stop sign smile(January 1, 2016) This Canadian New Year brings much hope for western grain farmers.  The Prime Minister has promised to demolish the Harper legacy “brick by brick” and has already started to do so by un-muzzling Federal scientists.  His administration is even looking at re-opening the prison farms which the Harper Conservatives closed with their typical contempt for cooperative rural values and skills.

A joyful graphic celebrating this reminded me of the courageous Manitoba university student, Bridgett DePape who used her position as a Senate page to hold up a “Stop Harper” sign in 2011.

Alberta farmers say "Stop Harper" - respect our vote

Alberta farmers say “Stop Harper” – respect our vote

One of my favorite pictures on our Facebook page is of farmers in east central Alberta taking time out from loading wheat into their producer rail cars to do the same thing a few weeks later. Courage and integrity can wear many clothes, from the finery of a Senate page to work clothes on a dusty rail siding. 

In the 1950s when there were a lot more people in rural Canada a favorite scam of American hucksters was to travel to the small towns and farms on the southern Canadian prairies offering to put a petrochemical sealer on home roofs.  The sealer was usually a mixture of used motor oil, grease and a bit of saw dust which disappeared not long after the money and the Yankee hucksters were gone.  People soon figured out the scam and the Canadian border was closed to the scammers from the south.

Canadians, like Albertans have finally expressed their judgement on the equally mendacious scammers of the American tea-party variety who managed to highjack the Progressive Conservative Party and even our country for a time.  We now expect both our Prime Minister and the new Alberta Premier to dismantle this legacy brick by brick.  As Premier Notley remarked in her New Year’s Address, “elections have to mean something.”

Last year the farmers of the CWB Alliance voted to reaffirm the mandate of this organization to work towards the restoration of a single-desk grain marketing agency for western Canada. With the results of the Federal election and the election of a strong and stable NDP government in Alberta that goal now appears much closer than it did this time last year.  Progressive Liberals and the NDP have always supported the single-desk Wheat Board and even Saskatchewan’s Conservative premier supports single-desk marketing when it comes to potash.

Restoring orderly marketing and Canada’ place as an honest food supplier will not be easy, and the Liberals will be bombarded with many bogus arguments.  However we know that sooner or later the facts are always friendly to orderly marketing though a single-desk whether it is for commodities like wheat, almonds, or potash.  Our biggest issue will be effectively engaging with the new administrations in Ottawa and elsewhere.  I know there is no shortage of courage or will in the farm community for the job ahead.

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