Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The CWB Alliance has it dead wrong

Many of you know by now that the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance has produced and released a new YouTube video about the CWB plebiscite.  It's a very well done, professional music video with the lyrics of the song written just for the CWB's survey / plebiscite-wannabe.  And it's those lyrics with which I have an issue.

The song is about the plebiscite being farmers' last chance to have their say.  For the Alliance and what they stand for, this is a not at all unexpected.  

But it refers to a "tide of evil that is sweeping 'cross our land".  It calls those in Ottawa "bandits" and it calls "strangers that want to mess" with the CWB, "thievin' bastards that can "go to hell".

"A tide of evil"?  Really?!

Bandits and bastards?!  You cannot be serious.

"Go to hell"?!  It's pretty hard to respect someone who shows so little respect for others they don't even know - just based on a difference of opinion.

And here's the difference of opinion:

The Alliance believes in the single desk but doesn't think they need to rely on real facts to support their view.  They are blinded by their passion for the idea of single desk market power that they refuse to acknowledge facts that refute their position; instead, like the NFU, to support their position, they use unsubstantiated numbers like $1.5 billion in annual benefit from the CWB, based on flawed analysis. I've seen the detail and it is fraught with errors and misconceptions.

My position - as a "thievin' bastard" - is that sound decisions should be based on facts, not passion.  If there was true value in the single desk, it would show up in real data, but it doesn't.  And those of us in the marketing freedom camp believe that this is fundamentally a personal property issue; farmers should not have their business decisions made by other farmers.

To give an idea of how wide this chasm between views is, consider the time I told a CWB supporter the fact that the CWB's reported marketing costs are higher than the premiums they report (for a net cost).  His response; "I don't believe you."  I give facts provided by the CWB itself and he doesn't believe it, I can only assume because it doesn't support what he wants desperately to be true.

Back to the video;  I believe in artistic license as much as anyone but just like I tell my kids, if you can find a way to make a point powerfully without being disrespectful, you gain more credibility.  I'm sure they really don't care what I think, but from my perspective, with that video, the Alliance just lost a whole dose of credibility.

And ironically, this video came out on the heels of Allen Oberg's recent blog where he says the debate is getting strident and we should "keep the lines of communication open" and "keep it real and keep it civil."

Oberg has it right.  The Alliance has it dead wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Same old, same old. Like you say John, CWB supporters have no factual, statistical footing from which to garner wider support so they naturally resort to playground name-calling and classic lefty rhetoric. In the process, they're basically calling farmers like myself who simply want the option of leaving the CWB, not necessarily dismantling it, part of the "evil tide" of "strangers that want to mess" and so on and so forth. Somebody tell me again why I should be jumping out my tractor seat in order to fight for the "privilege" of paying bureaucratic salaries and subsidizing farmer cheques for these people? Call me cynical, but they are just another part of the entitlement sector of the population that are too used to freeloading.