Following tradition Ted Menzies, the recently resigned MP for the southern Alberta riding of MacLeod is staying in Ottawa to lobby government on behalf of genetically modified crops and agro-chemical manufactures as the new President of industry funded lobby group CropLife Canada.  With the recent approval of genetically modified alfalfa, and the approvals of genetically modified wheat, salmon, and apples to name just a few on the horizon Mr. Menzies will no doubt have much work ahead of him to reassure MPs and the public that nothing can go wrong with this global science experiment.

Agriculture Minister Ritz closing our public plant breeding facilities and his move to give crop genetics developed and paid for by farmers and the Canadian public to the agro-chemical companies who back CropLife Canada no doubt lends urgency to Mr. Menzies’ new position.

Mr. Menzies spent many years working for the international grain trade’s favorite Astroturf group the Western Canadian Wheat Growers.  Elected to Parliament, the affable Mr. Menzies worked behind the scenes to successfully kill the farmer controlled single desk Canadian Wheat Board.


Wheat Grower Assoc. Policy Presentation – May not be exactly as illustrated

His plans to stay in Ottawa in part no doubt reflect the unease among his former neighbours as they discover the easy nostrums so ably promoted by Mr. Menzies and his cohorts are now falling apart in the face of closing flour mills, chaotic transportation logistics, poor quality control, and the resulting loss of western Canada’s international reputation for delivering reliable supplies of high quality milling wheat, durum, and barley.

Many will recall that after arbitrarily removing oats from the single desk CWB former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was given a seat on the Board of one of the world’s largest grain companies, Archer Daniels Midland.  His agriculture Minister, Charlie Mayer was given a special position with the Alberta Government to examine if farmers needed crop insurance.  After that gig he went on to lobby on behalf of various clients and was recently observed in court houses following the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board cases.

Along with provincial Conservative Agriculture Ministers like Shirley McClelland (who famously said farmers did not need the wheat board when they just “should demand higher prices”) who spends much of her time haunting the University of Alberta, Mr. Menzie’s new digs bring to mind the old question “how are you going to keep them down on the farm when they have seen” (…) Ottawa? 

Mr. Menzies joins a very long list of Conservative and Liberal politicians who have moved seamlessly from Government to Big Business reflecting the fact the Senate is just not big enough to hold them all.

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  1. In four letters, Brian Jean, the Crossword King of Parliament Hill, has Q-U-I-T | Alberta Diary - […] who back CropLife Canada no doubt lends urgency to Mr. Menzies’ new position,” wrote the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance…