Monday, January 15, 2007

Conservatives Hypocrisy

The Canadian Wheat Board is attempting to squash Chuck Strahl's undemocratic "gag" order:
The Federal Court should fast-track the Canadian Wheat Board's challenge of a so-called government gag order so the board can play a meaningful role in an upcoming barley plebiscite, the board's lawyer argued Monday.

"But producers are entitled to a full understanding of the facts and the board has an obligation to ensure they have access to the information they need to make an informed decision.''

The result is an environment where the board is gagged, said McDougall.

"You can't muzzle one side ... You can't do that in our country. The law of the land is that the farmers decide.''

The government' argument, the Canadian Wheat Board can't use funds for advocacy. I have a whole host of problems with this position, because it is simply counter-intuitive to expect a Board to not defend itself. However, what is particularly concerning, the government doesn't seem to mind using the taxpayers money to peddle its own propaganda.

Why is Strahl using taxpayer money to spread the word:
NDP Agriculture Critic Alex Atamanenko (BC Southern Interior) today denounced the Conservative government for engineering a July 27 roundtable in Saskatoon to continue undermining the Canadian Wheat Board.

“The Conservatives call this an opportunity for dialogue among farmers, but it’s really a setup to design an end to the Canadian Wheat Board,” said Atamanenko. “They’ve only invited their friends and people who tout the corporate dual-marketing agenda, and they’ve excluded all those who support the Board’s single-desk selling system.”

Atamanenko called on Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl to cancel July’s partisan event. He noted that the Canadian Wheat Board is a self-sustaining organization whose representatives are elected by farmers — and whose future should be driven by all sectors of the farming community.

“This event is an outrage,” said Atamanenko. “This government is spending tax dollars to cover expenses for a rent-a-crowd at a forum whose only goal is to discredit farmers’ own organizations and promote the corporate agribusiness agenda.”

Should Tory MP's use their influence to generate a propaganda campaign against the Canadian Wheat Board:
The Canadian Wheat Board is facing a propaganda campaign involving longtime-opponents of the Winnipeg-based agency who Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl has named to a task force aimed at ending its marketing monopoly.

A Regina-based communications firm sent out an e-mail last week asking three Prairie farm groups to join in a letter-to-the-editor drive to ``to get us into the propaganda game.''

The e-mail from Charlton Communications begins by stating that ``it has been suggested to us by government and MPs and others that we must get into the game with letters to the editor in weeklies, dailies and agricultural trade publications.''

But Charlton said her clients have been told by government MPs that it is important for their members to make their views known in the media.

The way in which the government is conducting itself with regard to the Canadian Wheat Board is alarming, to say the least. Attempting to stifle debate, firing people who resist, all the while using its own resources to undermine. It is complete hypocrisy to try and shutdown opponents, under the guise of allocating money, while you yourself are engaged in the same activities. Obviously, Strahl isn't the democrat he tries to convey, he is doing everything in his power to tilt the playing field to the government's advantage. The Canadian Wheat Board should be allowed to defend itself, if members see this as an abuse, then there will be natural resistence. On this file, we are seeing the Conservative full monty, authoritarian, mean-spirited, undemocratic and manipulative. This whole affair is a national disgrace, no matter the outcome. Bullies.


leftdog said...

This is a very good post! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Farmers will not have any "full understanding" of what the facts are until, and unless, a full and open audit by the Auditor General, with no restrictions, is done.

And about those bullies....ask the farmers thrown into jail what a bully monopoly system looks like.

Would the the farmers east of the Manitoba border allow themselves to be bullied into selling through the CWB?

Or try take away the special 'wink-wink' deals with the CWB, that allow some farmers to bypass the monopoly hulks at the door, already.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Far and Wide!
Canada needs an independent watchdog in this fight, for the good of Canada. Canada (breadbasket of the world) is not to be taken to market and slaughtered.
We need a watchdog to oversee this flogging of Canada to the highest bidders of the world. There's a lot fishy going on behind the scenes on the most recent attack on Canada's northern wheat suppliers.
And I do mean INDEPENDENT; looks like our new government is not to be trusted with our food supply, and our old government left some loopholes where incursions could be made in pursuit of unsustainable quick dollars before sustenance.
The world is already salivating at the early signs of Canada's demise at the hands of the Cons. Please let the voices of the northern farmers be heard above those sucking the teats on the border.
If Harper and Strahl get their way, Canada will never again be more than mere harvesters of grain. Ownership will be tossed out the window. Canadian wheat farmers will be as serfs, and Canadians will pay foreign landlords for the rights to their own porridge.

Look at a painting called "The Gleaners" and tell me that it couldn't happen here.