|From a occasional contributor...
(My comments will be in blue italics from here on down)
Don't you just love those summer, holiday colds. I hope you keep
that honey and toast thing going till you beat this thing!. I'm sure
you have received this by now. This is so embarrassingly weak, I don't
know why someone would spread this all over the industry.
This (comments identifying the writers omitted here) will surely
precipitate rolling of eyes and gnashing of teeth across the industry.
This may be as strong a response as is possible, given the untenable
status of the import prohibition. The sad part of this whole scenario
is that there is an important role for CHC to play, positions like
this seriously undermine its credibility.
Be gentle Allen, be very gentle.
Don't worry, I'll be gentle. Now, just
bite down on this bullet...
This email was attached. I've
interspaced my comments (in blue)...
---- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 21, 2003 8:11 AM
Subject: Fwd: RE: Rebuttal?
> Allen Dick has made comments on his website
CHC and CAPA. (We) don't want to get into an endless argument with him
but (name withheld) has written a very good reply below. Thought you
might be interested in seeing his response.
Hmmm. Why 'argue'? What ever
happened to 'discuss' and 'consider'?
> >Subject: RE: Rebuttal?
> >Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 00:02:52 -0500
> >Importance: Normal
> >The argument below is insult wrapped in economics.
1. an insolent or contemptuously rude action or remark; affront.
2. something having the effect of an affront: That book is an insult to
a. an injury or trauma.
b. an agent that inflicts this.
4. Archaic.an attack or assault.
(ek"u-nom'iks, E"ku-) —n.
1. (used with a sing. v.) the science that deals with the production,
distribution, and consumption of goods and services, or the material
welfare of humankind.
2. (used with a pl. v.) financial considerations; economically
significant aspects: What are the economics of such a project?
Hmmm. This is interesting.
Apparently there was nothing in the 2,932 words I wrote that was
positive, or thought-provoking and the writer has decided to be insulted.
Not a very promising start for dialogue. Actually, I though the
topic had more to do with equity than insults and economics.
(ek'wi-tE), —n., —pl. -ties.
1. the quality of being fair or impartial; fairness; impartiality: the
equity of Solomon.
2. something that is fair and just.
a. the application of the dictates of conscience or the
natural justice to the settlement of controversies.
b. a system of jurisprudence or a body of doctrines and
rules developed in England and followed in the U.S., serving to
supplement and remedy the limitations and the inflexibility of the
> >The economic wrapping is paper thin. To be a protectionist one must
> >advocate trade restrictions that result in reduced supply of a
> >are selling.
Okay, I see where we are going. We'll
narrowly define 'protectionist', erect a straw man, beat it up, and that
should do the trick. We can now forget about any good points
raised, and the rights and aspirations of minorities. Diversionary
tactics have always worked for the CHC when faced with legitimate
dissent in the past, and are being called on to hold the fort a while
> >Beekeepers sell primarily honey, beeswax and pollination
> >services. There is no restriction on the movement of honey and beeswax
> >within Canada, so it is impossible to protect those markets.
Pronunciation: (pru-tek'shu-niz"um), —n.
1 Econ. the theory, practice, or
system of fostering or developing domestic industries by protecting
them from foreign competition through duties or quotas imposed on
2. any program, policy, or system
of laws that seeks to provide protection for property owners, wildlife,
the environment, etc.
What can I say? If you are getting confused
and think he is addressing something I said, here is
what I actually did say.
> >Since Alberta
> >is the single biggest market for pollination services, I doubt that
> >pollination is the commodity in question.
The assumption here is that it is a commodity
or commodities that are being protected. There is some of that,
alright, but the protectionism here is more insidious; it has more to do
with defense against competition, new entries into the business, and more
the efficient larger operations that would be possible if an unlimited
supply of package bees came onto the market.
Although the article fingers protectionism,
there is a much more sinister factor at play and that is the simple
disregard -- even distain -- by those in positions of power in our
industry for the rights, interests, and aspirations of those less
powerful. Maybe we should be focusing on that?
> >Further, the value of live hives
> >has probably increased since border closure, but varies more with the
> >of honey then either the availability of bees of local or
That is a really interesting sentence
structure, but, regardless of what he is attempting to say, my experience
surrounding this very question that made the penny drop in my mind.
