Eduard Hiebert

Home | Previous Campaigns | Electoral Reform | Political Humour | Recent Updates | Site Map


Please note this address will change without notice.
Bruce Dalgarno's public record:
  1. Highlights of Dalgarno's secret obligations to Monsanto as exposed by CBC
  2. On the GMO wheat debate, having contracted and supped with Monsanto, Dalgarno discredits farmers abilities to make sound decisions
  3. If the market is king, who wins, who loses
  4. Winnipeg Free Press gives Dalgarno's version regarding his contract with Monsanto
  5. Arthur Schafer's Article on MCGA Directors' Conflict of Interest
  6. See Also: The Wide Canola basis - On Whose Side is Bruce Dalgarno?

Highlights of Dalgarno's secret obligations to Monsanto as exposed by CBC.

This letter will confirm our mutual understanding and agreement regarding the terms and conditions under which you will serve on the Roundup Ready Wheat Grower Advisory Panel (hereinafter referred to as "the Panel") for Monsanto Canada Inc. (hereinafter referred to as "Monsanto").

The functions of the Panel will be to:

To assist in ensuring the positive introduction of Roundup Ready Wheat in Canada.

To solicit and provide input to Monsanto from farm colleagues, farm associations and other industry stakeholders on the opportunities and the issues to maximize the value of Roundup Ready Wheat to Canadian Agriculture.

To provide input to Monsanto on strategies to build the Canadian agricultural industry, and downstream customer acceptance to agricultural biotechnology and biotechnology products.


  1. As compensation for your services rendered hereunder, Monsanto will pay you a fee of $150 per day, for each day required to participate in meetings during this Agreement plus reasonable and customary travel and other expenses incurred by you in connection with providing services to Monsanto.  The Panel will be convened on an ad hoc basis at mutually convenient times with the present expectation of meeting at least twice per year.
  2. As a member of the Panel, you will have access to Monsanto confidential information relating to present and future products of interest to Monsanto and to research, commercial development, marketing and other business plans of Monsanto, relating to such products.  You agree that all such information will be held in confidence by you and not disclosed to others or used for your benefit or for any purpose other than in connection with the Agreement without our prior written consent.  Your obligation with regard to the confidentiality and nonuse of such information shall continue during the term of the Agreement and for a period of ten (10) years thereafter, but shall not extend to any information which:
    1. is publicly known or later becomes publicly through no breach of this Agreement, or
    2. was in your possession prior to receipt from Monsanto as evidenced by your written records; or
    3. is received by you from a third party having no obligation of confidentiality to Monsanto regarding the disclosure of such information.

Back to top

On the GMO wheat debate, having contracted and supped with Monsanto, Dalgarno discredits farmers abilities to make sound decisions.

Manitoba Cooperator November 15, 2001

Delegates at the first annual members' meeting of Agrigore United, Canada's largest grain company, told their new board last week that they don't want any the genetically modified crops developed wihtout market acceptance.

"We don't want to destroy our markets.  Let's make sure that we can sell it before we grow it," said Bill Ridgeway, the Manitoba farmer who presented the resolution.

"In the movies it works to say, if you build it they'll come, but in actual operation I've never seen it happen," Ridgeway told delegates who, after some debate, strongly endorsed the proposal to delay gene-spliced crops.

The group of farmers and shareholders from the Canadian Prairies were meeting face to face for the first time just one week after the official merger between United Grain Growers and Agricore Co-operative that produced Agricore United.

The grain merchandiser, seed developer and crop input retailer will handle about 12 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds or about 40 percent of Western Canada's market share.

Ridgeway said his resolution did not apply to oilseed crops that were already transgenic, including soybeans and canola.

Canada is the world's largest producer and exporter of canola, the Canadian variant of rapeseed.  While about half of the country's annual canola production is genetically modified (GM) to tolerate certain herbicides, because Canada has a bulk handling system, the entire crop is classified as transgenic.

The farmers attending the meeting urged Agricore United's board of directors, many of whom are also growers, to lobby for more work on an identity-preserved system that can effectively segregate GM and non-GMO varieties, an initiative that the Canadian commission has already undertaken.

