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Archive for 'farming'

Canada’s Breadbasket and the Food Casino

There’s been no shortage of new content on our blog this week. But I write to highlight a couple of interesting reads from other blogs. On The Globe and Mail blog, Andrew Hepburn (formerly of Sprott Asset Management) has a very good op-ed about financial speculation in food commodities. On the CCPA’s Behind the Numbers […]

World Bank Joint Ventures With JP Morgan

(The following was sent by ITUC Washington representative Peter Bakvis and deserves wider distribution. While this action by the World Bank might reduce food prices at the margin, it would be far preferable for them to push for regulation of speculation in food instead of joining in a destructive game.)   In partnership with Wall […]

Globe misses the mark on food

Today’s Globe and Mail features an article about the farming crisis in Canada. On close inspection the “crisis” is that Canada has not kept up its share of the global marketplace; that is, it is about our failure to increase exports. Low farm incomes are mentioned with nostalgiac dismay but nothing of the large transnational […]

Every bite counts

Our latest Climate Justice Project report, Every Bite Counts: Climate Justice and BC’s Food System, has been unleashed on the province. I have to admit that this was one of the most challenging research projects I’ve ever been part of – the food system is complicated, and overlaying climate change and social justice issues added […]

Speculation vs investment

Financial market speculation masquerading as investment is driving me crazy. The business press fails to understand the distinction between buying an asset the delivers a stream of income in the future (a dividend) and buying an asset because of anticipated higher resale price in the future (a capital gain). It is a fundamental difference, and […]

Flaherty’s Made-Up Numbers

The following Canadian Press story is an hilariously accurate report of what happened on Wednesday when the Finance Minister appeared before a Senate committee to pontificate about supposed interprovincial barriers: Flaherty’s remarks came shortly before a senior Finance Department official told a Senate committee that interprovincial trade rules cost the country about one quarter of one […]

Inter-provincial Barriers: Where’s the Beef?

In yesterday’s Ontario Farmer, the federal Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, railed against “tremendous inter-provincial trade barriers.” His example was restrictions on moving beef between provinces. My understanding is that, to the extent such restrictions exist, they arise from federal regulations rather than from provincial policy. Ritz claimed, “I have no problems with Quebec beef […]

The Ontario Election and TILMA

A clear contradiction has emerged in John Tory’s election promises. It reflects an existing tension in the McGuinty government’s position. As noted previously on this blog, the Conservative Party’s election platform proposes that Ontario join TILMA. As reported in today’s Globe and Mail, Tory has pledged to require that provincially-funded institutions buy their food and […]

Harper’s attack on the Canadian Wheat Board

The CCPA’s Manitoba office released today an oped by Adrian Measner, the former CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board: The Harper Government and the Canadian Wheat Board By Adrian Measner When a federal government is elected there is an expectation that they will develop sound policy by consulting with both the people directly affected by […]

Lawsuits Galore

While the Saskatchewan government’s decision to take the federal government to court over Equalization has captured more headlines, the Saskatchewan government is also helping to finance legal action against the federal government’s handling of the Canadian Wheat Board: Sask. backs CWB lawsuit The Leader-Post (Regina) Thursday, June 14, 2007 Page: D1 / FRONT Section: Business & Agriculture […]

Two Tory Tactics and the Wheat Board

The following column by Bruce Johnstone, The Leader-Post’s Financial Editor, does a much better job than I did of explaining the Conservative government’s flawed barley plebiscite. This column, which is particularly interesting coming from an ardent free-marketer like Johnstone, touches on a couple of the Harper government’s favourite tactics: 1. “The Thin Edge of the […]

The plight of farmers in Canada

I get the Daily from Statistics Canada in my email each morning, and periodically they report on “crushing statistics”, which I believe refers to the production of vegetable oils and such (I’m no farmer). Statistics Canada today released its Census of Agriculture, and it probably should also bear the title “crushing statistics”. Between the lines […]

Wheat Board Plebiscite Results

Yesterday’s Tyee article by Horner and Orchard provides a good historical overview of the Wheat Board, but does not mention the recent plebiscite based on which the Conservatives propose to remove the Board’s barley monopoly. It is worth explaining why this flawed plebiscite does not give the Conservatives much of a democratic mandate, rather than ignoring the plebiscite […]

Attacking the Canadian Wheat Board

This article from The Tyee reviews the history of the CWB and recent attacks by the Harper government: Harper’s Hit on Grain Farmers: Tories will aid US firms by gutting Canadian Wheat Board By Albert Horner and David Orchard TheTyee.ca For a year the Harper government has been threatening to destroy the power of the […]

Trade Balances and Jobs: Canada, the US and China

The following note, including tables, is available on the Canadian Labour Congress website: Free trade was promoted to Canadians on the famous promise of “jobs, jobs, and more jobs” and is widely defended on the basis that Canada’s large trade surplus with the US contributes to Canadian employment. Meanwhile, American commentators are concerned that the […]

Wheat Board Plebiscite

Yesterday, the Conservatives announced three ballot options for an upcoming mail-in vote on the Canadian Wheat Board’s marketing of barley: (1) maintain single-desk marketing, (2) end the Board’s marketing of barley, or (3) have the Board market barley without its monopoly. In effect, Board elections have always been plebiscites on the organization’s role and supporters of […]

The CWB and consumers

Stephen Gordon wonders whether eliminating the Canadian Wheat Board would be of benefit to consumers: The Canadian Wheat Board: Won’t anybody think of the consumers? The Canadian Wheat Board – a cartel for Canadian wheat producers – is experiencing the sort of troubles that all cartels have to deal with at some point or another: […]

Farmers and the Canadian Wheat Board

Having just recently been out to a family farm (one of a dying breed) in Saskatchewan, it is clear that farmers are having a tough time of it these days – those that have not become employees working corporate farms. Squeezed between flat commodity prices and soaring input costs, many small farmers must hold down […]