Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

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Allen Dick
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Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Allen Dick » December 4th, 2016, 7:15 am

In view of the fact that the Alberta Beekeepers Commission no longer is willing to accept smaller beekeepers in the province and focusing on commercial interests, do we need a new organisation to represent the interests of the majority of beekeepers?

Do we need to create a new Alberta Beekeeping organisation to represent all Alberta beekeepers to government and national bodies?

Would it be a federation of local groups or a membership organisation?

Discuss.
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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Biermann » December 4th, 2016, 11:01 am

Hello Allen,

Interesting point. Representation for Allbeekeepers is important. It is interesting to see that the Alberta Beekeepers Commission makes a difference between 1-99 and 100 - unlimited Beek's. It is the only Commission I know that discriminates against small producers. The website at http://www.albertabeekeepers.org/ does state the minimum here http://www.albertabeekeepers.org/eligible-producers, but the application form does not state it.

The Alberta Beekeepers Association seems to share the location with the commission.

From experience, I don't favor trying to build a new house, when the old-one just needs remodeling. A decisions by the board or a resolution at an AGM must have brought this forward, but it must have been possible because the small producers normally don't attend thus meetings to veto the resolution.

How about a dialog with both, Association and Commission to get some clarification? I can do this and report to this forum if interest exists, or the governing bodies of the ABA & ABC could write in this very forum.

Us small Beek.'s don't need much, just a guarantee that our existence and coexistence is allowed and supported.

With best regards, Joerg

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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Allen Dick » December 4th, 2016, 11:21 am

Thanks. Your points are well taken.

We are definitely working on it. The Alberta Beekeepers Association was established and run by what we would now call small-time beekeepers for years and was run out of a member's kitchen. Over the years it has grown and eventually the association, the membership, and the assets were absorbed by the Alberta Beekeepers Commission with assurances that the organisation would represent all Alberta Beekeepers. Any registered Alberta beekeeper paying the $50 annual service fees were considered mambers until recently.

Over time, the origins have been forgotten and a few commercial beekeepers have tried to exclude the small operators. I was very involved with the ABA and have always fought for including everyone -- and been largely successful, but relaxed my guard since retiring a decade ago.

We are on it now and girding for battle. Liz Goldie has been leading the charge and recruited me as reinforcement seeing as I am an elder in this tribe and I know where the bodies are buried and who buried them.

She asked me to list my credentials so she could introduce me and I don't do that often, but found the result amusing and will share.

Beekeeper since 1972
Maximum 4,500 hives
Pollinated seed canola with 2,500 hives for three years
Raised mated queens for use and sale
Provincial Bee Inspector off and on 1973 to 2010 -- disease -- wintering program -- chalkbrood survey - nosema and varroa surveys
Longtime member of the Alberta Beekeepers Association and a board member for multiple terms
Served on committees, including the Bear Damage Committee
Involved in re-writing the Bee Act
Wrote the Alberta Green Certificate in Beekeeping for Lakeland College -- Course is currently in use in schools around Alberta
Maintained a daily beekeeping diary online since 2000
Taught evening beekeeping courses at Red Deer College
Moderator for University at Albany BEE-L beekeeping discussion list for ten years and five after the list left the university
Wrote several series of articles for Bee Culture magazine, Bee news, Bee Scene (BC) magazine. Declined requests for more.
Recipient of Alberta Beekeepers Association Lifetime Achievement Award - 2005
Invited convention speaker in New York, Iowa, Alberta, and British Columbia. Keynote at several conventions.
Friend or acquaintance with many noted bee scientists
Attend numerous conventions (fewer lately) and visit bee labs in Canada and USA
Motivating force behind establishment of several bee nutrition businesses.
Currently an active beekeeper with equipment for 250 hives.
Advocate of open and responsible beekeeping organizations

Oh, yes, and let's not forget, I am excluded from membership in the ABC because I have less than 100 hives this year, even though I sometimes have more, and have equipment for 250.
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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Biermann » December 4th, 2016, 1:39 pm

Allen, thank you for the information.

Reading the Bee Act (the rules for the actual Commission) and the regulation and older amendments, I can not see any paragraph mentioning the minimum hive requirement, but a duty to register any amount of hive. This starts with one and if the ABC refuses membership, they are contravening the law and need to be reported. If one sends his registration with the membership fee, they (The ABC) have no other option than to include the applicant in the member list.