The Agricore United delegates' resolution, along with a motion to halt plans to create genetically modified wheat, an endeavor that has been spearheaded by US biotech giant Monsanto Co., are non-binding, aimed at advising management on future policy direction.

"I think it's a prudent and conservative approach to take on the technology, given that in some respects it's like a Pandora's box," Agricore United chief executive Brain Hayward told Reuters after the session.

"The genie goes out of the bottle.  You can't go and put it back in easily," said Hayward.

The delegates who opposed the resolution said they had faith in the current, science-based criteria for approving the release and regulating consumer safety of GM crops.

"I don't think that we as farmers and businessmen in Western Canada have the expertise to oppose the science of licensing," said Bruce Dalgarno, another Manitoba delegate.

Agricore United said it has recently met with Monsanto and was given reassurances that Roundup Ready wheat would not be released until there was commercial acceptance of the product.

"When you look at the distribution of it, no one is going to bring a product forward, and Monsanto has talked about this on their wheat, if there is not a pull from the consumer," said Dalgarno.

But for some of the canola farmers gathered here, the loss of the European market, part of a three year consumer driven freeze on imports of GM crops, was a lingering memory.

There was also talk of China's new GM import regime, confusion over which had helped halt almost all Canadian canola shipments to that market so far during the crop year.

But some delegates said that any move towards a consumer-driven approach and away from scientific testing would be a setback to the industry, much of which has embraced GM technology because of its agronomic and economic benefits.

"We're asking our regulatory agencies to  put an intangible into the registration process.  If we did that, what we would be doing is telling the world that our arguments relative to GMOs with Europe have been wrong and they were correct," said Albert Wagner, an Alberta farmer.

Back to top

If the market is king, who wins, who loses?  Dalgarno and Cargill, regarding the $62 Canola basis saying "it would correct itself"?

Letter to the FIW Editor:
re Barb Isman's apology of crushers low prices to farmers and supported by Bruce Dalgaro:

When under the corporate friendly (but) farmer unfriendly caption "Canola prices bad, crush margins good" Barb Isman, Canola Council president unashamedly claims, "one is not the result of the other (10.11.05)", FIW's earlier remember-worthy words "a good newspaper prints the truth and what people say, with the two not necessarily the same" sprang immediately to mind!

First, by entry level economic definition, margin (or basis) is nothing more complicated than the elementary mathematically relationship between Canola oil's price minus inputs!  Accordingly, for any fixed price for oil, crush margins increase as canola drops!

Second, in her corporate friendly, farmer unfriendly role - representing crushers - farmers' low prices are still not low enough, adding "While farmers may feel there's too much canola around", a euphemism for Canola prices too low, "Canada's canola customers feel there hasn't been enough". Translation: prices paid by crushers are still not low enough!

Third, by way of diversion, she fingers several nations for having self-serving higher tariffs on oil than on canola, when in reality she is advancing Canadian crusher's interests over farmers, knowing crushers are running near capacity and these tariffs really only begin to pinch when future Canadian crush expansion plans come on stream. Crushers already represent 50% of farm-gate sales, selling nearly all their crush into tariff-free countries of Canada, Mexico and the US.  USA alone accounts for "75% of Canada's exported canola oil (Dawson/FIW 17.11.05)"!

Fortunately, Beingessner advances first-rate farmer friendly information when recently, in reply to a farmer asking "Just who sets the (farm commodity) prices anyway?" he reported an economist answered "Well, the lowest seller does (17.11.05)" adding Canada's banks and farm suppliers often exercise "compulsion and little freedom in the (farmer's) transaction".

With Isman above, pushing even lower farm-gate prices and crushers seeking expanded market tariff-free opportunities by engaging a full-time lobbyist (ibid. Dawson) how come she makes no mention of the more than obvious, that since the private trade excluded farmers from making deliveries against the futures, farm-gate canola basis have risen to two, three and four times above a fair return?

Given all the above, exactly whom is Canola director Bruce Dalgarno representing when in December 2003 with a $62 unpopular basis, he and Cargill are quoted saying "it would correct itself"?  Later, at the Canola AGM, John Boercher much more correctly stated "it's a license to steal".

