Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Decisions, decisions. Knowledge is power.

Laura Rance is the editor of the Manitoba Co-operator and also writes a weekly article in the Winnipeg Free Press.  Her Free Press article last Saturday, called “CWB candidates silent on big issue”, was along the same lines as Allan Dawson wrote in the Co-operator, so I felt it was overkill to include them both in my earlier article.

But upon second review, another issue emerged.

Rance’s article was an editorial so, unlike Dawson’s piece in the Co-operator that was presented as a news article and shouldn’t feature Dawson’s opinion, to read Laura’s opinion was expected.  It’s her opinion so she’s free to share it.  But she should present it as her opinion, not as an irrefutable fact.

What I have a problem with is how Rance and others speak with supposed authority on a subject that they really have none.

For example, Rance wrote “It could be they’ve .... realized the logic of analysis that concludes a dual market scenario would simply be a slow death for the CWB.  Without capital and without its own grain handling facilities, the board would be unable to compete for farmers’ grain against the multinational grain companies.”

There are actually two schools of thought on this topic – that’s why this issue is so polarized.  Rance demonstrates an affinity for the position pushed by the CWB and its single desk supporters, but seems to ignore the other one that states that the CWB could indeed survive, and if managed properly, flourish, even without facilities.

Since she's stating this as fact, I would like to know upon what evidence she’s basing this "fact".  (And I do mean evidence – not just someone else’s opinion.) 

And why does she dismiss contrary evidence as if it doesn’t exist?

Farmers need good information to make good decisions

When someone who has a deep and detailed understanding of these issues – on either side of the argument – presents sound analysis and conclusions, I take note.  But when someone like Laura Rance writes about the CWB and its single desk with apparent authority on the subject but without the commensurate knowledge, I find the whole article lacks credibility.

Unfortunately, Rance’s article is indicative of the tripe many of the CWB defenders have felt is good enough for farmers.  Whether its Laura Rance, the CWB Alliance, or individual pro-single desk candidates, none of them actually refer to any real data, real analysis, real examples or real experience.  None of them even acknowledge there are serious problems facing farmers right now.  Are they not paying attention or are they diverting attention on purpose?

Farmers are facing real tough challenges right now on CWB grains – poor cash flow, higher than necessary costs, poor movement – the list goes on and on.  They need good, sound information upon which to base decisions on a daily basis; the CWB election process is no different.  They don’t need the additional risk of a board of directors that can’t even acknowledge the problems.

Rance’s blind faith as a CWB defender doesn’t help.

All eligible farmers should vote

Laura Rance wrote “The board plays a pivotal and unique role co-ordinating the entire grain-industry value chain, from policy through to logistics.”  I don’t see it quite the same way as she does, I’m sure.  However, the CWB’s impact on the industry is indeed unique – it touches every farmer who grows a crop in Western Canada - any crop.  Those that think the CWB is not “their issue” because they don't deal with the CWB are mistaken.

To those that are afraid of candidates who support change (because they might get rid of the single desk), think about this.  The most the board of directors can do is ask Ottawa for a plebiscite on the issue.  And most farmers I know – on both sides of the argument – would welcome that.

Right now it’s up to all eligible farmers to vote for directors that will make a difference – because a difference is exactly what is needed.  

Better get 'er done - the deadline is this Friday.

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