I feel the act is clearly written. The amendments 108/2004, 221/2004, 105/2007, 183/2012 are not publicized, nor did I find any minutes from ABC AGM's, were such regulations had to be voted in or needed to be amended. The act can only be amended at regular intervals or when requested by the minister.

I do believe that a difference may exist in a) registering your hives with AA&F and b) being a member of the ABC, but since the Bee Act nor the regulations state any fees per sold honey, but only a $50 membership fee plus$0.75 per hive, it appears to me this commission is open to any owner of bee hive(s).

It will be interesting to see more comments on this.

Cheers, Joerg

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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Allen Dick » December 4th, 2016, 1:43 pm

Thanks for that, and the references. We're meeting tomorrow and we'll see what transpires.

As for the governing legislation, the Bee Act only deals with the registration of hives with Alberta Agriculture, ostensibly for disease monitoring and management, not the Commission. The Commission is governed by a marketing Act and the Commission Plan. I don't know about the Marketing Act, but the Plan is poorly written IMO. The Commission apparently is authorized to circumvent privacy laws and demand registration information from the Provincial Apiarist.

It all works well as long as all parties act in good faith and agree, but if the SHTF, and some attempt to oppress the other stakeholders, it is a mess.

We've already met with the Marketing people and briefed them on what is going on. We'd like to think it's all a big misunderstanding, and maybe it is, but we're loaded for bear in case it isn't.
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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Biermann » December 4th, 2016, 2:14 pm

Thanks Allen,
We'd like to think it's all a big misunderstanding,
lets hope for that and that all can be worked out.

It is interesting how once angle of view can change when moving from being a large producer and wanting to keep the little guys at bay (sometimes for simplicity reasons and not to loose view of the large levy payers) to becoming a retiree and finding out that the little guys need a lobby too.

Good luck and keep an open mind.

Joerg

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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Allen Dick » December 4th, 2016, 2:23 pm

I have always pressed for universal membership, and was a force behind dissolving the last Commission back around 1980 when they excluded the small guys.

Against all odds and the full force and funding of the Commission at the time and Marketing, we organized a revolt and forced a plebiscite and the Commission was GONE.

They did not dare try to establish one again for decades and when they did, they made promises. We had full consultation around the Province and another plebiscite of all registered beekeepers.

Because we had the agreement to include the smaller beekeepers, the Commission was allowed to assume the assets of the Alberta Beekeepers Association.

Now that the deal has been broken all bets are off and we are arming for battle if one is required.
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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by tksmith » December 5th, 2016, 3:22 pm

There has been a lot of confusion about what just happened to the status of people with fewer than 100 hives and the ABC. Let me see if I can clarify. This is something I only clearly understood a few weeks ago. The document to look at is the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act: Alberta Beekeeping Plan Regulation. If you google that you'll find it right away.

Prior to May of this year, the plan regulation included all "producers," while people with more than 100 hives were further distinguished as being "eligible producers." As far as I'm aware, there was only one major difference between "producers" and "eligible producers." "Eligible producers" were required to pay hive fees and therefore be voting members. The opportunities for non-eligible producers to be involved with ABC is not delineated in the plan regulation itself, but ABC had a policy. They allowed "producers" who were not "eligible producers" (by default, anyone with fewer than 100 hives) the choice to pay for 100 hives and be voting members, they could pay $50 and be a non-voting member, or they could pay nothing and have nothing to do with ABC.

However, in May, a single line was added to the plan regulation: Section 6(2)b: "This Plan does not apply to producers [...] who maintain fewer than 100 colonies of bees." In other words, producers with fewer than 100 colonies of bees can no longer be non-voting nor voting members of the ABC.

I have maintained for three months and I continue to maintain there was no consultation with Alberta beekeepers about this change. There was one mention of it in the July 2015 electronic issue of Bee News, which could be considered notification, not consultation. There is a claim that it was discussed at the 2014 AGM, but I was there and I don't remember any discussion and it is not in the minutes.

Anyway, hopefully that gives a clear background on what the change has been, for those who care about the technical details. If anyone has something to add (I'm not convinced I have the full picture yet), please do.

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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Allen Dick » December 5th, 2016, 6:15 pm

Thanks for the report.

Like you, most, or all of us were in the dark and I spent my day getting caught up.

I'm retired. I did not want to have to do this again.

Liz and I were in Edmonton meeting with the Commission board today. We met with Marketing last week.