In conclusion, applying Beingessner's insight, I advance the following truism.  Whenever the Canola industry collectively sells somewhat less than what farmers have to offer, whether they have a bin-busting bumper crop or only a truck-load, the thousands of farmers are structurally coerced into chasing each other to the elevator drive-way offering a lower basis than the next.  No-one can say so differently and make it stick!

Eduard Hiebert
St Francois Xavier

Back to top

Winnipeg Free Press gives Dalgarno's version regarding his contract with Monsanto

Winnipeg Free Press November 14, 2002  p. A9
By Helen Fallding

CLOSE ties between farm leaders and the company developing the world's first genetically-modified wheat are in danger of influencing debate over the controversial technology, a critic charges.

St. Francois Xavier farmer Eduard Hiebert was upset to discover recently that a fellow board member on the Manitoba Canola Growers Association is on Monsanto's grower advisory panel on Roundup Ready wheat.

The panel is designed to "assist in ensuring the positive introduction of Roundup Ready wheat in Canada," according to an agreement signed by farmers that binds them to keep Monsanto's company secrets confidential for 10 years.

The biotechnology giant is on the verge of applying for federal government approval of the new wheat, which is genetically altered to resist Monsanto's popular Roundup herbicide.

Because most of Canada's export markets say they will shun genetically-modified wheat, Monsanto has agreed not to commercialize Roundup Ready wheat until a market develops and there is a way to segregate it from conventional wheat.

Hiebert said he did not realize Newdale farmer Bruce Dalgarno was on the Monsanto panel, whose members have met for a couple of two-day sessions and been paid $150 a day for their input.

Hiebert is also disturbed that the canola association's president, Ernie Sirski, and his wife, accepted a Monsanto-funded trip last year to the World Congress on Conservation Agriculture in Spain. 

Critical of GM canola and wheat, Hiebert worries that farmers in influential positions will favour Monsanto's products "because of perhaps some kind of bowl of soup they got in the past."

He also fears loyalty to Monsanto will colour decisions of the Manitoba Canola Growers Association board.

Sirski said he does not see any conflict of interest when board members get involved in other activities as individual farmers.

"It would take more than a trip to Spain to prostitute myself for a chemical company," he said.

The Roundup Ready wheat panel has four members from each of the three Prairie provinces.  Manitoba's other members are: Max Polon, a director for the Manitoba Seed Growers Association; David Pizzey; and Edward Cook.

Monsanto spokeswoman Trish Jordan said the company wants to get feedback -- both positive and negative -- that will help improve its strategy for introducing Roundup Ready wheat. 

The contract with Monsanto explicitly states that members cannot promote Roundup Ready wheat because of government rules about products not yet on the market.

However, members are free to publicly state their opinions about genetically modified wheat in general.

Pollen, who notified the Seed Growers  Association when he joined the panel, said he does not understand the opposition to new crop biotechnology.

Brandon farmer Don Bromley, who chairs a biotechnology committee for Keystone Agricultural Producers, attended the first few advisory panel meetings but refused to sign the confidentiality agreement.

However, Bromley sees nothing wrong with meeting with companies to give them feedback.

Bromley believes some genetically modified wheat will be useful to
farmers -- but not Roundup Ready wheat.

Back to top

Arthur Schafer's Article on MCGA Directors' Conflict of Interest

Sunday, December 8th, 2002
"I can't be bought for..."
What happens when farm leaders meet agri-business

Main Street, Moose Jaw, is a long way from Wall Street, New York City. And the Manitoba Canola Growers Association doesn't have a lot in common with Merrill Lynch Securities.

Nevertheless, the ethical issue currently dominating the attention of corporate America -- conflict of interest -- is now stirring controversy across the Prairie provinces. It has come to light that a number of Western farm leaders *have financial ties to the multinational chemical giant Monsanto. Because these leaders are accepting money and travel from Monsanto at the same time they serve as board members of leading farm organizations, they have been accused of being in a conflict-of-interest situation.

[Editorial Comment:  Except for Dave Sefton formerly of Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, all the other Monsanto panel members  initially exposed by CBC as having signed the agreement, besides being involved in many different organizations have at least one common element to all of them. Each of them is involved with the Western Canadian Wheat Growers association, in many cases having held positions at the national or provincial executive level.]

