What do Farmers Want this Election?

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 18, 2008

How about a Minister who isn't incompetent?

Admittedly, when I relayed the "death by a thousand cold cuts" idiocy to my roommate this morning, he almost spat out his coffee for laughing. What really irks me as a farm kid is that farmers get stuck with moronic Ministers of Agriculture who, among other things, don't know when to tell, or not tell, gross jokes. It seems to me that avoiding such quips on a conference call with non-political, non-partisan staff would be a no brainer.

I'm not sure how to take the I-hope-the-PEI-death-is-my-shadow-Cabinet-counterpart. That's not even funny, no matter how hard it's spun. 

During the 1990s, farmers had to deal with Lyle VanClief, who wouldn't come out to see a Prairie drought for years, and then when he did said something to the effect of, "oh. well, it looks bad, but we're not going to do anything about it." 

Paul Martin had the decency to at least come and see the BSE crisis for himself, but that was more about launching Ken Nicol's campaign in the Lethbridge constituency than it was about doing something about the border closure. 

With Harper's team, farmers have had to deal with constant attacks on the Canadian Wheat Board. Here's what most people either forget or don't know: if Western Canadian farmers wanted to get rid of the Canadian Wheat Board, they would simply elect anti-CWB directors to the Board, who would then terminate the CWB in it's entirety. Farmers, however, consistently elect pro-CWB directors, and the obvious reason seems to be that they actually find the CWB to a useful tool to compete in the global market that's chock full of American and European subsidies. 

The other thing Harper himself clearly seems to conveniently forget is that barley farmers can sell their product to a number of places already, including the CWB AND/OR to a malter (for beer) AND/OR to a feeder (for those fantastic Alberta steaks). These farmers already have choice!

But I digress. 

After watching Harper throw a temper tantrum when the Supreme Court said his gag order on the CWB was unconstitutional (again, a no-brainer) saying he'd "railroad" anyone who stood in his way on getting rid of the CWB, after learning that under Harper that Farm Credit Canada is shilling with Cargill (a big American multi-national) to offer Canadian farmers better "cash-flow" (read: debt. The parents just got the advertising letter this week), I learn that, once again, the current Minister of Agriculture is a fool. 

Are farmers happy with these policies, or with the orientation of successive governments towards them? No, they sure aren't. Will they keep voting Conservative? You bet, because they say to their elected representatives, "you know that policy we told you last time we didn't like? Well, you went ahead and implemented it and it didn't work like we told you it wouldn't. Now you talking about doing XYZ, and we dont' like that either. What we want you do to  instead is ABC. So, we're going to vote for you, now that we've asked for ABC even though you're saying you're going to to XYZ. So do ABC. OK?"

I watched more than one farmer stand up at a BSE meeting in 2004 and say pretty much that. It was one of the most depressing things I've ever witnessed. 

Back to Gerry Ritz ... should he resign the porfolio? Please, for the love all that is good and farmer-like, RESIGN! There's no shortage of less-than-competent people in Harper's caucus to take his place, and if their heads started to roll when they did something profoundly foolish and stupid, they all might start to learn. 

In case anyone is wondering, swathing is going well, though the air conditioning is busted in the swather, making Dad rather cranky when he comes in from the field. Thanks for asking. :)


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Someone should recruit Michael McCain

Speaking of listeriosis, the person who has most impressed me in the handling of the crisis has been Michael McCain of Maple Leaf Foods. No spin, no PR cover ups, no denials. He has publicly taken responsibility, apologized, and shown what they're doing to fix a bad situation. Now that's cabinet minister material right there.

I completely agree ...

... as does the Globe and Mail. I read a great opinion piece contrasting his reaction and actions to those of the government, and the contrast between the two was stark.

In other news, according to the "scientific" poll run by Cbc.ca, 69% of respondents thing Ritz should resign. 


Politicians should only tell jokes about puppy dogs, lollipops, and occasionally rainbows.

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