Monthly Archives: November 2011

Supply Management’s Letter to Santa

With all the items in the news about the status of supply management in Canada, I’m sure there are many poultry, egg and dairy participants who are hoping that Santa might have something in his bag of gifts to save their protected agricultural system.  Here’s an example of what one of those letters might look like:

 

Dear Santa,

My name is Carolynne and I want to tell you how much I believe in you.  I also want to tell you that I should definitely be on your ‘Nice’ list this year.  I have defended my friend, Harry and supported him even though it might have been smarter not to defend him, resulting in an improved egg producer’s position by not defending him.  Now there might be others who would put me on the ‘Naughty’ list this year.  Please don’t listen to them.  They’re the same folks that are telling the judges that I have been playing a little too much with two of my other friends, Bill and Joe.

I have a couple of questions for you too.  Can you spare some of the magic flying powder that you use on the reindeer?  I sure could use some so that I can fly away from the pending lawsuit that hovers over the EFO.  In the meantime, maybe I’ll simply announce that I won’t stand for election to next year’s Board of Directors.

Second, what do you do with the reject toys that the elves make?  I’m looking for a spot to get rid of a bunch of cracked eggs.  I’ve heard that my friend Bill gets rid of his cracked eggs by mixing them in with the Grade A eggs but some people seem to frown on that practice.  If you can’t suggest a better location, I’ll check with my friends at Farm Products Marketing Commission.  It may take them a year or two to answer my request, but I won’t give up.  I’m sure they won’t ignore me like they have other folks that have asked for their help and direction.

I’ll be sure to leave some eggnog out for you on Christmas Eve.  On second thought, I better come up with an alternative as the milk and eggs in eggnog are extremely expensive here in Canada, thanks to supply management.  Maybe next year, the prices for these will be less and I’ll feel that I’m better able to share them in your Christmas Eve snack.  Thanks for all your help Santa.

One of the faithful believers,

Carolynne

 

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‘As the Egg Cracks’, starring Egg Farmers of Ontario

As I continue to follow the egg industry soap opera, better known as ‘As the Egg Cracks’, the Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) claimed in their earlier statement of defense that they did not threaten egg producers with the cancellation of their egg quota – at least in the letters that they received.  However, I was in attendance at a zone and an annual EFO meeting where the General Manager, Harry Pelissero stated that the EFO Board of Directors can do whatever they want with the quota – they can reduce it, increase it, cancel it – essentially whatever they want.  (Don’t believe me?  Well, check the minutes.  Oh, scratch that – there are no minutes to reflect this, is there Mr. Pelissero?)  The egg producer is paying a premium for the privilege of ‘using’ the quota, as long as the EFO deems the egg producer is worthy of the privilege.

As I felt that my ‘worthiness’ was running out and it came time for me to sell my quota, I was told by EFO to empty my barn prior to the EFO approving the quota sale.  Now think about that for a minute.  What would have happened if I emptied my barn and then EFO didn’t approve the sale?  They didn’t have to approve the sale but yet they directed me to empty my barn without any guarantee that they would approve the sale.  Now I know that I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but hello!  Who in their right mind would empty their barn prior to having the sale transaction approved?  Talk about being up a creek without a paddle!  Mr. Pelissero made it very clear with his threatening language that EFO could do whatever they wanted to do with my quota – whenever they wanted to do it.  As a result, I did not empty my barn until I had approval from EFO – in writing – that they would approve the transaction once the barn was empty.    Of course this story ends with EFO approving my quota sale.  Heck, they probably set off fireworks and popped the cork on some champagne to have a ‘disturber’ like me out of their industry!  Believe me, I’m not offended.  I’m hoping to set off some fireworks of my own as this saga continues.

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To Be a Fly on the Wall at EFO….

How I wish I could be a fly on the wall at L.H. Gray and Son Limited, Burnbrae Farms Limited, the EFO (Egg Farmers of Ontario) offices or even at Carolynne Griffith’s (Chairperson of the EFO Board of Directors) kitchen!  I would imagine that the news of the combination of the lawsuits in which they’re involved was quite a shock, but definitely not a Halloween prank.  The written decision is definitely a ‘legal’ read but I did find a couple of things quite interesting.

–         The first item – The EFO lawyer, Mr. Spurr stated that the lawsuits were not connected at all and should not be combined – and is “a figment of the plaintiff’s (Sweda Farms) imagination”.   The judge responds with, “In my view, these allegations (made by Sweda Farms), are sufficient to draw the connection between the two actions.  They are not obviously false or implausible.”  ‘Hallelujah’ to that conclusion.  Now who’s having imagination problems?

–        And secondly, the judge awarded costs to the plaintiff (Sweda Farms) which means that egg producer levy monies are being used to pay for even higher EFO legal costs.  ‘Ouch’ to that conclusion.  EFO should have gotten out while the gettin’ was good.

In light of this decision, is there anyone other than me, thinking how foolish the EFO looks for not accepting the opportunity of getting out of this legal action altogether?  Those current court costs and legal costs are merely a drop in the bucket compared to what even a partial win for Sweda farms might be.  Have the egg producers been given the opportunity to decide on withdrawing from the action?  Were they given adequate information to make a decision?  Maybe the information was included in the minutes of the EFO meetings?  Not gonna happen folks!  EFO doesn’t provide minutes to their egg producers.  This lack of information could end up protecting the rear ends of the un-informed producers in the future.  Has the time come for the egg producers to unite and hold the EFO Board of Directors accountable for staying in this legal turmoil?   I think it’s way past time!

Soon the decision for the admissibility of all the whistleblower documents will be determined.  I can hardly wait!   Stay tuned for that decision.  In the meantime, I guess I can expect the price of eggs to go up, eh?  Gotta love supply management and the corruption that it can create.

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