As readers will realize, I am in the process of selling our bees and
equipment and have my finger on the pulse of the market. We are,
today, experiencing the highest market prices for honey in a
generation and yet I have 3,000 unsold drawn supers sitting, unsold, and
this is the middle of a honey flow. We are experiencing the highest
prices ever for honey and equipment sits empty. That says something
I remember the 1970s, the last time that
honey trebled in price. Package bees were available without any
limit at the time, and anything that remotely resembled a beehive sold
instantly for amazing prices -- more than new equipment. We're now
selling supers below new cost and still there are some left. We
sold our bees without difficulty.
Interestingly, people would have preferred to
buy just bees -- many had empty boxes at home -- but were so desperate
they they bought complete hives. That's thanks to the CHC and CAPA,
> >Hence I conclude that the word "protectionist" is being used in a
> >perjorative, not a economic sense.
Actually, the word is 'pejorative'.
-jor'-, pej'u-rA"-, pE'ju-),—adj.
having a disparaging, derogatory, or belittling effect or force: the
pejorative affix -ling in princeling.
No matter. That was not the intent,
and, who said it was intended in some narrow economic sense, anyhow?
Not me. I have a lot of respect for protectionist sentiments. I
have a few myself. The question is whether this protectionism is
justified, equitable -- and legal. (Readers: If you are
getting confused by the straw man argument , here is
what I did say).
> >There are a number of sub -arguments; I will take each in tern:
> >1. The only thing restricting growth in beekeeping is the border
Yup, I did say that, and I'll concede that
this is a slight oversimplification. Obviously, at some point,
Other factors -- like lack of drawn comb -- would restrict growth.
We're a long way from that point.
> >This argument ignores the very economic factors the rest of the
> >pretends to rely on.
Okay. I appreciate rhetoric as much as
the next guy, but it does not move me at all. Please explain how I
ignore the economic factors, and which ones.
Where I live, it is very clear. Allow
people in Alberta to purchase package bees from their traditional,
proven suppliers and the industry will grow to whatever size the
supplies of pasture, labour and other supplies will permit. These
other factors are not a constraint at present. Moreover this action
would take some of the the pressure off BC wintering spots and allow BC
beekeepers to work under less competitive pressure.
> >2. The decline in the number of beekeepers is significant and
> >something important about the industry.
> >I agree with the anecdotal observation that our industry is shrinking
> >graying. However, I expect other agricultural industries and
> >experiencing similar demographic shifts. Economic thinkers call fewer
> >people managing more production 'efficiency'. I refuse to accept
> >culpability for something that is endemic and probably positive.
Talk about ignoring things; the point was
that many, if not essentially all of these other agricultural industries
have been able to increase their output and viability significantly.
Ours is throttled by lack of reliable and reasonably-priced supply of an
essential input. Everything else is in place. I know that; I
have been talking to frustrated would-be beekeepers a lot lately.
> >as a 35 year old new beekeeper, I can report that the border
> >have not inhibited my entry to the industry.
Okay. That's a typical CHC response.
It goes something like this. "I'm okay, so, everybody, be like me
and you'll be fine". People who make this kind of argument tend to
be rather insensitive to the fact that people are very different in their
situations, needs, and aspirations.
Let's take a good look. Could everyone
be just like you? How much new capacity are you adding to our
industry? How many new jobs and buildings are you adding to
our industry, and how much of the unused pasture I mentioned are you
bringing into use? I bet you got a bargain because beekeepers are short
of bees and outfits go cheap. I know you think that the price is
fair, but wait until you are about to retire and we'll see what you say.
> >3. Capa and CHC are 'special interest' groups.
> >Unless you define beekeeping as a whole as a 'special interest'
What would you call it? What would the
man on the street call it?
> >then this is simply false.
Well, it isn't. They are
obviously special interest groups in every sense of the word.
Moreover, they sometimes -- like the case in point -- do not even
represent all their members, or their entire industry!
a body of persons, corporation, or industry that seeks or receives
benefits or privileged treatment, esp. through legislation.
> >CHC works on behalf of the entire industry on many fronts
> >including honey labeling and packing issues, which are beyond the
> >the border issue.
