May 24th, 2007

Bruce, Caroline

Manitobans are Happy?

On a local radio station, there is a daily commentary giving Winnipeg- and Manitoba-centered opinions.  After the provincial election of last Tuesday, in
which the New Democratic Party was re-elected with a third straight majority, the commentator suggested that this indicates that Manitobans are happy with
the way things are in this province.  Below is my response to this commentator, with names removed.

You said yesterday (Wednesday) that this election has shown that Manitobans are happy with the status quo.  I would like to submit to you that this is not
at all true.  Urban Manitoba is happy.  In rural Manitoba, at least in many parts of it, there is increasing anger among those who feel they are increasingly
at the mercy of urban Manitoba.  They feel that the residents of urban Manitoba, many of whom view farms as a fun place to go on a field trip, haven't
a clue about the needs that farmers have if they are to stay in business, just as long as their hamburgers, bacon, eggs, milk, and bread are readily available. 
Has your station been of particular help?  Not really.  A prominent freelance farm journalist gets his occasional five-minute stint, sure, but contrast
it with the weekly show which CJOB used to run, which was meant to be "all about animals", but which was in actuality basically a weekly one-hour chance
for its host to lash out against the hog industry and those evil, wretched, subhuman people like my family members who dared to raise hogs.

I've been on both sides.  I grew up on a farm and migrated to the city.  As a blind person, the farm had little to offer me by way of employment.  But I
saw enough while I was there. I was there in 1988, when a drought wiped out 99% of the crop, and grasshoppers took the rest; when there was nothing for
my dad, uncles, and brothers to do but go into town for coffee to discuss their next move and listen to the townspeople talking about those lazy farmers
and how they had nothing better to do than go for coffee.  I've lived in the city when, during my coffee break, there was a major bitchfest (pardon the
language) over rich farmers whining all summer and going to Florida for the winter; I don't recall my family ever going to Florida for the winter, and
there's a difference between laying out the facts and whining.  I've been there to witness the results of constraining laws set forth by people who've
never set foot outside the perimeter, except to visit another perimeter.

Am I objective?  No, I'm not.  Unless I see gross indecency on the part of the farmers, my place will always be beside those people who made it possible
for me to be where I am.  Somebody within the perimeter has to.

Is Manitoba happy with the status quo?  Well, I suppose that subsection of the province with the clout to make the decisions is.  As long as the bread,
the milk, the eggs and the meat are readily available, why should a pro-labor group of voters care about the farmers?  After all, they're just the help.

Well, anyway, those are one guy's thoughts.
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