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Two blogs for the post of one

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I haven't written here for a while as other things pulled my attention away from the blogosphere temporarily.

But to make up for it I present you with two blogs entries in a single post.

Wheat Board v Gerry Ritz, take 9,230


In the war of words between the Canadian Wheat Board and its adversaries, including the federal Conservative government, the board won a small victory this week.

In a press release issued Thursday, the Western Barley Growers Association delivered a mea culpa admitting it had been wrong on some facts when accusing the CWB of mishandling farmers’ money.
Of course they still want a third party to go in and check out the CWB’s books but they were forced to admit they had made a mistake, and to their credit, owned up to it and corrected the record publicly.
I can’t say as much for the Agriculture Minister however.
The CWB has been steamed ever since Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz tore a strip off the board in the House of Commons when tabling the board’s annual report. He accused them of taking undue risks with farmer’s money and demanded an explanation for losses.
The losses Ritz was talking about were due to a program that allows farmers to lock in at a certain price for their grain during the season. If the market prices go up or down later on, the board puts any money they make from higher prices into a contingency account, and draws from that account to cover losses to ensure farmers get paid.
Last year that contingency account lost $89.5 million because the prices farmers locked in at were higher than what the board ultimately sold the grain for.
The CWB has been trying to get a meeting with Ritz and/or parliamentary secretary David Anderson, since Ritz made his comments, in an attempt to sort out fact from fiction and discuss the situation.
But the minister – who in the house demanded an explanation – has not responded to their requests for a meeting. Ritz was even in Winnipeg yesterday for consultations with farmers on another matter. It would have been the perfect opportunity to sit down with the CWB and talk about things.
But according to a spokesman from the Department of Agriculture there was not a minute to spare.
"His office is still trying to find time in his schedule."
Seems Mr. Ritz is not really all that eager to hear the explanation he himself demanded.
V-I-S-A spells relief?
Jim "airline passenger crusader" Maloway has a new beef about an airline plan.
In the House of Commons today Maloway brought up the fact that Ryanair, an Irish airline, has asked Boeing to figure out a way to build a credit card swipe machine into bathroom doors so it can begin charging his passengers to use the loo.
Paying for the bathroom is not a new idea entirely. There are many places around the world where you have to pay to use a public bathroom. (I went into many a McDonald’s myself on international travels because their bathrooms are always free and generally clean).
Maloway wants assurances from the feds that they won’t let Ryanair do this on flights into or out of Canada.
While it seems a little cruel to require a fee for a pee from people who are stuck 30,000 feet in the air I’m a little skeptical about this being a burning issue that necessitates a question in the House of Commons.
Partly because on the grand scale of the world’s woes right now a pay-per-pee toilet isn’t really significant.
And partly because I just checked the Ryanair Website. They don’t fly to Canada.

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.


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