Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Another Bad Day for Farmers in Ontario

Last week farmers blocked traffic on the 401 near London to protest the restrictions on cash crops like tobacco. Today there was a recall on Sealtest chocolate milk because someone was hospitalized for drinking one that had a best before date of Feb 8. Apparently they found traces of chemical sanitizer in it. Milk prices will be going up 7 cents a litre despite the fact that they can't even sell all the milk that is produced and processed now, and butter and cheese suppliers will be looking for alternatives ways to cut corners.

When I listen to the radio now, it's just one big long sigh. Do the issues above sound like just another reason to turn away from and distrust the agricultural industry? You may cover your eyes, but the images don't go away. The fact that most of us need to live off of food we get from the grocery store should register as a problem.

Meanwhile on CBC, they discussed whether or not we should get rid of the penny. Apparently some people have nothing to worry about other than how inconvenient it is for them to count out the correct change. They whine because they have to roll their pennies and go to the bank, again. There was a general sense that discussing the issue was a waste of time but yet the proponent of this movement believes strongly that we could save valuable copper resources if we just got rid of the 1 cent. One smart caller suggested simply devaluing the dollar by 5 cents and adjusting accordingly so that you can actually buy something with a penny. No, that wouldn't work, rounding up and down to the nearest 5 cent doesn't work because it causes instability. So why don't you just suck it up and stop complaining about how you have money? If I wake up tomorrow and dollar value starts at 5 or 10 cents, I'm going to be really pissed off. That'll mean we've all lost it.

My dad and I talked about how much the government sucks over dinner. I asked him what the green-belt project is that I've heard about going on in the GTA. He explained that it's the provincial government's way of stealing land from farmers. I used to think I was liberal, it's how I voted, but the McGuinty government only seems to have successfully ticked off a large percentage of the public including me, for the ridiculous desires of special interest groups, like those who want to get rid of pit bulls.

Farmers are the ones saving the land for the future, but according to the government, it's them who has to pay so that city folk can have free rein to roam in the forest or over cropland. If farmers were saving the land to sell it for needed development space, now those around the GTA cannot, and with tight borders, BSE and no proposed solutions to farmers besides a questionable and tentative meeting sometime in the future, there doesn't seem to be any good reason not to sell your land right away and just get the hell out of the farming business before you're mummified in red tape, unless it's just something you love.

My father has been a farmer all his life. My grandfather farmed for over 80 years til the day he died. My other grandfather had a farm in Calgary, but he sold it because it's probably worth more as a mining site than a producer of wheat. But for some reason I always felt like farming was a dying profession, like the buffalo and the feathered Indian. Where have all the cowboys gone?

I'm not saying that it's not a good idea to conserve agricultural land because afterall, agricultural land is being lost to urbanization in Ontario faster than any other province but why blame the farmers for this? It's the people in real estate that are facilitating it. And if you want to save agricultural land, pay for it. The government should have just as much buying power as regular citizens. Oh, but I suppose they figure it's easier to be a crook.

So the government put a freeze on farmer's land so that they cannot sell it for urbanization. Basically they're devaluing their land so that it's worthless so that it's protected for everyone else who sold out for the city. Great plan. The government beat up the teachers, then it took away health coverage, now it's destroying agriculture. Who will be the next minority for the government to attack? Well, with the sponsorship scandal it can attack itself too. Let's get it together politicians. I know the house is mixed, but could you do something with that? Otherwise no one will succeed.

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