Canada Tosses Wheat Board with the Chaff


The Canadian Wheat Board's (CWB) 76-year state-mandated monopsony as the only buyer of farmers' wheat in much of Western Canada has come to an end. In killing the board's monopsony power–if not the board itself–Alberta agriculture minister Evan Berger had this bit of awesome to say:

"The ultimate property right is what you do with your production, whether it be intellectual or physical. I believe we are giving back a property right, a freedom of choice, to farmers who make large investments, who have the wherewithal to sell their grain to whomever, whenever, at what price they see fit," he said.

More here from the CBC.

The CWB apparently had quite the power in Western Canada, as federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz, a leading opponent of the board, describes in a video that accompanies the CBC story (sorry, not embeddable). In the video, Ritz describes how the board's nefarious grip extended even to donations, such that some farmers who had crossed provincial lines were thrown in jail for more than two months "simply for taking a bag of wheat in their half-ton truck across the [provincial] line and donating it to a 4-H club."

Yet the CWB, which apparently employs hundreds in its behemoth offices in downtown Winnipeg, is painting its own demise as an effort to "steamroll western Canadian wheat farmers."

But Saskatchewan agriculture minister Bob Bjornerud said he expects the CWB's loss of authority instead to lead to "rural reinvigoration, including a new generation of young farmers." If I were an editorial cartoonist, I'd co-opt the Canadian Wheat Board's steamroller and be hard at work scribbling the word "Progress" on a steamroller and drawing the steamroller running over something with "CWB" on it–so that everyone could tell what the heck I meant.

Bonus Canadian-themed story: Why did Wayne Gretzky's daughter shutter her Twitter account?

Baylen Linnekin is the director of Keep Food Legal, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and increasing "culinary freedom," the right of all Americans to grow, sell, prepare and eat foods of their own choosing. To join or learn more about the group's activities, go hereTo follow Keep Food Legal on Twitter, go here; to follow Linnekin, go here.

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  1. “The ultimate property right is what you do with your production…on Land taken by genocide.”

    1. Yer damn skippy. How the hell else would we get it?

      1. Fucking Normans took my land! (That I took from the Picts)

        1. Well next time maybe you’ll Pict on someone your own size.

    2. Surprised nobody mentioned the “monopsony” usage by Linnekin. The last time I saw that word used twice in the same post was on Ezra Klein’s old blog when he was bitching about Walmart’s buyers ‘killing’ Vlasic and other pet brands of his. His wolf-cry of Vlasic’s demise was premature.

      In this case, the usage is appropriate.

      1. The last time I saw the word monopsony was in an econ text discussing Static Model controls.

        1. The CWB was a monopsony when facing the farmers, but it was also the only entity authorized to SELL wheat for most purposes, so it was also a monopoly.

    3. I agree with stacy’s mom. This is why I’ve been demanding a statement from Canada’s Inuit that apologizes for the complete eradication of the Dorset peoples from the Canadian arctic.

  2. Surely famine will follow.

    1. Civilized England and France both had regular famines for hundreds of years, and would have probably collapsed, save for the discovery of “virgin” soil of the Americas to exploit, and then Black Oil to fuel the so-called “Green” revolution, which is just the industry of turning oil into food.

      Think this anomaly in history will go on forever?

      Agriculture is like fiat money, the soil is like a bank. It’s real fun, and seems so “productive,” ? for a little while.

      1. Say “hello” to the Erie Nation for me, will ya, guy?

        1. If really put in the situation he advocates (no ag), he’d be saying hello to the Eerie Nation!

      2. Actually, France had very few famines and was generally an exporter of grains.

        The English “Corn Laws” were intended to protect the upper-class land owners in England from competition from the French and allow them to charge the peasants more for the grain (‘corn’) produced in England.

        1. This is true during the middle age warm period,but,when the mini ice age struck,the French refused to plant potatoes instead or with grain,famine ensued.This and the utter corruption of the ancient regime lead to the French revolution

          1. of course any farming system that was reliant on one staple was doomed to famin sooner or later.[Irish potato famin?]A mix of grain,vegetable and meat seems to be the best cure.This became possible through modern farming

            1. The other issue is lack of trade. Today droughts in grain producing regions and surplus production in other grain producing regions effect the market price and people can buy food grown halfway around the world. By contrast when France in the 17th and 18th centuries or Ireland in the 19th centuries suffered a massive crop failure markets in London hardly fluctuated.

      3. herp derp CITY STATIST derp

  3. If only it wasn’t so cold in Alberta.

  4. “The ultimate property right is what you do with your production, whether it be intellectual or physical.”

    1. …private and widely used to settle differences with private defense corporations.

