing. Rather than discussing the suggestion intelligently, Richard and Toby provided brilliant examples of how the West is typically treated by the Liberals.

        Sure there would be some farmers in the west who want to see the CWB left exactly as it is. But if Iggy can’t see that there are far more that would appreciate having choice, he is a political idiot.

        Spin the referendum results however you want, criticize the methodology, whatever. If Iggy truly believes the majority of Western Farmers want the CWB left as is, he is an idiot.

        • Mecheng,

          It sounds like a lot of your criticisms of the wheat board are more that it is badly managed than critiques of the principle of a wheat board (and I agree that it is unfair that Ontario farmers can export, while Western ones cannot). The idea is that Canada can exert greater market power if it sells its wheat collectively, than if individual farms sold abroad. I think it would work a lot better if Canada could coordinate with the Americans and Australians (Canada, the US and Australia produce over 60% of global wheat exports). Sort of like OPEC, but for wheat.

Sign in to comment.