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US farm bill is about politics

Dear Editor,
All things being equal, the free market system can take care of itself and direct government interference only prolongs the death of an inefficient organization. However, it is a government’s role to foster an environment where all things can be equal. Canadian farmers need a Federal government fighting for the creation of a fair marketplace in which the US honours its Free Trade commitments.
Canadian farmers are not at risk because of competition from more progressive or efficient producers but rather from the lack of support from successive Canadian governments which have resulted in: a devalued dollar increasing the costs of capital equipment, fertilizers and fuel; the restrictions of outdated commodity commissions; the shackles of suffocating inter provincial trade barriers; and acceptance of unfair US subsidies and the dumping of foreign produce in Canada.
Farmers need Federal government leadership in creating a Canadian agricultural trade system which provides distribution and access to Canadian produce. Canada must be a place where PEI potatoes are more available in Calgary that Idaho potatoes and BC apples a better value in Toronto than Japanese apples.
The US Farm Bill is not about trade as much as it is about politics. President Bush is facing strong lobby pressure (similar to pressure he faces from lumber producers and the Energy lobby) to reward those groups who funded his election campaign. The US Farm Bill motivation is helping to elect Republican congressmen from the US Midwest.
We have the tools to combat the US move. Canadian farming is competitive on an even playing field. What we need is a government with the vision and courage to pick those tools up and even it out.

Mike Reilly
St. Boniface, MB.