      1. If it makes a world as cool as Fallout, I’m all for it.

        1. Yawn. Blogwhore links to his own blog.

          1. I recently had the occasion to read a debate I had with Dan T and M1EK back in the day. I was surprised that they actually put some effort into their trolling.

            The current crop of trolls are so pathetically lame.

            1. Stalking a blog 24/7 takes some effort, tarran. Just not the kind of effort you’re talking about.

            2. Griefers, not trolls. Trolls just want to start an argument, either b/c they believe what they say or they just like fucking with people. Griefers like rectal / WI want to make a blog unreadable.

              But I know what you mean. The last time Underzog showed up, I told him how great it was to hear from him.

              1. At this point, H&R is so degraded that it would be an improvement to hear from Dave W.

              2. I guess the new check finally cleared.

                1. I was following the conversation up to this point. Check from who? To whom?

              3. That is a really good distinction BP. Only Lonewacko ever crossed into Griefer territory before this. He would just post rants about immigration on every thread.

              4. Underzog was never a troll. I always liked him. And Jersey McJones was okay. And then there was Gaius Marius and Thoreau. Gaius was a little crazy but always interesting.

                These people are just pathetic.

                1. Somebody needs a hug.

                  1. Someone needs some Prozac.

                    1. John|11.29.11 @ 11:49AM
                      Someone needs some Prozac.

                      That’s funny!
                      Will you be here all day?

                  2. Somebody needs a smack upside the head with a 2×4.

              5. Baked – offtopic, but have you bought my beer yet? (That was you, right?) Figured you would want to just go ahead and concede.

                1. robc – It’s looking like you’re right, but I’ll wait until it’s said and done. Remember, he has to win a playoff game.

                  Still, Bell’s 2 Hearted, right?

                  1. Yep.

                    The schedule isnt favorable either, you might get another year before having to pay off.

                    1. I think I have a feel for NFL QBs. A few years back (draft day), I said that while he would be behind for a few years, that when they were all done, Cutler would have a better career than Leinert or Vince Young (all drafted that same day, Cutler drafted last).

                    2. robc:

                      Who knew Leinart had a glass collarbone?

            3. tarran|11.29.11 @ 11:16AM|#
              I recently had the occasion to read a debate I had with Dan T and M1EK

              Did you re-post it with revised footnotes and bonus commentary?

              1. Boring troll is boring.

                1. You know you’ve made it when the Goon Squad shows up and makes a special effort to tell you how boring and uninteresting you are.

                  1. I guess someone is a little sad and angry about being left out. Sorry but sometimes it is just really hard to be the retarded kid.

                    1. John’s troll seems to have the same “joke” writer as MNG. Hmmm.

                2. John, you’re a born comic. Ever do any standup?
                  Will you be here all day?

    2. Actually, I can control my intellectual production. I don’t have to let anyone else learn my ideas, or create anything.

  5. The good news about your National Enquirer bonus story is that I no longer have to go to TMZ to get the latest

  6. Wait…they’re gutting a major government agency? How is that even possible?

    1. Not just the Wheat Board, but the Conservative government is also scrapping the long-gun registry (and salting the earth so it can’t easily come back).

      If only they’d scrap the handgun registry as well.

      1. There’s also a good chance Canada is pulling out of the Kyoto protocol.

        1. And suddenly Canada’s the western world’s new libertarian paradise…

          …that is, until you see the income tax rates.

          46.41% combined marginal tax rate on income over $128,800. (This varies by province.)

          1. And the retarded militarism.

        2. Kyoto’s expired.

  7. The Canadian government is volutarily shutting down a State price-fixing scheme?

    Maybe the Mayans were right.

    1. I think there’s something to the fact that much smaller countries (population-wise, don’t freak out you fucking cheeseheads) are better able to self-regulate when reality inevitably catches up. Another reason to doubt the US will be able to turn the Titanic from the iceberg.

      1. Actually, it is more to do with it being a majority government in Parliament.

        A majority government is effectively a one-party dictatorship until it is voted out.

        The budget cuts in the 1990s would not have been possible if the Liberals under Jean Chretien (aka “Dishonest Jean”) had not had a majority government, even though they were absolutely necessary to save Canada from what is now happening in Europe.

        1. Well, regardless of the means I don’t think it’s a coincidence that smaller countries dominated the index of economic freedom. And I think the effect is only going to get larger over time.

          The advantages of being a large country seem to be disappearing as trade restrictions and such things become less important.

      2. Perhaps, but in the meantime Rhode Island is taking on water, fast.

        1. Did they build too much on top of it? It’s just a matter of time before it sinks, you know.

          1. Maybe it will flip over, like Guam. It is an island, after all – it has “island” right in the name.

          2. OMG it could TIP OVER!!!!1111111

  8. Real Merikans won’t buy tainted Candadian wheat. If God had meant for wheat to be grown in Canada, he would have made it warmer there.

  9. “The ultimate property right is what you do with your production… except for the nearly 40% we take in taxes”.

    (As a Canadian, I only wish I were exaggerating).

  10. If I were an editorial cartoonist, I’d co-opt the Canadian Wheat Board’s steamroller and be hard at work scribbling the word “Progress” on a steamroller and drawing the steamroller running over something with “CWB” on it–so that everyone could tell what the heck I meant.

    Not enough labels.

    1. Ideally there would be some labels identifying what the labels represented, such as “METAPHOR” and “SYNECDOCHE” and so on. Then it might be up to Friday Funnies standards.

      1. It’s a shame you have to be a fantastically talented artist to do political cartoons, or we could clean up in this racket.

        1. Happily there’s no such criterion for professional chat-room punditry.

  11. Well fuckin’ A.

  12. steamroller running over something with “CWB” on it

    Don’t forget to put a top hat on the driver of the steamroller.

  13. That Wayne Gretzky was involved in the closing of the Twitter account is strengthened by this tweet shortly before it disappeared: “Having a nice sit down dinner with my dad about social media..haha #SIKEEE.”

    Mario Lemieux let Cindy tweet away during that ten-month bout with concussive PMS.

    (Go Pens.)

    1. The Great One’s daughter apparently has quite a twitter account.

  14. If I were an editorial cartoonist, I’d co-opt the Canadian Wheat Board’s steamroller and be hard at work scribbling the word “Progress” on a steamroller and drawing the steamroller running over something with “CWB” on it–so that everyone could tell what the heck I meant.

    No crying Statue of Liberty in the background?

    1. The steamroller would be labelled “Progress” in scare quotes, and would be driven by a top-hatted and bemonocled Evan Berger. He would be driving it over a field with a trail of flat wheat behind and a man being pulled under the front labelled “hard-working Canadian wheat farmers.” And it wouldn’t be the Statue of Liberty, you ignorant pig. It would be a crying moose.

      1. A weeping beaver has slightly different connotations, so I’ll allow the deviation from the classic Canadian animal. Can we work something in about the vast gluten conspiracy? I think that would be nice.

        1. How do you pictorially represent the vast gluten consipracy? Shadowed background figures with GLUTEN written on them?

        2. I think a weeping beaver is better. What about the vast lactate conspiracy? Maybe you could borrow the Chick Fila cows.

          1. I tend to stay away from my wife when she has a weeping beaver. I don’t know why anyone would want to see that in any kind of cartoon.

            1. Coward.

        3. Also, the Weeping Beavers would be a good name for a rock band.

          1. They could book for the next Michelle Bachmann rally.

          2. It would only work for an all girl punk band.

            1. That’s funny!
              Will you be here all day?

              1. No one wants you here.

    2. The steamroller should have outrageously oversized ears, and tiny little black dots for eyes, too.

  15. Wheat. . .lots of wheat. Fields of wheat. A tremendous amount of wheat.

  16. Speaking of foreign news, Breivik has been declared insane.

    What will it mean? Breivik is clearly being declared insane simply because he dissents from the political assumptions of the ruling class and carried out assassinations based on his dissent. He will be put in a psych ward because he disagrees with what he perceives as the cultural betrayal of Norway’s political leaders and his belief that those who disagree with government policies regarding immigration and “multiculturalism” are not able to acquire a meaningful political voice.

    Is Breivik alone in his views? Is there any public support in Norway for his views, if not his actions? Will he one day be viewed as a hero? With the public be outraged that Breivik is not being held criminally accountable for his murderous rampage?

    1. Murdering children is not “assassination”, no matter how much one “dissents from the political assumptions of the ruling class”.

      Get a grip.

      1. It’s a knotty problem:

        On the one hand, Breivik wants a trial so that he can use it as a platform to spread his ideas as Hitler and Castro did.

        On the other hand, the guy is mentally capable of assisting in his own defense and did know that what he was doing was wrong & illegal.

        I’m surprised that the court ruled he was not sane enough to stand trial. If they did it to prevent him from using the trial as a soap-box, it would be a terrible mistake.

        1. I bet that was what they were thinking.

        2. Some who slaughters children to make a political statement is not just insane, he is mad-dog-insane.

          Despite my opposition to the death penalty, I would have no qualms about pulling the lever on Breivik. I’d view it as a public health measure.

          1. Oh, I agree that he is insane in the general sense.

            Legal insanity is much narrower in scope; a person cannot be responsible for their actions or capable of assisting in their defense at trial.

