Op-Ed: Canadian Wheat Board ad causes controversy

Posted Feb 1, 2013 by Karl Gotthardt
An ad used by the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) to entice farmers to opt for the board to market their grain, has been the subject of controversy. The ad depicts a young woman in a skirt straddling a fence posing the question "Still on the fence?"
A wheat field in Russia
A wheat field in Russia
According to the CWB the ad was to encourage farmers to choose marketing their grain through the board. The National Farmers Union (NFU), normally a supporter of the board is wondering what an image of a young woman with long legs, straddling a fence, has to do with marketing hay.
Joan Brady, head of the woman's branch of the NFU says:
"To me, I really didn't appreciate first of all, the image that it gave to rural women or women on the farm. Secondly ... if I was involved in a western wheat farm, I would be helping to make that decision to purchase contracts with the Canadian Board and that would turn me off pretty much very quickly because it dismissed me as a farm operator."
Brady says that the ad actually dismisses women who actually run farms and make marketing decision for their grain. Many western women are either full or part owners of grain farms.
The Wheat board, in turn says that the ad was meant to be edgy and provocative and intends to continue running the ad. The board believes that the ad will draw attention.
Several prairie farmers were jailed for marketing their own hay to the US without using the CWB. Farmers for Justice celebrated when Prime Minister Stephen Harper's conservative government put an end to the wheat board monopoly.
This December has marked 16 years when Andy McMechan got out of a Brandon, Manitoba jail after 155 days when he went in the summer. December also marks the 10 year anniversary for the last of the Alberta Farmers For Justice farmers to get out of the Lethbridge, Alberta jail when they went in on October 31st.
What were these farmers in prison for?? They moved and sold their OWN grain from their own farms to the USA instead for taking their own grain
to the CWB Monopoly which was the only option any WESTERN Canadian farmer had.
The new law gives farmers the option to market their hay either through the wheat board or privately. Farmers are still very much divided on the use of the wheat board.
According to Yahoo News public to the ad was mixed. In a CBC poll more than 40 per cent thought it was silly, but harmless, while a third love it and 18 per cent found it offensive.
How you view the ad depends on your point of view. While the ad may be depicted as silly, it certainly seems to have no place in today's society. From a woman's point of view it must be deja vous of days gone by. An ad depicting the advantages of marketing through the wheat board, with pros and cons, would have been more appropriate.