|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 http://www.pbs.org/itvs/storewars/stores2.html
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
- Document for farmers and industry how orderly
marketing reduces basis costs to both farmers and grain
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.