Archive for August, 2009

Treated like dirt

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Farmers can be excused if they were a touch bitter about the lot they have been handed by governments over the past few years. In spite of “some” financial help and in spite of “some” very good crops, the livestock industry is on its knees in Canada. Farmers aren’t usually upset with the things that come naturally such as hail or drought or flooding. They know the rules going into farming, those three things can’t be avoided, they just happen. If it were only for the natural stuff that happens, farmers would be in a much better frame of mind.
But there are three things that have happened that are not only beyond farmers control, they are man-made disasters that have befallen farming. Namely the BSE problem, the H1N1 flu being dubbed Swine Flu and on a closer to home basis, the overflow from Winnipeg sewers.
The Winnipeg Sun reported last Tuesday that the sewers of Winnipeg had overflowed into Lake Winnipeg no less that 18 times this summer. Of course, few are blaming the City of Winnipeg for polluting their darling lake, it’s the farmers who get the blame.
BSE has been in the news for about six years and the border closures that resulted from a very few cases of BSE has devastated the beef industry. The more recent misnamed Swine Flu has nearly destroyed the swine industry.
It’s tough to tell who has benefited from BSE and H1N1.
In some ways governments have benefited because by blowing up a small problem into what appears to be a huge problem, governments can masquerade as the saviour of the people. They can say how quickly they acted and how many deaths were prevented. In actual fact, it can’t be proven that any deaths can be directly traced to either the beef or swine industry, so it’s actually a flimsy case. That never has stopped governments from trying to make their point.
As for the government of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg, they do have a real problem. A city sewer system that’s a 100 years old simply can’t meet today’s standards. When the sewage system for Winnipeg was designed, there were many homes that still had out door privies, outhouses. In fact in the 1960s, houses in Winnipeg’s suburban Fort Richmond still had outhouses. Outhouses didn’t send the sewage to the lake.
In addition, Winnipeg’s sewage systems was designed on 100 year old standards and for a population of 2-300,000 people, not 700,000.
Ironically, the CIty of Winnipeg might be able to capitalize on the problems of Lake Winnipeg. Rather than spending billions on an upgrade, they perhaps could harvest the algae that results from the nutrients in the lake and turn it into biofuel. It’s being done in other places and even if it needs subsidization to do so, it might be cheaper than re-jigging the whole sewage system. The Town of Killarney is desperately looking for a lake solution and their council is checking out algae harvest.
And it’s not as if there’s no information out there on algae and biofuel production. A Google search found 7,200,000 sites in .08 seconds on Tuesday morning so the information is out there if those in charge would take the time to look.
What does all this information mean. Is biofuel possible? Is BSE actually a threat to people? What’s the truth about H1N1?
Here’s the problem. Politicians, higher level bureaucrats and even media are lazy. They don’t think things out, they don’t do much research. They only want short snappy answers that don’t require any work. Plain and simple.
Compared to say traffic accidents, BSE is of negligible, if any, detriment to mankind.
H1N1 has little if anything to do with swine. It’s a flu bug that infects people, mostly those with a weakened immune system or who live in unsanitary conditions.
Farmers are easy to blame for “nutrients” in Lake Winnipeg because they are small enough in numbers that they count for nothing politically in the City of Winnipeg.
Given the informational environment that we live in and given the attitude of many politicians in urban areas it’s no wonder that a few years ago a frustrated farmer spewed out these words in utter frustration, “I hope food gets so scarce that you ba….ds starve in the streets.”
Our few remaining farmers could be excused for being frustrated.
They work with the soil but they shouldn’t be treated like dirt

