“This vote is a fundamental choice between shackling farmers or freeing them.” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, referring to the Parliamentary vote on the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act.
“Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau – yes, but he left it for Gerry to actually do something about it
“… you have nothing to lose but your chains” – Karl Marx – pretty obvious what he was talking about
“Freedom’s just another word for selling to Viterra Inc.” – Kris Kristopherson – from his original draft of Me and Bobby McGee. It didn’t fit the rhyme scheme, unfortunately, and was subsequently changed to something quite a bit less positive and hopeful for freedom-loving prairie farmers.
“Live Free or Die” – New Hampshire State motto. New Hampshire doesn’t have a Wheat Board. Duh.
Until now, I really have had no desire to grow wheat. Why? Because I would have to sell to the Canadian Wheat Board. That’s not freedom.
I’ve travelled across these vast, windswept prairies at harvest time and I have seen those sad, pitiable farmers, shackled to their tractors, traveling in ever smaller circles out on their wheat fields, their radios tuned to the state broadcasting system. I’ve seen them lifelessly delivering their crops of wheat and barley to the grim faced, sharply uniformed functionaries at the the CWB. I’ve seen them driving to town, anxiously checking their mailboxes, hoping to receive a cheque – in an amount determined by their oppressors, pursuant to some arbitrarily calculated average of the “world price”. Small compensation for the loss of their precious liberty. Yes, they provide for their families – but at what cost?
What if they refused? What if they asserted their God-given, but Government-denied, right to take their wheat and barley to the marketplace and sell it themselves at a lower price to the highest bidder like the free men and women they long to be? Well, those self-respecting, freedom-loving farmers would be tossed in jail along with all the law-abiding gun owners. The iron fist of the nanny State would crush them.
Dark times indeed.
But out of this darkness…will the light of Liberation finally shine? Oh yes. After years of humiliating oppression at the hands of jack-booted, rat faced CWB terrorists, Gerry Ritz stood up for our downtrodden prairie heroes and said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall and Let Freedom ring,” or something to that effect. Bolstered by his sense of destiny and Godly mission and buttressed by the strong mandate of a majority government – that flush of democratic legitimacy that can only come from the overwhelming support of almost 40% of the 61% of eligible voters who cast ballots in the 2011 election – Gerry Freedom has slain the oppressors and cast aside the chains of We-Know-What’s-Best-for-You-ism that have prevented farmers from dealing directly with Cargill. No more of that “average world price” nonsense. We prefer the free market, thanks.
No more will Prairie farmers be enslaved to the Freedom-Hating Commie Wheat Monopoly. No. They will be free to choose to whom they will be enslaved – like, say, a multinational corporation. Preferably a big one.
Okay, that was a bit of a departure. I just wanted to show that, in addition to stupid little jokes and sweet little swearing kid stories, I am capable of hard hitting political commentary, with an edge. I yearn to be taken seriously.
Of course, I don’t really know what I’m talking about if I stray too far from my own personal experience. And, I don’t get out of the house much. More specifically, agriculture policy, the apparent subject matter of this post, is well beyond me and not something I’m terribly interested in, to tell the truth. Some of you keener readers may have sensed that.
It may well be that there are good arguments to be made for dismantling the Wheat Board; good reasons to believe that those who support the CWB are mistaken. But we don’t get good arguments from Gerry Ritz and his government. We get nonsense about “shackles” and “freedom”. Even the name of the legislation – “the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act”. Please. Can this government pursue a policy that can’t be described in detail on a bumper sticker?
In the Globe and Mail this weekend, Gerry Ritz is quoted as saying this about the Wheat Board: “It’s beyond Big Brother. It is the Nightmare on Elm Street on every farm across western Canada.” Really Gerry? Western Canadian farm life is both Orwellian and schlock horrific? I know, you Tories prefer Dickensian and Old Testament Epic.
I may not know much – well, anything – about wheat, barley, agricultural marketing or anything else having to do with this controversy, but I know when someone is begging to be mocked. That’s you, Gerry. You’re a minister of the Crown, not a cartoon super hero. You’re doing agricultural policy, not fighting evil-doers. Get over yourself.
For those of you unfamiliar with this issue, google “Smart things Gerry Ritz has said” and listen for the soothing sound of crickets. Whoa. That’s hard-hitting.