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Letters to the editor

BiPole III saga continues

It's June 27 and another BiPole III meeting. I understand we are all growing very tired of this topic, myself included, but this is too important for our province and especially in our area, to let it rest. BiPole III shouldn't have been an issue in the first place, had the current government not interfered with Manitoba Hydro's plans and force it to switch to the much longer westside route. That evening the Canadians Taxpayers Federation set up a question and answer period with leaders of the provincial government. It sounded as though the NDP government is the only one who believes in the west side route for BiPole III transmission line. The leader of the Liberal Party, Dr. Gerrard, stated his party would go neither east nor west, but under Lake Winnipeg. Apparently studies have been done showing this is now a possible option. It would be more expensive than the east side route, but it may be less affected by weather, and it wouldn't affect any nearby homes and farms, or potential NESCO World Heritage Sites for that matter. About 25 per cent of the line would be buried under water, he remaining 75 per cent would be above ground. Mr. Beddome of the Green Party went on record to say is party would opt for not building the BiPole III line at all. Use our natural resources such as wind and solar energy, hen we don't need Bipole III. It's available and it's clean. We need to keep our resources in Manitoba, not sell them o the States." By the way, anyone who can count knows the incredible rice tag attached to the potential west side route would rickle down to us, the consumers in Manitoba. "It would ot be accurate to suggest that the cost of the BiPole will be uilt into the price of the product being sold into the Amerian marketplace," are Hydro's own words. Mr. McFadyen of the Conservatives mentioned his party s in favour of the Eastern route. In short, the Conservatives uggests to continue with the plans set in motion decades go, to listen to the engineers who've studied the pros and ons for years, and have come up with the only acceptable oute, along the east side of Lake Winnipeg. To quote Mr. Tishinski, a retired vice-president of Manioba Hydro, "work on the east side Bipole III was interrupted round 2005 when the NDP stepped in and directed Hydro o change the route to the west side at an additional cost of 1 billion. Then they had to contrive all sort of spins, half ruths and misinformation to cover up the ill-conceived deision." As for Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers, who came on ehalf of the NDP government, I cannot tell you exactly what he said about the issue. All I know is that none of it ade sense, and no clear answers were given by him. I was ctually feeling rather sorry for him because he was not a opular guy in the room. It's becoming more and more clear to those of us who re following the BiPole debate closely that the U.S. is not bjecting to BiPole III being built on the east side of Manioba at all. There are those who don't want the U.S. to buy ydro from Manitoba (the coal market comes to mind) and re going through great lengths to stop this from happening. he whole environmental bit and talks about the potential NESCO site seem more like a cover-up than anything. I could go on and on, but there is a website that can tell you much more than I ever could. There is much informaion to be found on the Bipolecoalition.ca and definitely worth a visit. One of the quotes I found on the coalition's website speaks for itself. It's from a recent letter to the edior. "I feel that Manitoba Hydro has done an outstanding job ver the past and has the expertise to decide this question. I o not believe the provincial government has this expertise. et's leave the decision to the experts, not politicians." Another quote is from our coalition's president, and her concerns are shared by many. "As former Minister of Agriculture, she (Roseann Wowchuk) should also be aware of the disruption that the NDP government's route choice for Bipole III will bring to the lives and operations of farmers in some of the most fertile soils in Manitoba and in one of the most favourable agro-climatic regions of Western Canada." Am I biased when it comes to Bipole III and where it will end up? You bet! It's supposed to be built only 200 meters to the north of where I live. But even it this weren't the case, I have learned enough to know that the west side route would not be in the best interest of Manitobans, not by any stretch of the imagination, and it would be disastrous for the already struggling agricultural sector. I have to think of the words spoken in the movie 'Robin Hood.' "A knight defending his home is more powerful than 10 hired soldiers." We are indeed defending our homes and livelihoods. Please visit the coalition website, and be able to make an informed decision on this important matter. Monique Graafland, Elm Creek

Five wheat boards later

Over the past 100 years we have had five different models of the Canadian Wheat Board operating in western Canada. The first and second versions were government mandated and run. The third version was a voluntary farmer-run co-operative which failed and at the time it was the largest bankruptcy in Canadian history. The fourth was a voluntary government mandated version which also failed costing taxpayers hundreds of million of dollars. The fifth model is the orderly marketer of today that has provided extra money and stability to farmers since 1943 - with a change in the control structure that put farmers squarely in control in 1998. Those changes 13 years ago also guaranteed western farmers they would have a vote on significant changes to the CWB - especially the kind of destructive changes that the Harper government is now proposing. It is clear that the Conservative government has been holding out a false promise to farmers, the promise of the "dual market," and they have no analysis or plan to put before farmers in the 100 days leading up to the introduction of Thursday, July 14, 2011 * The Valley Leader 7 The Valley Leader welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must be signed, and the writer's name will be printed. Submissions must include the writer's address and phone number for confirmation. All letters subject to editing. Send letters to: The Valley Leader, Box 70, Carman, MB R0G 0J0 or e-mail gstill@bowesnet.com. legislation that will kill the world's largest and most successful marketer of wheat and barley. Rather than name-calling and making other derogatory remarks, perhaps Gerry Ritz should be defining what he means by the terms "strong and viable". It is astounding that after six years of daydreaming in government about a voluntary Wheat Board the minister continues to rely on empty rhetoric. After six years why can't they answer the simplest questions about the negative effects their changes will have on farmers' pocket books? The only position that the government pretends to be certain about is their desire not to hold a farmer vote on the subject. In fact, the Conservatives say they are prepared to repeal the CWB Act - winding up the CWB organization - simply to avoid Section 47.1 and the farmer vote. Without a vote, and with the only effective version of the CWB killed in Parliament, farmers will be left with something akin to "Fast Gerry's Discount Grain Company" with the large grain merchants cherry-picking the better markets and making price pooling impossible. Demand a clear, detailed explanation of how a weakened Wheat Board is supposed to survive when all similar Board's have perished. And demand a vote-the vote that is guaranteed to farmers under Canadian law. Stewart Wells, Swift Current

Shame, shame Mr. Ritz

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says farmers want choice in the marketing of export wheat and barley. I say that farmers want power - bargaining power and choice will not deliver that power to them. Indeed choice is not an asset but a liability to farmers. Choice allows farmers to go their separate ways in making marketing moves. It only makes sense. If you are selling, you want all the competition to be on the buying side of the equation. The CWB assures farmers of that. Introducing choice on the selling side of the equation will be disastrous for farmers. It will cause the farmers to bargain from the position of weakness. Mr. Ritz will have achieved his objective. Stripped of the wheat board, farmers will now be bargaining, if at all, from position of weakness. Shame on Mr. Ritz. Peter Galawan, Virden

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