Interestingly, none of the current board members knew we had a Commission in Alberta years ago, or we dissolved it by a vote of all registered Alberta beekeepers -- or that we are about to go through that lesson again. AFAIK, Franklin Butz is still alive and keeping bees. Maybe he could tell them about it.

Alberta Marketing, as far as I can tell, are honest brokers, and if they endorsed actions that are out of line, it is because they believed their liaison with Commission and the Commission's representative and acted believing they had the authorization of the representatives of the 1.300 odd Alberta beekeepers. They did not.

As for the Commission board, I am not so sure.

That was then and this is now, but we have come full circle. All things that killed the original Commission are in place.

The funny thing is that nobody -- nobody -- wants to kill the Commission. but we are all willing to do it if it does not serve us.

It is our duty.
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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Countryboy » December 7th, 2016, 3:50 pm

When Liz and I left the meeting, I recall Liz was puzzled by the fact that these board members are obviously people of moral character, who do good works, but seem to be gripped by dark fears and avarice and cannot see that their actions violate their own principles of generosity, caring for the poor and weak, and sharing.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck. It's a duck!

People who are gripped by dark fears and avarice, and whose actions violate principles of generosity, caring for the poor and weak (charity), and sharing....and obviously NOT people of good moral character.

I recall something from years past that when making a logical argument, to never use the word obvious to introduce a fact or idea. If the fact or idea was truly obvious, it would be supported by facts that back it up, rather than relying only on the obvious assertion.
Anytime someone says something is obvious when making an argument, it generally means they have nothing to back up that proposition, and are trying to pull the wool over someone's eyes. Obviously, the King's clothes are magnificent.

And it can be hard for folks to admit that people they thought were friends are dishonorable and immoral. We want to believe other folks are as good as we are, especially people in authority and our representatives. Unfortunately, positions of power and authority do not attract the best and brightest, but seem to attract the worst sort of characters.

The problem you are facing is that you are on the defensive playing Whack-A-Mole. The only way to get rid of these problems are to get rid of the people in positions of authority who are causing the problems. Until they are removed, it will become a recurrent theme over and over in the future, until they finally get away with it and no one stands up to them.
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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Allen Dick » December 7th, 2016, 4:07 pm

I understand what you are saying, but truly these kids are not evil. They are just gullible and easily surrender to arguments that favour them. I trust they will straighten out and figure out the source of the infection.

Some, if not most of them, I think are second generation beekeepers, never had to struggle, and feel entitled.

The fact that what happened last year was probably illegal and is raising questions may encourage them to do the right thing too since they, as directors, are responsible for gross negligence and criminal actions by staff if any is discovered. For clarity, I'm not saying it is or was.

At any rate, I would prefer to appeal to people's best instincts and highest principles.
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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Countryboy » December 7th, 2016, 5:20 pm

Have you ever known someone who had been married multiple times, and always ended up cheating on their spouse?

They might be a kind and caring and likeable person. But that doesn't matter if they cheat on their spouse. If they cheat, then they are not of good moral character. The same if someone lies or steals or whatnot.

Criminals are good, decent people 99.9% of the time. It is that 0.1% of the time that they do evil. And that is all it takes to make everyone else miserable.
but truly these kids are not evil. They are just gullible and easily surrender to arguments that favour them.
People who are not evil can still do evil. Being gullible and easily surrendering to arguments that favor them is all that is necessary for them to do evil.

You divorce a cheating spouse. (And you don't introduce your single sister to a philanderer.) You don't tell them not to cheat anymore. You put criminals in prison for that 0.1% of the time they did wrong. We don't tell them to behave and think they won't revert to their old ways. And when officials act against the interests of the common people, you get them out of office. You don't ask them to behave either. A leopard won't change its spots.

In the Bible, God told the Israelites to kill every man, woman, and child when they came into the promised land. And if they did not, those people would always be a thorn in their side. And to this day the Philistines (Palestines) continue to be a thorn in the side of the Israelis.

History may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.

You guys can do what you want up there in Canada. It's not going to affect me. I don't have a dog in this fight. But I hate to see authority figures and officials in any place run amok and try to see just how far they can go and get away with.
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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Countryboy » December 8th, 2016, 9:09 am

I have heard that the Commission wants to hire a lobbyist to lobby governments. For what, I wonder.
What are the requirements there to bottle and sell honey? Here in Ohio, you can bottle your honey in your kitchen (without any government inspections) and sell in stores and at farmers markets, etc.

