For the last six months, I’ve been focusing my attention on the turmoil that is bubbling in the egg industry. Anyone that follows the blog knows that I am passionate about this issue – passionate enough that I’m confused by the fact that the average consumer doesn’t get fired up about this issue. So while dazed and confused, I decided to conduct my own informal ‘survey’ of the average consumer. During a recent trip to Saskatchewan and Alberta, I polled about 30 people – in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta – asking about their knowledge of supply management, awareness of egg prices, and profits made by egg producers. Guess what I discovered. None – not one – of these thirty people understood supply management. They all knew what egg prices are – and 22 out of 30 thought that the egg price was too high. And when they found out the profit that is earned by producers, they were stunned – and they were fired up – FINALLY! Imagine if I had told them about the alleged antics of one or more of the Ontario grading stations?
I realize that my ‘survey’ was far from scientific but even as simple as it was, it demonstrated that the average consumer doesn’t understand supply management – and if they did, they wouldn’t tolerate what’s currently happening in that industry. So when Harry Pelissero, the General Manager of the Egg Farmers of Ontario instructs the Ontario Egg Farmers that they need to tell their ‘story’ to the average consumer, they really are telling a ‘story’ and not giving all the true facts of the egg industry. More aptly stated, the Egg Farmers of Ontario aren’t being transparent. Wonder where they learned that? And who lets it continue? CFIA? Ontario Farm Products? Egg Producers? Consumers? Politicians? Maybe it’s a combination but better keep going with the brainwashing or the end to the Wheat Board may only be the beginning.
A few weeks ago, I had a small fender-bender while in a New York City parking garage. My big ol’ farm truck wasn’t damaged but there was some damage done to a rather new-looking car with New York license plates. The incident occurred during the pre-workday hours and so there weren’t many people around to witness the incident. When the collision occurred, I didn’t really know what to do. There were no parking garage employees to report the incident to and it was suggested by a passenger of mine to just leave. That option did not enter my mind prior to the verbal suggestion. I knew I was responsible for the incident – I just didn’t know how to make contact with the owner of the rather new-looking New York car. So I left a note – a note that included an apology for the incident, my name, address and home phone number (no cell phone for ancient me!). And I waited. Unfortunately we had a postal strike in Ontario and therefore contact was delayed, taking nearly a month. Turns out that the car was a rental car and the contact was made by the rental car company, rather than the driver of the car. Through normal processes, the repairs were covered and all parties were satisfied. Shortly afterwards, I received a lovely thank-you card from the New York driver of the car. He wanted to thank me for being responsible. Has our society come to that? Don’t get me wrong – I certainly appreciated the thoughtfulness of the New Yorker – especially from a New Yorker! But I don’t think that I, or anyone else, should be thanked for being responsible. It should be a natural and automatic action.
So let’s apply this situation to the current legal battles in the egg industry. The Whistleblower, Norman Bourdreau, alleges that L.H. Gray and Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) representatives did some ‘things’ wrong. Some of these allegations trickle down to jeopardizing the health welfare of egg consumers and unfairly affecting egg prices. This is big stuff – not just a little fender-bender! The responsible party needs to pay up – and clean up. The system needs to be corrected so this ‘accident’ is less likely to occur. Hopefully the sealing of the documents by the presiding judge will not alleviate responsibility. As a sidebar – I don’t understand the sealing – consumers should know that this alleged activity is occurring. But what do I know – I’m just a retired egg farmer. I don’t imagine that anyone will be sending any thank-you notes anytime soon. And a ‘You’re Welcome’ is a long way off too!