First, some background to this story. Monsanto is spending a lot of money to persuade the federal government that it should license genetically modified (GM) wheat. A big part of Monsanto's campaign hinges on persuading western farmers to support the introduction of GM wheat to Prairie agriculture. This is proving to be a tough sell. Many western wheat farmers fear that licensing GM, or "Roundup Ready" wheat would destroy Canada's most valuable wheat, export markets. Europeans, for example, won't touch the stuff. Since there's no safe and sure way to segregate GM wheat from conventional wheat, all Canadian wheat runs the risk of being banned from Europe.

Understandably, feelings on this issue are passionate. There's a lot at stake.

Some Manitoba farmer leaders, such as Ernie Sirski and his wife, have accepted Monsanto-funded travel (Winnipeg Free Press, Dec. 14). The Sirskis were treated to an all-expenses-paid trip to Spain last year to attend the World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. Mr. Sirski is president of the Manitoba Canola Growers' Association. Another board member is a paid member of Monsanto's grower advisory panel on Roundup Ready Wheat. He is paid $150 per day to advise Monsanto on how to win the support of his fellow farmers for the introduction of GM wheat. The Monsanto Roundup Ready wheat panel has four members from each Prairie province -- all receiving similar benefits.

Not surprisingly, the beneficiaries see nothing morally troubling about the situation. Mr. Sirski, for example, is quoted as saying: "It would take more than a trip to Spain to prostitute myself for a chemical company." 

In thinking about how best to respond to this issue, Canadian farmers could study not only the crisis of confidence now plaguing Wall Street, but also the record of the Canadian medical community, which is awash in such conflict-of-interest issues. 'Big Pharma' spends more than $20,000 annually per Canadian physician on gifts, including free meals, money to attend educational sessions, travel and consulting fees.

I have lectured across Canada on the ethics of doctors accepting gifts from drug companies. Interestingly, I have never met a doctor who admitted that he or she had been influenced in any way by drug-company generosity. When confronted on the issue, they invariably reply, as did Mr. Sirski: "I can't be bought for... (fill in the blank: a fancy dinner, laptop computer, Caribbean holiday, whatever)."

Are doctors and farmers incorruptible in the objectivity of their judgment, as they insist? Or, could it be that the drug and chemical companies recognize something fundamental about human nature? 

This is a rhetorical question. What drug and chemical companies understand is that much of social life is based on reciprocity. The need to return kindness for kindness, favour for favour, benefit for benefit, is a basic motivator in virtually every human society. It behooves us, therefore, to reflect upon the fact that every dollar of the millions that the drug companies invest in gifts to physicians and hospitals -- and every dollar that chemical and food companies invest in gifts to universities, farm organizations and individual farmers -- is viewed by the companies as an important part of their corporate strategy. They are buying goodwill. They are buying influence with people who have decision-making power.

To put this point in another way, every gift and payment from agri-businesses to farmers and their organizations comes with strings attached. Strings that are sometimes as heavy as an iron chain, even when the recipients don't recognize that their chain is being jerked.

All farm-organization directors have an obligation to put the interests of their members first. They have a "fiduciary duty" to exercise their judgment impartially and objectively in the best interest of members. Money, however, has a tendency to influence people's judgment. So, when board members accept money or other benefits from a private corporation (such as Monsanto) about whose products they must officially make evaluative judgments, no one can be certain that their judgment is not being influenced by their vested interest. They may bend over backwards not to be influenced, and sometimes they will succeed. Nevertheless, because human motivation is often complex, there is always a risk that this conflict-of-interest situation will result in a violation of their moral duty. 

Farm leaders who accept benefits from agri-business have acquired a "vested interest" that has the potential to conflict with their duty to put the interest of their membership first. Consciously or unconsciously, their judgment may be skewed.

With the Enron/Arthur Andersen scandal in the U.S., we saw that accountants' conflicts of interest led to disastrous consequences for shareholders and employees. With the Olivieri scandal at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, we saw that when hospitals and universities solicit donations from drug companies, they can too easily lose sight of their primary duty, which is to protect research integrity and patient safety.

Farmers are discovering that they had better protect the independence and integrity of their own organizations, or they too could face disastrous consequences.

Professor Arthur Schafer is Director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba.

Back to top


Maintained by Eduard Hiebert