            Ted Bundy, for example, was clearly insane. But the planning he conducted, the efforts at concealment, his intelligence etc all meant that he was responsible for his actions, was capable of assisting his defense, and so it would be inappropriate to say he was legally insane.

            Contrast this to someone with dementia who thinks he is back in WWII and strangles his roommate thinking that the roommate is a Nip infiltrator. A trial here would be pointless because the guy clearly wasn’t responsible for his actions.

            Breivik is far closer to Ted Bundy than the senile vet.

          2. Some who slaughters children to make a political statement is not just insane, he is mad-dog-insane.

            Or he could just be garden-variety evil.

            And I’m a bit uncomfortable with your use of the word “children”, since (according to Wikipedia) the median age of the murder victimes at Utoya was 18. 17 of those murder victims were 17, whom we wouldn’t think of as children if they were having sex with each other.

            Also, Breivik didn’t just kill “children” indiscriminately; he picked a political youth camp for his murders.

            I’d say not insane at all, and agree with “Isaac Bartram’s” comments.

          3. Some who slaughters children to make a political statement is not just insane

            He wasn’t just making a statement. He was trying to eliminate future leaders whom he was convinced would betray his country. Even if he were just butchering people to make a statement, it does not mean he was insane. All indications are that he knew exactly what he was doing and meticulously planned it, hardly the actions of a madman. More like the actions of an extremist willing to perpetrate horrible acts to try to force a political change.

            Words like “mad” and “insane” get thrown around far too cavalierly. They are used to describe pretty much every ambitious despot. It is more accurate to recognize the differences in motivations and morality of the despot or terrorist or mass murderer than to dismiss them as “insane”.

        3. I would not be at all surprised if he was declared insane so that he can be locked up for life instead of the 20yr+/- maximum that they could give him if he was convicted in a criminal trial.

          I also would not be surprised if there is a lot more sympathy for his opinions on race and ethnicity among the general public than the Norwegian political establishment would like to admit.

      2. Murdering children is not “assassination”

        His intention was to slaughter the next generation of what he thought were traitorous politicians. Killing political leaders is assassination. He didn’t murder random youths.

    2. This is a spoof, right?

      1. I think the questions asked in the last para indicate that this is not one of our Stormfront vistors.

        Asking questions about the State’s motives or those of Breivik do not show that the questioner is necessarily sympathetic to one or hostile to the other.

  17. If we’re going to be talking about wheat, here’s a song about beer.

  18. Serious question though: If the CWB doesn’t buy the farmers’ wheat, won’t it just rot in the silos?

    1. Actually, the meme promoted by the CWB is that the farmers will become helpless pawns of Cargill and Monsato, etc without the government to protect them.

    2. Pish. The wheat won’t even make to the silos; it will just rot in the fields.

      Without a government agency, you see, the farmers will just sit in their kitchens, staring vacantly into space.

      1. I see you have met a few farmers. 😉

        1. Indeed I have.

          The planning, preparation, and just plain hard work they put into their crop insurance frauds is an inspiration to us all.

      2. We’re lazy as hell! Lawyers do ten times the work.

    3. The wheat board can still exist, just not as a monopoly.

    4. The tribbles will eat it first.

    5. Serious question though: If the CWB doesn’t buy the farmers’ wheat, won’t it just rot in the silos?

      There’s this obesity crisis on, so any wheat that doesn’t make it to market represents pounds lost in the population. Win-win.

  19. If the CWB doesn’t buy the farmers’ wheat, won’t it just rot in the silos?

    The farmers will be compelled to migrate to the cities and take jobs at Tim Hortons.

    The great plains of Canada will become a pheasant hunter’s paradise.

  20. Meanwhile, the federal government of the United States maintains its policy of illegally assassinating Americans, executing illegal and costly wars of unjustifiable intervention, and not one state is man enough to actually tell the feds to eat shit and fuck off with regards to ObamaCare.

    God forgive us for what we’ve done to our inheritance.

    1. I don’t think our federal gov’t has quite got to the point of assassinating Canadians yet, but we’ve wasted a fair bit of blood and treasure in Afghanistan and helped bomb the shit out of Libya. And not one province is man enough to tell the feds to fuck off with regards to the intrusion of the Canada Health Act into their exclusive constitutional jurisdiction over the regulation of health care.

  21. Yet the CWB, which apparently employs hundreds in its behemoth offices in downtown Winnipeg, is painting its own demise as an effort to “steamroll western Canadian wheat farmers.”

    The oppressor always warns that his demise will be the end those he oppressed.

  22. I wish Pennsylvania would do this with their stupid liquor control board.

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