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Friday, August 22, 2008

Corporate Welfare Alert #2 – Feeling blue over blueberry subsidies

This week, the Conservative government announced $185,000 in funding to the B.C. Blueberry Council to “help ensure a profitable future for British Columbia's blueberry growers.”

The announcement was made by Nina Grewal, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood-Port Kells on behalf of Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. The funding will come through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) program.

"Canadian blueberries are enjoyed around the world thanks to the hard work and expertise of our growers," said MP Grewal. "The Government of Canada is committed to the long-term viability of the blueberry industry and is working with farmers to find innovative and sustainable initiatives."

According to Will Van Baalen, Executive Director of the B.C. Blueberry Council, "without this support, many of our research projects and other initiatives would go undone."

So without $185,000 in taxpayer money, important research in blueberry growing would not get done. Hmm. That doesn’t sound right.

There are 450 blueberry growing families in BC. If each family came up with $411, they could replace the loan coming from taxpayers. Is that an impossible amount of money for blueberry farm families to come up with in order to “ensure a profitable future” for their industry? I don’t think so.

I did a quick Google search to get an idea for the value of a blueberry farm. I called the owner of the first property I saw listed, a 70-acre blueberry farm near Langley. It is for sale for $7.7 million.

So is it unfair to ask land-rich blueberry farmers with an industry association in place to finance research and business development that will “ensure a profitable future”? Surely that’s a better solution than making the profits of 450 blueberry farms the responsibility of every taxpayer.

Of course, the latter approach will do little to keep Nina Grewal in office, but maybe that's a good thing for taxpayers.

UPDATE: I got a call tonight from Will Van Baalen, Executive Director of the B.C. Blueberry Council, in response to my question about their membership numbers. The Council has 625 members, which means it would take only $296 per member to replace the $185,000 loan from the federal government.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on August 22, 2008 in Corporate Welfare Alert | Permalink

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Comments

Hey, can you blame them when the federal government maintains an open invitation of giving out pork to all. I do wonder why it is that most Canadians, as least it appears that way, cannot grasp that the government does NOT produce or generate money. When it doles it out to every Tom, Dick and Harry, it is doling out OUR money. Considering that the people whose money it is have never given government such a mandate, makes this theft - yes, were it one of us doing the same, we would serve time.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-08-22 8:53:42 PM


I do wonder why it is that most Canadians, as least it appears that way, cannot grasp that the government does NOT produce or generate money.
Posted by: Alain | 22-Aug-08 8:53:42 PM

And you would be one of them. As long as the government controls the printing presses they can generate as much money as they want. Now there are serious consequences to doing that but it can easily be done. There is also seigniorage which generates the government money between the face value and the cost of producing it, and they make more as the rate of inflation goes up. So the government can easily produce or generate money.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-22 9:43:48 PM


Subsidies kind of work like this:


I bought a bird feeder. I hung it on my back porch and filled it with seed. Within a week we had hundreds of birds taking advantage of the continuous flow of free and easily accessible food. But then the birds started building nests in the boards of the patio, above the table, and next to the barbecue.

Then came the poop. It was everywhere: on the patio tile, the chairs, the table...everywhere. Then some of the birds turned mean: They would dive bomb me and try to peck me even though I had fed them out of my own pocket. And others birds were boisterous and loud: They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed at all hours of the day and night and demanded that I fill it when it got low on food. After a while, I couldn't even sit on my own back porch anymore. I took down the bird feeder and in three days the birds were gone. I cleaned up their mess and took down the many nests they had built all over the patio. And left them to fend for themselves, which they quickly learned how to do.

And remember, what the government provides is this:

A product no one would actually buy, from people that don't care about quality, at a price no one would be willing to pay.

Don't forget to pay "your" taxes. :)

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-23 9:59:04 AM


"So the government can easily produce or generate money."

But it isn't actually "money". Its paper and digits with no real inherent value.

"Government is the only agency which can take a useful commodity like paper...slap ink on it and make it totally worthless."

Ludwig Von Mises

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-23 10:02:47 AM


"So the government can easily produce or generate money."
But it isn't actually "money". Its paper and digits with no real inherent value.
Posted by: JC | 23-Aug-08 10:02:47 AM

Can the paper with numbers on it that's in your wallet buy anything? If it can it has value.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-23 2:51:27 PM


Can the paper with numbers on it that's in your wallet buy anything? If it can it has value.
Posted by: The Stig | 23-Aug-08 2:51:27 PM

Give me a break...
Unlike "Real" money it can be devalued and it can crash. Can I plan my retirement with it? No! It won't be worth the "paper" its printed on by then. The "paper" in your wallet is redeemable for cheap crap Made in China and that's about it. And the only reason it passes for money is because were all stupid enough to think that it actually is...we were told so by the same people who "control" its value. What a crock!

"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."
Henry Ford

And he's right!

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-23 6:45:30 PM


Give me a break...
Unlike "Real" money it can be devalued and it can crash.
Posted by: JC | 23-Aug-08 6:45:30 PM

Could you give me an example of "real money". Maybe stocks,real estate, oil futures or gold? Do they ever go down in value?

The "paper" in your wallet is redeemable for cheap crap Made in China and that's about it.
Posted by: JC | 23-Aug-08 6:45:30 PM

I'll have to check some $20 notes I have and see if it says they are only good for stuff made in China. I bought a Rotel RSP-1069 today that was made in the UK. Maybe the store made a mistake and shouldn't have accepted my money but gold bullion instead.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-23 8:13:26 PM


So it works today. I'm not counting on it to keep working though.
I notice you avoid the issues of inflation and bank control....Naturally. Because that's real and you simply can't defend it. No one can.

And are you completely ignorant of history?
Look at Germany in the 30's, the Weimar specifically. Look at ancient Rome...its fall was hastened by the debasement of its currency.

And the same thing can happen with our dollar on any given day. Believing in our present Bank system is a crap shoot at best. It has NO BACKING! NONE!

Its just too simple a concept not to understand it.

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-23 8:47:44 PM


So it works today. I'm not counting on it to keep working though.
I notice you avoid the issues of inflation and bank control...
Posted by: JC | 23-Aug-08 8:47:44 PM

I said initially that the government can create serious economic problems if they use the printing press without any control.

You still haven't explained what "real" money is. Please give me an example.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-23 8:58:33 PM



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