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Managing weeds

Re: The weed killer that killed our crop (Nov. 14). Last year, our weed district advertised its intent to amend its provincial licence to include Tordon (picloram) in its weed-control program. I objected on many of the grounds outlined by David Neufeld and Magdalene Andres in their Nov. 14 column, The weed killer that killed our crop.

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Rather than ban the use of Tordon, the province advised that the district hadn't applied to amend its licence, so it was a non-issue.

Each year we receive an exemption from the province so that ditches adjacent to our sandy land are not sprayed. Ditches are municipal property. Weed control is their responsibility.

Because we don't want harmful chemicals applied near our vulnerable wells, crops, animals and home, we agreed in the 1990s to a progressive municipal councillor's request to purchase portable electric fencing so our sheep could graze leafy spurge and other weeds in these ditches.

This alternative weed-control worked so well that then-deputy premier Jean Friesen toured our area.

Sheep graze the entire ditch while the weed district sprays only half of it to avoid crop damage liability, worsening the problem. Diversity of native plants is maintained through proper grazing management.

Several years ago, someone illegally sprayed the ditch. We would not let our sheep, which are raised for human food, eat the contaminated spurge for several years. It flourished.

Local officials are trying to stop grazing and force chemical use. Neufeld and Andres are rightly concerned and correct in wanting all parties to work together to implement alternatives to dangerous, expensive and often unnecessary chemical control.



Opposed to hammering

In his Nov. 12 letter, A little too easy, Lansing Bruce Robertson has written with respect to my Oct. 27 letter, Addressing anti-Semitism, that there have been suggestions that "people should not criticize the policies of the state of Israel without first criticizing the policies of other nations that also commit human-rights violations."

I made no such suggestion. In fact, I challenged the argument that one must examine the policies and conduct of other nations at the same time as Israel or before. I attempted to demonstrate that the UN Human Rights Council's obsession with Israel is illustrative of anti-Semitism. This anti-Israel animus detracts attention from atrocities committed elsewhere, including in council member countries.

I oppose the unrelenting hammering of Israel when countries such as Venezuela are nominated to the council unopposed and when Sudan is elected to the Economic and Social Council, a top UN body that regulates-human rights groups, oversees UN committees on women's rights, and crafts resolutions from Internet freedom to female genital mutilation.

Justifying punishing Israel because it is a country that cares, rather than going after countries with the same voraciousness because they "couldn't care less about international opinion," is what impresses me as more than "a little too easy."



Waiting for the abyss

Re: Waiting for the best (Letters, Nov. 13). Don Hermiston is four years too late with his fantasy prediction. In 2008, fear-mongering Republicans warned Americans an Obama presidency would spell doom for America, plunging it into a socialist vortex. It didn't happen and it won't happen.

But a small part of me wanted Obama to lose, as long as the Democrats also lost the Senate. This way, a fully Republican-controlled government could implement its tax cuts for the wealthy, government deregulation and austerity measures, which would assuredly drive America's economy into the abyss. This is what Ireland did, resulting in its 14.8 per cent unemployment rate.

Then, I would imagine, the electorate would purge the democratic cancer that is the Republican party, from America's political landscape. As they say, sometimes a drug addict has to hit rock bottom, to realize the pathetic state he is in, before the healing can start.




The U.S. Treasury Department has released the year-end projections for the 2012 federal deficit. It is expected to be $1.1 trillion. That is the fourth-highest deficit in U.S. history.

The third-highest ($1.3 trillion) was under Obama in 2010, second-highest ($1.3 trillion) was under Obama in 2011, and the highest deficit was recorded under Obama in 2009 at $1.4 trillion.

Obama lays claim to the four largest deficits in U.S. history. It took the U.S. 200 years to rack up their first trillion dollars in debt, but Obama is now doing that every nine months. And he does this without ever having submitted a budget, as required by law.

Even George W. Bush, after 9/11 and funding two wars, didn't come close. And there is no end in sight. Deficits are projected to be even higher as he increases entitlement spending. Add up all the wealth of the billionaires in the U.S. -- not just the taxes Obama wants from them, but their net worth -- and Obama would blow through that in months.

It's almost as if he is trying to bankrupt the country. Massive, painful cuts are coming to the U.S.; it is only a matter of time. But America voted to keep going forward, burdening future generations with unfathomable debt.



Subsidizing corporations

In his Nov. 10 story Supply management for livestock to end?, Murray McNeill reports on the problems corporations have with importing and exporting of dairy and poultry because of our supply management system.

McNeill claims producers will have a number of years to adjust, like the blindsiding of the Canadian Wheat Board. With the CWB out of the way, corporations are being subsidized by the taxpayer to ship through the port of Churchill. Churchill will have to adjust, as well as the taxpayer.

He claims the cost of goods would go down as a result. I don't think this saving will affect the bottom line of the corporation but will greatly affect the producer. I would like to see an article as to why these boards were created with the same-one sided opinion and also why our food is so important to the Asian trade agreement.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 19, 2012 A12

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