QED, but I'm glad we agree on something, and
obviously CHC can do some things right. Maybe we can get CHC
working for the whole industry on the border issue.
> > Similarly, I have found CAPA highly diverse in interests
> >and enterprises, after all, it is capa members doing rAFB research in
> >ALberta right now. What does that have to do with the special interest
Again, I don't have a clue how that has
anything to do with the discussion. I did not ever say CHC or CAPA
were incapable of doing anything right. CAPA does lots of good
work, and many CAPA and CHC members are my friends. Heck, I'm a CHC
member. (Readers: If you are getting confused, here is
what I actually did say).
All I am saying is that CAPA and CHC's board
and staff have a perspective that
- fails to consider and address adequately
the interests of all beekeeping parties and
- fails to consider the interests of
communities that could benefit from new beekeeping businesses.
> >4. Eastern Beekeepers have 'vested' interests in keeping the border
> >To have a (in)vested interest is merely to expect a return from a
> >economic position.
Let's see what a dictionary says...
1. a special interest in an
existing system, arrangement, or institution for particular personal
2. a permanent right given to an employee under a pension plan.
3. vested interests, the persons, groups, etc., who benefit the most
from existing business or financial systems.
Hmmm. I said exactly what I meant.
I did not say 'invested.
If you are getting confused, here is
what I did say.
> > We all have 'vested' interests in
beekeeping since we
> >all expect to get a return from doing so. However, the message below
> >not describe in any detail how 'eastern protectionists' expect to get
> >return from border closure, which is the accusation that is made.
Is it? I don't think so. I
suggested that many think they are protecting their territory. I
did also say this:
"Unfortunately, bee industry organizations in
Canada are largely dominated by small operators with a vested interest in
preventing expansion of the industry and the competition that might ensue
from that expansion, and by salaried civil servants who think in terms of
risk, rather than in terms of opportunity".
> >writer puts himself in a classical dilemma: either eastern beekeepers
> >get an increased return from border closure or they will not. If they
> >they would be fools to sacrifice their own interests, if they don't,
> >the accusation is made falsely. Therefor either the eastern beekeepers
> >not fools or they are accused falsely. I think the second option is
If I had said these things I might, perhaps,
be in a 'classical dilemma', (although I though the classical dilemma had
more to do with a specific technical theological difficulty than with
self-interest). Seeing as I did not say these things -- he said
them, then attacked them -- I see no point in supporting them. Here is what I
Perhaps I should point many Eastern
beekeepers -- and would-be beekeepers everywhere -- would also benefit
from a more open border. Let's not lump all Easterners into one lot.
I realize that that could be inferred from the title of
my piece, but that is not the intent, and is
the least generous interpretation.
> >In conclusion, I offer the following challenge. I agree that we
> >throw off the gloves, It is my observation that the insults like those
> >buried within the message below are not constructive.
Nobody is throwing mud, and there are no
insults intended, although I must confess to having some fun with you,
and your overly serious and defensive friends. I cannot be held
responsible for insult deliberately taken. Reading insults into a
debate is counterproductive, unless the goal is to divert attention from
the genuine issues at hand, and, if that is what is happening, it's an
old and transparent trick that has lost its efficacy.
Accusations are not insults; they are
accusations, and CHC stands justly accused of ignoring, and even
opposing, the best interests of a large segment of its constituency and
possibly the public good, to boot.
> >It would be more
> >useful to make specific accusations then to throw mud. Further, i
> >mud throwing is one sided, and it is the basic politeness of the
> >closure advocates which allows those with a contrary view the false
> >impression that no one disagrees with them, and that the momentum is
Interesting. Everyone west of the
Saskatchewan border -- and more than a few east of there -- can
see how unsupportable the current
position is an how oppressive it is to many beekeepers and would-be
beekeepers. We are just pointing it out so clearly that nobody can
fail to see. As for momentum, the momentum is obviously all with
the CHC, but, that momentum can be more accurately described as inertia.
It is time to change that.
> > I will have no more of that myself.
Fine. I don't think you addressed even
one of my points anyhow.
Is there ANYONE supporting the embargo
against US bees who can address the issues, and who will address
what I did say, and not some
misrepresentation of my article. If so, bring 'em on.
We're working the bugs out of this position,
but, so far, it looks like a winner!