In God’s hands

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

If ever anyone doubted that the future of our country rested in God’s hands, there should be little doubt this year.
We are dependent on our farms for food and for economic sustenance. The 2009 season has not been normal. Crops in this area look like bin busters except for the fact that they appear to be three to four weeks late. For season watchers it was not lost that the lilies were three weeks behind. The wheat crops are coming on far faster than they looked like they would but we are still seeing canola in bloom. The corn crops are way behind but coming on fast. But it’s Aug. 21 folks, not July 21.
Only God can keep the frost away and we need warm, dry, frost-free days from now until the end of September. Our food supply and our economic well being are in God’s hands, as they always are, except it’s more readily apparent this year.
If the same could be said about our hog industry, it would be comforting. Unfortunately, a lot of man-made and man-imagined situations have come upon our hog industry. Once the crown jewel of Manitoba agriculture along side canola, the hog industry has not only fallen on hard times, it has crashed. First there was the NDP government with their phony war on “nutrients” going into the lakes. That resulted in a hog building and expansion ban. Then there was H1N1 which was falsely labeled Swine Flu and that sent terror into some consumers’ hearts. H1N1 has little to do with swine. Flu bugs are flu bugs and people get some of them. Those who are older, those with compromised immune systems, or who are very tired and stressed, tend to get flu. Some people just get the flu. And, yes some people die from it. People die every day from explainable and unexplainable causes. And they die in greater numbers than from the flu, but H1N1 is the media and government flavour of the month, so we have to tolerate a lot of publicity.
Media and government frenzy about topics like flu reminds one of the two church officials who were in their office one day when a fellow worker came running breathlessly into their office. The worker gasped, “He’s coming, He’s coming!” The church officials looked out the east window and panicked, screaming, “He’s coming, He’s coming, what should we do?” Finally, one of them calmed down a bit and said, “I don’t know what to do, but I think we better look busy!”
That’s our government and our media. Better get out there and identify (or create a crisis) and look very busy trying to solve it.
Flu bugs will come and flu bugs will go. What should we do? As individuals we should eat properly, stay well rested, look after our health as best we can and if we really feel so inclined, get a flu shot. Stay away from work if we are sick, cover our mouth when we cough, wash our hands regularly. The list goes on, but when all is said and done, life goes on, or not. No amount of excessive worry will change that.
So our hog industry, a source of very good food, employment and economic activity has been brought to its knees by our government, by H1N1 hype, by a high Canadian dollar, by country of origin labeling (COOL), and by U.S. farm subsidies. It’s in extreme distress and this area is highly dependent on the hog industry.
The hog industry would do well if it only had to deal with the things God controls such as frost-free days. But maybe that’s the answer. Perhaps all these other devastations can be turned around by God. I’m sure there are many in the hog industry who are praying that God will salvage the industry so it can thrive again.
The very frustrating part of all this is that even when the hog industry is in a healthy condition, there are those who would like to kill it off, those who hate agriculture. Those few dreamy-eyed individuals would have us go back to subsistence agriculture with 20 chickens, two sows, five cows and farmers only growing enough food for themselves and a handful of others. They ignore the fact that the rest of the country and the world needs Canada’s farms to feed them. We have tremendous potential in Canada and Manitoba for sustainable agriculture and food production and processing if the doomsday crowd would get out of the way.
Perhaps we should pray for that as well.

Can Fletcher bring about change?

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Time will tell
By Ken Waddell
A quote in an Ottawa newspaper called The Hill Times pretty much sums up the attitude of many Canadians about the federal vote tax.

It states that, “Canadians outside of Quebec find it galling that the Bloc Québécois, whose raison d’être is Quebec sovereignty, receives 86 per cent of its funding from the federal government, said Democratic Reform Minister of State Steven Fletcher, who is calling for an end to political party subsidies.

“Virtually every Canadian is forced to make involuntary contributions based on parties’ results. I know a lot of people in other parts of the country are not pleased that … the vast majority of the funding that one particular party [the Bloc] gets is from this voter subsidy,” he told The Hill Times last week.

Though the Tories would stand to lose the most revenue if the subsidy were eliminated, they are in the best position to weather its loss because they have the strongest fundraising base. Last year the Conservatives earned $10 million in subsidies, compared to $7.7 million for the Liberals, $4.9 million for the NDP, $2.6 million for the Bloc and $1.8 million for the Greens. But in 2008 the Tories’ subsidy represented only 37 per cent of their total revenues, compared to 63 per cent for the Liberals, 86 per cent for the Bloc, 57 per cent of the NDP’s funding, and 65 per cent of the Greens’. ”

The article also said, “Mr. Fletcher (Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia, Man.) said the government still believes the subsidy, which cost taxpayers a total of $27 million last year, should end.”

In Manitoba there’s vote tax as well but after the Manitoba PC party refused to take it, the governing NDP decided not to implement the tax, at least not yet.

Fletcher, who is well know for being an outspoken politician and being Canada’s only quadriplegic MP is absolutely correct. That we have vote tax at all is sad. That we support the separatist Bloc Quebecois for up to 86 per cent of its budget is scandalous. A hundred years ago the Bloc would have been charged with treason. Today we subsidize them.

