Fast Facts – Grain, Trains and Autocrats: farmers pay the price of dismantling the Wheat Board

By Dean Harder

Canadian_Wheat_Board_hopper_car

Photo: Robert Taylor, Wikimedia.org

A banner 2013 crop year and some rail delays due to cold weather doesn’t account for all our grain transportation woes. Coordination of rail to ships is out of synch: a study by Quorum Corporation found that rail shipments to the West Coast are down 2 per cent from last year, but there are excess ships waiting in port. In the east, grain shipments were down 20 per cent at Thunder Bay as of March with some ships turning away empty.

There is a direct correlation between the loss of the farmer-elected Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) and the current rail transportation boondoggle which will cost prairie farmers over $5 billion in sales. Continue reading

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Filed under Canadian Wheat Board, farming, Fast Facts, food security, transportation

Provincial Record on Housing a Welcome Achievement

By Josh Brandon

The Provincial government has released an impressive record of its commitment to build affordable housing across Manitoba. Housing and Community Development Minister Peter Bjornson announced the fulfillment of the Manitoba NDP’s 2009 promise to complete 1,500 units of affordable housing at the opening of a new housing project for people with mental health challenges in Winnipeg last Thursday. Continue reading

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Filed under housing, Manitoba

Temporary Foreign Workers: How federal settlement policies overlook some newcomers

By Zoё St-Aubin and Jill Bucklaschuk

Manitoba has embarked on aggressive immigration strategies to attract newcomers to settle in a variety of communities in the province with the purpose of meeting local labour force demands. In response to these trends, it is necessary to have appropriate and effective support systems to assist in the long-term settlement and integration of the increasing number of newcomers. Prior to the federal government’s changes to the delivery model of settlement services in 2012, these services were a provincial responsibility in Manitoba, Quebec, and British Columbia. As a result of federal and provincial agreements, the settlement service framework gave these provinces considerable discretion over how services were implemented, funded, and delivered, with the purposes of addressing region-specific needs. There was an acknowledgement that individual regions had unique settlement needs and that service delivery should be tailored rather than implemented in one-size-fits-all fashion. However this has all changed. Continue reading

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Filed under Employment, immigration, labour market, newcomers

Lawn pesticide ban needed for cancer prevention

By Gideon Forman

Cape photo webThere’s a simple measure Manitobans can take to reduce their risk of cancer: urge the province to ban lawn and garden pesticides this spring.

Research shows that many cancers are preventable. CancerCare has just launched an excellent campaign to help Manitobans reduce their cancer risks. The group’s recommendations – which include avoiding tobacco, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and doing regular exercise – will go a long way toward prevention of this awful disease. A lawn pesticide ban should be added to the list. Continue reading

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Grain shipping is for the bears: oil by rail to Churchill not worth the risk

By Eric Reder

polar-bear

Photo: Ryan Brook

For visitors from around the world, the opportunity to see polar bears and beluga whales in the subarctic splendor of Churchill is a major attraction. This window to the tundra world is a source of pride for Manitobans. It also might be a solution for the shipping woes of prairie farmers.

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Filed under climate change, environment, Manitoba, transportation, Uncategorized

Broadening the scope of the debate on the Ukrainian crisis

By Dr. Ray Silvius

During an announcement that Manitoba would provide $25,000 of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the form of first aid and medical supplies, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger stated “Manitobans stand in solidarity with our friends in Ukraine against the violence of this past week…We want the institutions of democracy and human rights to be respected in Ukraine and around the world” (“Province gives to Ukraine; Winnipeggers mourn dead” Winnipeg Sun, Feb 23). Continue reading

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Filed under economic well-being, economy, neoliberalism

Cold winter a sign of climate change

By Curt Hull

Some winter we’re having, eh? This winter has been cold, no doubt about it. It is probably the coldest we’ve seen in North America since some time in the 1990s.

So, does this mean that global warming isn’t happening? To really understand what’s going on, we need to look at this winter in context and look at some of the mechanisms that have brought the cold. Continue reading

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Filed under climate change, environment