In some states, you can only sell your honey if it is bottled in an approved commercial kitchen. This creates a barrier for small hobbyists to sell their honey. It eliminates competition by smaller operators, so larger beekeepers can continue holding local market share.

Do you have registered beeyards in Alberta? If not, they may be thinking of proposing registered beeyards. Hobbyists with more than a hive or two would be prevented from expanding their operations. This would protect larger beekeepers who might resent hobbyists from putting a beeyard closer to their yards than they would like. Hobbyists would oppose registered yards, but commercial guys would likely welcome the protection from competition, or non-treatment hobbyists bringing in disease or heavy mite loads.

Here in the US, starting January 1, the federal government is now restricting terramycin and Tylan use by beekeepers. These are now prescription antibiotics. You must now get a veterinarian to personally inspect your bees and diagnose a disease before you can get the antibiotic. Hobbyists would protest this, as there are few veterinarians who are trained to inspect bees, and the cost of a vet visit will greatly increase the cost of keeping bees. Is Canada considering doing the same thing, and making TM and Tylan prescription antibiotics?

Those are a couple things that fear-mongering commercial guys might like to see to help control hobbyists they feel threatened by.
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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by BDT123 » December 8th, 2016, 6:32 pm

Countryboy,
All hives in Alberta must be registered with the Provincial Apiarist. That's Dr. Medhat Nasr at this time. Decent guy by all accounts.
We must also get a 'Property Identification' from the Alberta Agriculture Dept. This is because bees are deemed to be 'livestock'.
Getting a PID is very handy because it allows us to purchase veterinary meds. So oxytet, fumagilin,
Thymovar, etc can be purchased as long as you registered.
I'm a newbee but went into Winter with 2 very strong hives, good honey & pollen stores. Treated for mites Sept/Oct. and fed them hard. We had lots of rain this Fall.
I'm trying to parse the ABC issues and am not Machiavellan enough to see where this goes.
Hard to believe the big boys see us hobbyists and sideliners as a threat. Political climate here also wouldn't seem to be in their favour.
Always appreciate your perspective. Thanks

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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Allen Dick » December 8th, 2016, 7:17 pm

This came in by a web form and is worth posting:
---
Allen,

You don't see the potential for hobby beekeepers to hijack the commission and use it to best serve their interests? The "all for one, one for all"mentality is great, but when it comes to serving the interests of ALL beekeepers, we will be quickly overruled by existing, and new beekeepers. My biggest concerns that I want the commission fighting for are resistance to miticides, and honey prices. Do you honestly think someone with 5 hives has the same concern, loses the same sleep at night as someone who's livelyhood, and that of his employees, depends on these issues?
Speaking with other beekeepers, and co-op members, there is more new beekeepers entering the field than ever. Many have jumped on the treatment free bandwagon. This could have disastrous effects on the commission.
If the commission stops fighting for the issues important to me and my business, my dues go unpaid. Simple as that.

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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by BDT123 » December 8th, 2016, 7:36 pm

I am a new hobbyist beekeeper and am doing everything I can to keep my honeys healthy and thriving. I have read everything I can find on Varroa, AFB, viruses, etc, and have a clearly defined Pest Management strategy. I work hard at this hobby; had I known a year ago how much work, well, maybe I'd have had a re-think.
I will not have my hives be a repository of pestilence, if I can do anything in my power to avoid that.
I am not a threat to the big boys, never will be. I love bee keeping and the rules of good animal husbandry apply to us all. I'm not convinced all the big ops are as concerned about bee health as I am. They run massive feedlots, l have a few pet hives that receive awesome care.
Sorry, but this hobbyist is not a threat!

