Eduard Hiebert

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A personal letter from Eduard Hiebert, an experienced candidate, standing for an even stronger, more beneficial farm controlled CWB single desk selling agency for farmers.

Dear Manitoba Farmer!

All who receive this letter may vote in the 2004 CWB election!  And I will begin with a few words focused on the big picture!  The reality is that we as farmers are relatively few in society and structurally poorly organized and resourced in relation to the many world wide giant corporations.  Nonetheless, please do not make the mistake of believing that what you or I do does not matter, resigning yourself not to do anything, thereby selling yourself short of the positive contribution you can make while maintaining your own human sovereignty of being master of your own decisions and agenda.

This CWB election, like none before, is being cast under the shadow of the world wide invading presence of giant transnational corporations dictating to nations ever more what the rules of trade will be.  With Wal-Mart, a Goliath among the giants, now muscling into the food chain, they will be quick to make their top down dictates as they gain further control, unless we accept the earlier environmentalists' wisdom to "think global and act local".  See (link will open in a new window) for more information on Wal-Mart's rate of global expansion nearing one new store per week (or remove the last segment and review contents like corporate censorship)!

One last personal word on an even bigger picture!

Through my faith, I am encouraged and emboldened to not bow down to the giant transnational corporations, but to continue to advance the common good agenda, or as Micah put it years ago, to be encouraged to "... do justice, and to love kindness, and walk humbly with your God" (RSV).

A primary choice in this election is how wide is each of our farming vision?  If you wish to see the world wide grain trade, inclusive of the prairies, controlled and dominated by the transnational agri-business giants and given to them without a fight, then your choice is clearly for someone like Brenda.  If you disagree with this vision, I encourage you to please exercise your franchise, inclusive of your preferential ballot, to the fullest as per below.

But first, with Butch Harder stepping down, please join me in extending genuine thanks for the vigilance and work done by him on our behalf!  Much was accomplished!  Much more must yet be done in maintaining and improving the CWB.

Let me also be the first to state publicly and encourage you as well, now already, to sincerely thank Bill and Chuck for running, for added together, each of our distinctly separate campaigns will, with 100% confidence, increase the likelihood of a pro-board electoral win compared to if only two or fewer of us ran.  The CWB preferential voting system also provides that you may vote for me as your most committed, able and dependable first choice candidate without in any way risking that your second choice of Bill or Chuck will thereby also lose, should I not be elected!

These systemic assurances only apply if you mark your CWB preferential ballot as follows.  Leaving partisan politics aside, please vote your conscience, beginning with your choice of the best pro CWB candidate, as 1, the second as 2, etc., and thereby vote for all the candidates.

I will not knowingly contribute to vote-splitting and risk the CWB's future.  By contrast to others' assertions, if someone can show me by way of factual example that my above analyses is wrong, I hereby pledge, in the best interest of farmers, I will resign my current candidacy and if necessary again forfeit my deposit as I did in the 1994 CWB advisory election when I discovered and exposed that anti-CWB Wheat Growers were secretly plotting a prairie wide slate of candidates.  I resigned in 1994, for I did not want to risk splitting the vote between the pro and anti-CWB vote.

I will now pointedly differentiate myself from the other candidates, so you may more easily determine who not only is the most able candidate, but with equal importance, who is least likely to sell out our farmers interests by "going along, in order to get along".

One root cause why we as farmers globally, and now in particular, here on the prairies are achieving a rapidly declining share of the consumer dollar, is that we have had too many leaders of all political stripes, including farmer leadership, who were willing "to go along, to get along."  That is how we lost the Crow Rate, our Pool elevators, rail branch lines, hog marketing boards and many other non-trade distorting farm benefits.  This is how we will loose the Wheat Board, one cut, one unjustified compromise at a time, as in the recent WTO accord!

Look at my record: "In speaking truth to power" I stand up for my principles and do not go along and sell out farmer's interests, nor the common good, even if that means I don't get along with politicians, farm leaders and others misappropriating their stewardship of power.

