I must say I am not directly part of the cattle industry, nor do I reside from (sic) Ponoka anymore, but after reading the editorial written by Mustafa Eric on the checkoff program I felt I owed it to capitalism and freedom to respond. If there had been no name attached to this editorial, my best guess would have been that Karl Marx himself had written it.
Whether or not the ABP does a good job a serving its customers is beyond the point. Though from what I have heard from successful operators in the industry, and the fact that these checkoffs are mandatory, and not voluntarily (sic), makes it extremely doubtful that they do create value. But the most troubling part about the checkoff program and the editorial is the philosophy behind it. By sewing that these check offs must be mandatory is insinuating that beef producers are too stupid to figure out ways to market their commodity when left to their own devices; that free markets aren’t efficient and that a big powerful centralized government is needed to make business function “properly”.
This mindset is 100 per cent wrong; free markets do work. History cannot be any clearer. They have created unimaginable wealth, lifted millions from crippling poverty, lead to life changing innovation and have nearly tripled the average life span of humans since free market capitalism first came around as economic system at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The cure to Canadas (sic) and Alberta current economic slump is in fact more freedom and capitalism not the non-sense proposed by the editorial in question. If you still have any doubts on the success of capitalism just ask the citizens of Venezuela how a government controlled economy is working out for them.
If the Alberta Beef Producers feel like there is a need to market the beef industry in Alberta better they should come up with a business plan and make the pitch to their check off customers like any other trader in the free market place would who thought they could provide value for value. A trader who has confidence in their abilities would not be lobbying government cronies to acquire their customers by coercive force like the ABP is doing. Because of this the ABP has made it clear they do not have confidence in their abilities.
As for last paragraph of the editorial listing the so called “mandate” of the newly sworn in Ag Minister, and quotes such as “free trade is anything but free” by the editor, should make the stomach churn of anyone who values freedom as these kind of programs and the ideology behind them will lead us down the road to serfdom.
I am well aware that with the recent elections of the far left NDP provincially, and the ever further moving left Liberals federally, that socialism is currently the fashionable thing. But being fashionable does not make it right or moral.