Monday, September 12, 2011

General Posting

Source: Globe and Mail: Prairie Farmers Vote to Keep Wheat Board

So, we have a few things to talk about today. I realize that I've spent a bit too much time on the blog looking only at 'Federal' politics, while neglecting my home province of Saskatchewan, and I will try to rectify that today. That said, there is still some things in federal politics that we need to discuss as well.

Let's get the federal stuff talked about, and then let's wrap up with a look at what's going on around Saskatchewan.

Firstly, in the federal arena, Canadian farmers have voted against the government in a Canadian Wheat Board sponsored vote on the future of the agency. The farmers voted a little over 60% in favour of keeping the Wheat Board up and running, while 38% voted to scrap it.

According to the CWB, about 55% of eligible voters took time to vote.

However, this (largely predicted) decision is not having any sway on the governing Conservatives, who still intend the scrap the CWB's monopoly later this year. Gerry Ritz, the Agricultural Minister, dismissed the vote as an 'expensive survey' and went on to explain that the government is committed to giving farmers 'marketing freedom'.

Marketing freedom is another way of saying 'choice'...Which allows me to use this clip:

My apologies if the above video doesn't work, if it doesn't you can find the link HERE.

Now the reason I've included that clip is because it is fairly accurate. The Conservatives have been suggesting that the government needs to step back and allow farmers to have the CHOICE to market their grain any way they like...Provided that choice is not to keep the CWB functioning.

After all, the farmers have voted and said that they would like to keep the system in place. Yet the government maintains that farmers should have a choice of ways to sell their grain. Seems rather hypocritical when you break it down to that point, doesn't it? Where the Conservatives want farmers to have choice in marketing their products, provided that it doesn't have to give them the choice the majority wants.

And wait, it only gets more hypocritical.

As mentioned, Minister Ritz dismissed the CWB vote as an 'expensive survey' and non-binding; despite CWB proponents suggesting that laws regarding changes to the CWB require votes from farming members.

Now, why is this hypocritical? Well, let's think back to the election and the staunch defenders of the democracy the Harper Conservatives proclaimed themselves to be. Where a coalition government was more or less denounced as a basically treason; and where Harper himself conceded that if he lost, he would have to accept the will of the people.

Yet here is the will of farmers in plain daylight, and their voices are dismissed. So yes, more hypocrisy from the Harper Conservatives...And we're in for four more years of it too.

The last federal thing I'd like to talk about is the NDP Leadership race. As of posting, on NDP Party President Brian Topp has declared himself and official candidate for the position. He's also received some endorsements from important NDP figures, such as Ed Broadbent.

Now, I must admit, I do not know a lot about Brian Topp. I've heard things, and read a few columns he's written over the years, but other than that I can't really say whether or not he would be the best leader to guide the NDP over the coming years.

Of course, I look forward to hearing and learning more about him as the months go by; much in the same way I look forward to learning about all the candidates once they're declared.

However, as a simple blogger, there will be no endorsement coming from me...For any candidate. If only because I don't think my blessing would be very news worthy or important, nor would it dramatically change the leadership race. So, when I have decided which candidate to support, you'll hear nothing about it from me here.

Well, that wraps up the Federal stuff.

Now, as anyone in Saskatchewan will know, we are heading towards an election. Come November, thanks to the Saskatchewan Party's fixed election date laws, we will have elected a new slate of candidates to the Legislature to represent us for the next four years.

However, even though the election is still months away, the campaigning has already begun. If you're the Saskatchewan Party, the campaigning began years ago...Since I don't think there's a single billboard in Saskatchewan that hasn't had Brad Wall, or a local candidate, plastered on it for the better part of a few months in the past three years.

And while the Saskatchewan Party has been running attack ads against the NDP, basically since getting elected, the NDP has recently entered the electoral battle but with the announcement of policies.

So, we have the Saskatchewan Party bashing and promoting Brad Wall; while the NDP has released a flurry of policy initiatives that they would implement when they are elected. After all, this is the party that has spent the better part of four years going across the province and organizing policy town hall meetings with members and non-members.

Contrast that to the Saskatchewan Party's last convention, in which policy discussion and voting weren't even on the agenda.

As such, the NDP has been developing policy for four years with vital input and should be coming up with some interesting policies.

After all, we've already seen policies on health care and education come from the NDP camp. And the well received Bright Futures Plan, which aims to ensure future generations benefit from Saskatchewan's resource wealth, has already been touted as a successful policy for the NDP.

I've said this before on the blog, but it bares repeating: The difference between conservatives and progressives is that conservatives live in the now while progressives live in the then.

Conservatives want a better life for themselves and they want it now, regardless of what that means for future generations. Whereas progressives look at the big picture and figure out what today's decisions mean for future generations, not just what it means for themselves.

And that is going to be the biggest difference between the Saskatchewan Party and the NDP. The Sask Party will be focusing on the now while the NDP will focus on what's to come. Frankly, I'd prefer a long term vision over a short sighted on. Granted, there is some bias here given that as a young man, I'll be around to see the future and today's decisions will impact my life later on...

But that said, I think we deserve a Saskatchewan that creates positive benefits for everyone, not just a select few. And that's a message that the NDP is running strongly with, not because it could collect votes, but because it's the truth.

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