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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Countryboy » December 8th, 2016, 8:50 pm

All hives in Alberta must be registered with the Provincial Apiarist.
Under Ohio law, beekeepers are required to register the locations (beeyards) where bees are kept. (This law came about when inspections were mandatory and the inspectors had the right to inspect your hives, barns, etc. without a warrant. That aspect of the inspection program was ruled unconstitutional back in the 80's.) Many beekeepers do not register the locations their hives are kept. I filed a public records request a couple years ago - Ohio has never charged or prosecuted anyone for violating any apiary law.
Simply put, it costs money to register my locations, and I get zero benefit by registering. Even though the law says you have to register your beeyards, the laws are not enforced. (I have been able to document that inspectors routinely violate the law though - imagine that, the real criminals are the government workers.) So, it seems pointless to register your beeyards.
You don't see the potential for hobby beekeepers to hijack the commission and use it to best serve their interests? The "all for one, one for all"mentality is great, but when it comes to serving the interests of ALL beekeepers, we will be quickly overruled by existing, and new beekeepers.
They bring up a good point. The old saying was that 1% of the beekeepers owned 99% of the hives, and 99% of beekeepers owned 1% of the hives. So you can see how that can create an imbalance. A couple 2 hive hobbyists can outvote a commercial guy with a few thousand hives if both have one vote.

When I started beekeeping, I joined the local bee club. It was mainly a bunch of old gray haired folks. Many did not have bees anymore, and simply went to meetings as a social outlet. I got a mentorship program started, and got some bee classes going. The next thing you know, we had a bunch of brand new hobbyists in the club.
I was appalled at the inspection program in my county. Our inspector is a likable guy, but has absolutely no business inspecting bees. (His parents run a beekeeping supply business. His mom was inspector for a while, then his brother was inspector. Then he inherited the inspector job. The inspector is a little slow mentally - folks that have known him his whole life were surprised when he moved away from home around age 30.) I ended up making a critical YouTube video of the inspector giving a talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMh45RKuN88

The new beekeepers went spastic that I could be critical of the inspector or inspection program. The new beekeepers voted to disband the bee club that had been in existence for 35 years. Then they started a new bee club, and in their rules, you are prohibited from criticizing any officers or the inspector.

It caused a lot of hard feelings. Many longtime club members felt burned by newbies breaking up the old club.
I have had people who attend the new bee club meetings tell me their questions are not answered and they feel pushed to the side. The new bee club is very 'clique-y' and if you are not in the clique, you aren't made to feel very welcome. Those people have approached me about helping to mentor them and asking me for beekeeping advice.

With the popularity of beekeeping and the increasing number of new beekeepers, it's a very real possibility that larger beekeepers could feel threatened by the number of hobbyists whose beekeeping goals and philosophies do not match commercial beekeeping. With one person-one vote, it is easy to marginalize the minority. It could be easy for larger guys to feel their interests are not represented when they are the minority, even if they own the majority of the hives.
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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by BDT123 » December 8th, 2016, 9:47 pm

True enough, the tyranny of the proletariat is always a concern. I would caution that the vast majority of hobbyists, the 99% that have 1% of the hives, are voters. If you keep bees, you probably exercise your franchise at regular intervals, like election time. Like most of of us grizzled folk!
I can't imagine the modern enlightened city dwelling bee keepers not performing the necessities to keep hives healthy. Heavy irony, sorry.
The best thing for the commercial guys is that the 'no-treatment' folk are likely urban, therefore a minor threat to big ops.
I'm small and rural and full blown IPM. I have country roots.
I will max out at 10 hives, all I'm willing to do. BUT, big but, I care and I do what's needed.
Big guys are worried about a tempest in a teapot. Most hobbyists won't pay to join the Commission; our worries are what will they impose on us!

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Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by Allen Dick » December 9th, 2016, 8:28 am

Agreed.

The fears are groundless. To use just one vote under the legitimate original rules (not the illegitimate changes) a beekeeper has to pay $150, and be in Edmonton on two week days during business hours. Many if not most small beekeepers are working, otherwise occupied, and/or hundreds of miles away during the business meetings.

The commercial group has well over one hundred votes, so to swamp them, 100+ small beekeepers would have to spend $15,000, plus the cost of the convention and travel and accommodation.

Doesn't this make the whole panic look ridiculous? Has anyone thought this through?

We did, back when the Commission was formed and that is why the rules are what they are and the sneaky, needless changes need to be nullified.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
51° 33'39.64"N 113°18'52.45"W
http://www.honeybeeworld.com/Allen%27s%20Beehives.kmz
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LeeTownsend
Posts: 1
Joined: December 12th, 2016, 6:19 pm

Re: Is it Time for a New Alberta Beekeeping Organisation?

Unread post by LeeTownsend » December 12th, 2016, 7:02 pm

Since Allen has decided to wade into this discussion regarding the commission and the hobby/urban beekeepers in the province, I guess that means anyone can.

