Grain Trade Should Be Based on Mutual Benefit and Development
– Dougal MacDonald –
Canadian canola farmers are suffering severe hardship because they are currently unable to sell their grain to China following China’s March decision to ban shipments. China claimed Canada’s canola was infected by pests. China was Canada’s biggest market in 2018, buying more than $4 billion worth of product and in August 2018, before the ban, experts were predicting record shipments in 2019. Forty-three thousand farmers grow canola, mostly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Evidence suggests that China’s canola ban is mainly retaliation for Canadian authorities’ arrest of communication giant Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on the orders of the U.S. The Canadian government says that the U.S. extradition treaty with Canada legally obligated Canada to detain Meng when ordered by the U.S. China calls the arrest a “mistake.”
U.S. authorities allege Meng used a Huawei subsidiary to do business in Iran in violation of illegal U.S. sanctions. However, the real underlying reason for her arrest lies in the continuing attempts by the US to dominate the global telecommunications industry at the expense of its main rival, China.
Clearly the canola farmers are caught in a complex web of many events, none of which they have any control over. Supra-national cartels dominate the economy and Canada continues to kowtow to the U.S. on the political front. Meanwhile, farmers and other working people in Canada who want international trade for mutual benefit and development, lack control of their workplaces, the broader economy, and political decision-making.
The lack of control means the farmers and workers cannot promote the necessity for Canada to first have a diverse and self-reliant internal economy. Then, from a sovereign base under their control, they can find peoples abroad who are willing to trade following modern principles of mutual benefit and development, free of destructive trade wars and real wars requiring a war economy.
Dr. Dougal MacDonald is the MLPC Candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona.