Wednesday, December 20, 2006

F.Y.I.: Update on the Canadian Wheat Board after Measner's firing

Joe Hueglin wrote:


                 Purely by happenstance I found out the .pdf file of Adrian Measner's letter to Chuck Strahl did not go through as I thought it would.

                 It is sent now as an attachment and hopefully will be transmitted to you.

                 Additional material is sent as well and several responses to December 19's Digest.

                 This will be the last post to you for some while now as suggested earlier, most certainly until the weekend in that we're going to be
                 Grandbabying away from home.


        As anticipated Adrian Measner was fired for refusing to alter his beliefs concerning the Canadian Wheat Board's value to Western farmers.

        The letter he wrote Strahl is attached for any who may have an interest . Of interest as well may be data collected by a consulting agrologist of high
        repute, Wendy R. Holm, P.Ag. Consulting Agrologist (resume, areas of practice) available through this link The Canadian Wheat Board Under Attack .

        What has been accomplished by removing Measner? Nothing substantial if this view is valid:

                 The CWB chairman is not the president and CEO. He is one of the government's five appointees. The board is chaired by an
                 elected farmer director. Right now, this is Ken Ritter. Interestingly, Ritter was first elected on a dual-market platform, but like
                 one other before him, became a solid convert to the single desk and now is one of its strongest advocates.
                 This means that after the Conservatives have finished their "stacking" of the five order-in-council appointments including the
                 president and CEO, the board will be split seven-seven with the pro-monopoly Ritter casting the deciding vote.
                 Another item of interest that the Calgary Herald overlooks is that under the CWB Act, the government must consult with the
                 board of directors on the appointment of a new president and CEO. And it is the board of directors who determines both the
                 role and the salary of the successful candidate

        As to the future here are two matters of importance to follow:
        Value placed on plebiscites
         Agricultural Minister Strahl statement "People make decisions for all kinds of reasons, but the input that's going to be most valuable as far
        as changes to the board goes is going to be the plebiscite."  implies Strahl will be guided by the opinions of affected farmers expressed
        in this manner."

        Just how "valuable" will they be if supporting the existing CWB structure?
        Reaction of Conservative M.P.s

        There are twelve M.P.s in Saskatchewan who have a problem because of an equalization promise that at this point has not been honoured.
        What impact will there be if they join Inky Mark in representing the views of their constituents?
        "A Conservative MP from Manitoba is breaking ranks with his colleagues over the Canadian Wheat Board, saying the government is ignoring
        its own polls that show two-thirds of farmers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan don't want to see major changes to the board.
BiLL Brienza
Saint John

Dear Joe

I read John Feldsted's letter on homelessness and I agree with many of
the thoughts he carefully laid out.  But I would like to add a few of my

Why is there no provision in the tax code to dedicate donations to
charitable and non-profit organizations to build and maintain housing
specifically?  When I first moved to Saint John, the YM/YWCA had
numerous housing units.   Now they have none.  The Salvation Army
shelter has been full for years.  There are no plans to build another
one.  The demand for basic shelter is huge yet the supply is small.

Many older private housing units have been converted to single occupancy
rooms.  Some landlords offer meals as well but it still not enough to
satisfy the needs of hundreds of people.  Both working and disabled
people gravitate to these rooming houses and reside there for years
waiting for something better to come along in the future. 

I live next to a large former middle school that has been vacant for
over nine years.  The province could have taken that building and
converted it to housing at any time.   They did not do that.  One block
further up the hill, a former high school sits vacant now for over a
year.  Nothing is being done or even contemplated about converting that
large and handsome building into housing.  Why not?

We have to start thinking creatively and use the resources we have.
Governments at all levels are not satisfying the basic needs of people.
New Brunswick claims the federal government does not provide enough
money in transfer payments.  City hall claims the province takes too
much of the property taxes it raises and fails to return those dollars
back to the point of origin.  There is a lot of blame but not enough
bricks.  There are lots of excuses but not enough excavations. 

Meantime, the churches and charitable organizations do nothing with the
donations they receive to create housing.  We need to insist that they
do more to provide housing with every donation check we write.  The
federal government can make that goal a tax policy with a simple tax
code change.

BiLL Brienza
Saint John

Ty Ragan

Dear Joe:
Re: Homelessness In Calgary

Once again the Calgary City Council is crying "Crisis for the Homeless".  This is the first winter in five years I am not involved in street ministry having moved into other helping endeavours, yet every year I was in street ministry the cry was the same, and the scramble inevitable.  In Calgaryt his year the city fell short in scramble mode and a member of Calgary's homeless did freeze to death, the emergency extra-shelter needed being tied up in court for weeks...yet the City still does not have a stabilized plan.

For me, using the term "Homeless" is a misnomer in this city.  You see we are talking about teens who are wards of the government, a Tory government that has created an ineffective group home system so they have run to shelters (yes there are other runaways, but let's deal with what the government can make an impact on). 40-45% of the homeless have a mental illness, the common sense revolution of Klein led to the closure of residential care facilities sending these poor souls in need of help into shelters and onto the streets.  Then there are new Canadians who are not able to use their professions.  Then there is the migrants from other provinces because Alberta is the promised land, low income tax, no provincial sales tax, yet we are user fee'd to death oh and our outgoing Premier has admitted the government had no plan on how to use the oil & gas money as is evident from our crumbling infrastructure.  What do new Albertans have to contend with? Same things as old Albertans...Wages that do not cover the rising cost of housing or living.

What happens as these costs spiral beyond the 60-70 hour week's ability to pay??? Families wind up in church basements, men and women wind up in lines at Food Banks, and shelters with no place else to go.  Finally there is burn out, loss of hope and a slide into addictions to hide the pain. 

Homelessness and underemployment (working poor) are issues that individuals across the nation want to avoid, but reality says these are our brothers and sisters, they could be us easily.  The governments are proving ineffective in dealing with a true pandemic, that absolute poverty is a reality in Canada not just the 2/3 world, and the fatest growing group in absolute poverty is our children.  So in the winter months it is time for the people to take action and hold governments accountable on affordable housing, and care for the poor of the nation, for living wages.

Mark Hendriks <>

Rosalie Piccioni wrote:
> re Robert Ede"; Subject: State Religion
> I hope people are listening.

Listening to what, exactly?  Unless you consider science to be a bad
thing (and I'm sure that a lot of Christians would object to secular
humanists taking all of the blame/credit for science,) Robert Ede's post
came across as a vague attempt to portray secular humanists as evil, in
some ambiguous way.  What was Robert Ede accusing secular humanists of,
exactly, other than being secular?

Furthermore, as if his strawman arguments weren't blatant enough, he
even managed to prove it himself, by quoting from the Wikipedia article
on secular humanism.  If I wasn't already familiar with Robert Ede's
opinions, I would have thought that this post was a joke.

Mark Hendriks