Many of us know, without a shadow of doubt, that systemically, a farmer controlled CWB single desk selling agency can and does extract higher premiums from the market than individual farmers making one sale at a time.  With full integrity of action, I support a stronger more improved farmer run CWB, serving in the best interests of farmers for farmers, inclusive of the three pillars of the CWB - single desk selling, price pooling and government initial guarantees, none of which are trade distorting, though an irritant to the trade giants who seek and create monopolistic control where ever possible.

My public participation, beginning with my personal life, includes being part of a third generation family farm.  We, like many other farmers, are now producing 6-10 times and more grain since the farm was last expanded by my father, yet to whose advantage is this huge high input production accruing?

After completing a science and math based university education, I worked in industry, as a manager of transportation, inventory and information services, the latter two in corporate head offices located in Montreal, acquiring some French as well.  I also have a nearly completed MA in Peace Studies, abbreviated in part by my return to the farm.  After my father's death and prior to KAP's existence, within my first year back on the farm, I began discussions with the Pawley administration, having to finally embarrass them into correcting the purple fuel rip-off -- fuel companies "absorbing" the tax reduction.  To break their monopoly, an on farm fuel dying program was eventually introduced, but since lost under the "go along to get along" watch of all three political parties, the Manitoba government and all of Manitoba's farm check-off organizations.

By the mid-eighties, I spear-headed a public lobby group, intervening before the Public Utilities Board.  These interventions, despite some mean spirited political partisan opposition of all stripes, eventually lead to the Board ordering Manitoba Telephone Service to eliminate party lines and long distance to our immediate neighbours, opening the door for faxes, answering machines and internet hook-up in rural homes and businesses...

In my own right and as a Pool and Agricore delegate, I initiated and advanced many issues on behalf of farmers and the common good.  Among these, when Winnipeg Commodity Exchange insiders moved to remove the farmer's "threat of delivery", a fundamental part to a functional futures market, I tried to alert farmers, the Pools and UGG.  These farm leaders told me that was impossible and few farmers seemed concerned until the companies kept raising the Canola basis until it reached $60 plus last crop year.  Not once until last year did I ever hear Brenda addressing this obvious dysfunction, but when the basis was at its worst ever, Brenda defensively claimed the "grain companies have legitimate reasons for not wanting to deliver" (FIW February 2002) against the futures and themselves cashing in on the wide basis where their delivery cost (and mine prior to the rule change) was less than $15/tonne!  In reality such deliveries would also pressure the basis, so why would they kill their own cash cow?

With a concerted lobby effort, farmer deliveries could again be reinstated, more easily than many of the international problems facing the CWB.  The Canola basis also foreshadows what the wheat basis would be like without a CWB.  So I encourage you to ask each candidate on the public record what they have done on the public record to address these resolvable issues, issues adding needless and significant costs to farmer's bottom line.

Additional platform objectives

  • Encourage producer policy inputs with greater accountability to producers.
  • Defend against unwarranted foreign trade actions and domestic government's readiness to trade off the Board and eliminate CWB price guarantees.
  • Ensure more of the blending opportunities accrue to farmers.
  • Remain vigilant on the GMO wheat front and other issues which threaten farmers incomes like transportation, elevator services and lack of equitable delivery opportunities.
  • An Australian study finds Australian Board extracts more premiums for farmers than the CWB.  There is room for improvement.
  • Explore if CWB's recent new pricing programs could be enhanced by offering producer hedging services.
  • Eliminate bureaucracy and reduce costs in CWB's privatized elections while adding basic and fundamental democratic disciplines over a wide range of issues.  Revising election rules so that only farmers selling grain via the Board may vote.
  • Explore if ways can be found to reduce the economic treadmill effect encouraged by the current (quota) contracting program.
  • Document for farmers and industry how orderly marketing reduces basis costs to both farmers and grain companies.

The CWB advantage is under attack.  For more info or to help keep it, please call or email.  Please rank all candidates on the preferential ballot 1, 2, 4... beginning with Eduard Hiebert.


Maintained by Eduard Hiebert