Some will state that there shouldn’t be tax deductible receipts offered to individuals who contribute to political parties but that is quite another matter. Private donations come in at both the federal and provincial levels to political parties. There’s is a big difference between tax deductible receipts and the vote tax thing. Private donations are governed voluntarily, the vote tax is imposed on all taxpayers and we have no choice as to who it goes to. I doubt that many people want their money going to political parties they don’t agree with.

The problem for parties other than the federal conservatives is that they haven’t brought in a broad enough platform nor a strong enough fund raising machine to raise the kinds of dollars that the Conservatives have raised. Ironically it was the federal Liberals who bought in the current system and they have not been particularly adept at implementing a fund raising program.

The vote tax is undemocratic and it should go. Fletcher is the right minister to lead the charge on this issue. He’s in charge of democratic reform. Perhaps when he gets his annoying bit of legislation out of the way he can turn to reforming the Senate. It should become Triple E, elected, equal and effective. It’s the only way that Canada will attain a stability that isn’t constantly being rocked by regional disparity.

It’s a shame that changes that make so much sense take so long to bring into law. We need to encourage people like Fletcher to keep trying. Canada needs to be drawn together, not ripped apart by taxpayer subsidized treachery.

Denying problem doesn’t make it disappear

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

If one can believe the following quote then the PC Party of Manitoba was right on one more count in the 2007 election.

“As of Friday, the number of inmates residing in Manitoba’s seven provincial adult facilities hovered around 1,870 — nearly 500 over capacity.”

People could be forgiven for not remembering the PC Manitoba election promise to build more facilities, not just jails but a drug treatment centre for several hundred potential convicts ( er, sorry, residents, clients, whatever). People won’t remember because the media and the NDP raised such an uproar that the promise was drowned out. How could the PC Party be so cruel and uncaring to send more poor young men to jail? How hard-heated, how misguided.

The problem is we are 500 people over capacity now in our jails and we were way over capacity then. The problem with the PC promise isn’t that it was excessive, it was too little. That we don’t have riots in our jails all the time is a credit to our correctional staff. That the media and the NDP stomped on the 2007 proposal is ridiculous. Of course we (unfortunately) need more jail spaces and treatment facilities. Winnipeg is still near the top as murder capital of Canada and car theft capital of Canada. If car thieves are in jail they can’t steal cars. If murderers are in jail they usually can’t commit murder.

The truth, the need, the short term solution is so obvious that it’s painful. We need more jail cells and we need more treatment facilities.

Note I said short term.

In the long term we, as a society need to recognize that man is not inherently good as some liberals would have us believe. There is a God and until we recognize Him and His ways we will individually and as a society always be struggling with excessive crime.

As Johnny Cash said, “The answer boys is Jesus,”

Johhny’s short Jesus promo opens the way for many changes to come in our society that are long overdue. Jail isn’t the long term answer. If people jumping over a cliff to their death on the rocks below was our major problem, then building a fence across the cliff isn’t the long term solution. However it is a short term solution until you can get peoples’ attention and explain that this jumping thing is killing people.

The long term solution is to re-work how we do living in the 21st century.

We need to re-establish that the ideal family is one with a mom and a dad, that dad’s are important.

We need to re-establish that dad’s are important and it’s high time that men realized that simply being a stud is a dud and being a dad is an admirable goal.

We need to teach good old fashioned moral values at every level, family, school, government and church.

Often we hear a response to a situation that says. “That’s just not right.”

How do we know it’s not right? Because somewhere, sometime back in time somebody was taught moral standards and those standards have been passed down from generation to generation. We need a fresh wave of moral, ethical training in our society.

We need to address poverty and human rights. Not the stupid little “below the poverty level” nonsense that comes out of Stats Canada that says anyone earning less than $25,000 is in poverty. I mean real poverty such as the people who don’t happen to be in the elite loop in First Nations communities and those in real poverty in our cities. Not building a costly Human Rights Museum all the while ignoring real human rights issues on the streets next door to the museum.

Manitoba needs a lot of things but we could certainly do without huge cries of denial that come from our lazy media and our comfortable government party when real issues and real solutions are raised.

May Manitoba see a peaceful revolution before any more people suffer from the effects of the denials.


kwaddell@kenwaddell.ca This is a Sunrize Group internet solution (204)226-2247