Allen, I am disappointed in how you've revised history in order to misled people that haven't been involved with the ABA nor the commission in the past. The commission was formed due to the fact that the ABA was underfunded and unable to perform the tasks required of an organization representing the beekeepers of Alberta. The ABA represented commercial beekeeping interests, just as the commission does today. When the commission was formed, it was clearly stated that the commercial beekeepers were the stakeholders and as such we were the ones that voted in favour of moving from an association to the commission. Your claims that the commission promised to represent hobby/urban beekeepers is more than slightly incorrect. And to be honest, back in the ABA days and when the commission was formed there was virtually no hobby industry to speak of.

For whatever reason, the commission did allow those with less than 100 colonies the ability to purchase a voting membership for a time. My personal recollection as to the reason why we allowed this was to try and be nice and include the hobbyists. The commission at no time had more than 10 people taking advantage of this, and part of this was that the hobby groups had to send a representative to sit on the board. In all the years the commission allowed this, it had exactly 3 people from the hobby groups sit on the board. Only 1 of these 3 actually contributed anything to the organization, and only 1 of these 3 actually stuck out their "term". And before you rant about how I don't know my history, may I remind you that I was on the board when we went from an association to a commission and was actively involved with Marketing Council and the commissions plan regs during my years on the board and in the years afterwards.

Over the years, the commission has grown into a well funded and vital voice for the Canadian honeybee industry. Alberta accounts for almost 50% of the Canadian industry, and it has been and always will be led by the commercial producers. We are the ones that fund it, we are the ones with the significant financial investments in our operations, and we are the ones making our living from it. With what we have seen in Ontario since 2012 and how the OBA has been destroyed by hobby/urban beekeepers, and to a smaller extent how the BCHPA went through something similar recently, the last thing that we will allow is for this to happen to the Alberta Beekeepers Commission. If you and your small band of followers do not like it, tough.

There is a hobby group in Calgary as well as one in Edmonton, and the interests of the hobbyists are far different than that of the commercial producer. I keep hearing certain hobbyists complain that they are scared that the commission won't represent their interests and will make decisions that will negatively affect them. First, you have your own groups so why don't you go meet with government and express your concerns as they pertain to those of a hobbyist. That is why you have your organizations is it not? Second, the ABA and commission have never made it a goal to set out to hurt hobbyists. It tried to be inclusive, but that is no longer feasible and as such the board (supported by the membership), Marketing Council, and Cabinet all agreed to the changes made earlier this year. If you think there is some giant conspiracy afloat, you are mistaken.

The access to hive health tools, bee stock, marketing tools such as CBISQT and Biosecurity, etc., have all been due to the commercial beekeeper. I challenge you to find anything the commission or the ABA has done that counters what I have stated.

Now Allen, I must also correct some of the claims you have made in this thread. You talk about your great service to the ABA during your time on and off the board. While you have made contributions, I wouldn't be quite as quick to thump on your chest as it was a happy day for most of us when you retired. You talk about your work on the bear damage committee, yet there has been no lasting positive effect from your involvement with it. You also brag about writing the Green Certificate program. While you did indeed put much of it together, you didn't do it alone. Gertie Adair, Ernie Martens, the Lakeland staff and myself were all on that committee and I recall many times having to reel you in from some half baked theory you wanted to write into it. And you haven't been on the board since the ABA days, so you honestly have no bloody clue as to what has been going on at the board level or with the commercial producer for well over a decade.

I do take offence to your recent claims and comments regarding beekeepers both on and off the current board. Do you really want to go down the road of saying some of us are nothing more than entitled second generation beekeepers that don't know what we are doing? If so, that is pathetic. The Alberta beekeeping industry has never been larger nor more profitable than it has been in recent years, and much of that is due to the same beekeepers you are smearing. We are running multi-million dollar operations that are better managed and far more food safety/biosecurity/IPM friendly than yours ever was. If you recall I have been to your place, and for lack of a better term it was embarrassing. So before you go slinging mud, look in the mirror first.

I have always felt that the commission can and should include the hobby/urban side of our industry, if for nothing more than information exchange. That does not include hobbyists having a vote at the commission level, nor the commercial beekeepers having a vote at the hobby level. It also means that the liability insurance is only available to eligible producers of the commission. When hobbyists have more than 100 hives, which really isn't many, then you are more than welcome to come and have a vote and access the benefits that come with it. Until such time, stop spreading lies and causing problems that do not exist.

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