Thursday, February 28, 2013

Campaign Strategy

Perhaps it's foolish to publish our tactics and strategies for this campaign.  However, I think we have far more to gain by building the consensus and gaining followers.

I'm lost as to how to get Supply Management from today's rickety state, to where it should be operating, in the best interest of the public.  How do we change the system without it crumbling before our eyes?  If anybody has an answer, I'm all ears. 

I believe we need to apply constant, continuous pressure with no artificial ultimatums or deadlines.

I believe the brilliant cut diamond is a model for our successful campaign.

A brilliant cut diamond has 58 facets.  Each facet is a different window looking into the diamond, each with a different point of view.  Some parts of the diamond is hidden from view in each facet, but no part of the diamond can be hidden from the views provided by all of the facets.  Each facet is unique, yet a part of the whole diamond.

In other words, we need 58 different approaches, rather than just one simple approach that could be easily deflected or dodged.

There must be no place for the government (or the special interest groups) to hide, no port in the storm where they are safe, no opportunity to rest, no relief from our friendly but persistent advocacy of our complaint and our solution.

Our hearts, souls, and actions must be totally aligned with the greater good of the public, not any personal or special interest goals.

We are here in this struggle to serve the public, not ourselves.

As Benjamin Franklin said to his fellow patriots (around the time of drafting the U.S. Declaration of Independence, when they were at risk of being hung for treason by the King of England), "We must hang together, for if we don't, we will surely be hung separately."

I think it applies here as well.

Today there is but one (me).  If I have a just cause, a clear vision, and communicate clearly, I hope to have my first follower soon.

That first follower is the bravest of all, for they will transform a "lone nutbar" into a "leader".

After that, we need to continue to grow our numbers exponentially.  During exponential growth, there is a doubling time.  With each doubling time, we gain more people than all those who previously joined.  With a population of 13.5 million in Ontario, we have 8.3 million people eligible to vote.

Starting with 1 person, we will have 8.4 million followers after just 23 doublings.

I think a week per doubling is the fastest possible rate we can reasonably expect.  That is approximately 6 months from now.  If it takes a month to double, we will be complete in about 2 years.  There is nothing to be gained by dragging this out forever.

In fact, delay sucks out our momentum, putting our ultimate success at risk.  Delaying us so that we lose momentum and stop our exponential growth is the only way the entrenched monopolists can defeat the people and their just cause.

Whether it has a doubling time of 2 weeks or 2 months, either way, the job will be done in my lifetime, for I'm only 59 years old.  If I should be taken early, I will need a Second to step into the breach.  Feel free to nominate yourself.

Petition the People

Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") have been around for 48 years.  We are told that it takes 20,000 work hours to reach world-class skill and perfection.  At that rate, CFO should not be just the best Supply Management Board on Planet Earth, they should have mastered half way to Pluto by now.

However, Should and Actual are two different things.

CFO has made some changes over the years, and probably will make some other minor changes here and there if it is in their best interest to do so.

However, expecting CFO to make changes that are not in their best interest is not facing reality.

To get truly fundamental change, I believe CFO will require being forced to change.

Who has the power to force CFO to change?

Under Section 95 the Canadian Constitution the Federal Government has Canada-wide authority in agriculture, and Ontario can pass additional laws in agriculture provided it doesn't conflict with the Federal laws.  That's how we got Canada-wide Supply Management in the first place back in 1965.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food has the authority to issue a Directive to the Farm Products Marketing Commission (FPMC) who watches over all the local Supply Management Boards (milk, eggs, and chicken).

The OMAF Tribunal can be asked to clarify or intercede when someone complains about the legality of some decision, rule, by-law, or regulation.

The local Board themselves could decide, or recommend, some changes to their system.

Finally, last and least powerful of all, the quota-bearing chick producers themselves could see the writing on the wall, feel the growing unease in the public, the increase in the press and blog traffic discussing chicken quota.  The following graph shows the Google Trends for the search term "chicken quota".  No other country in the world had any interest in this unique and highly specialized topic.  All of the searches were concerned with and geographically located in Ontario.  Perhaps that is why Premier Wynne took on the OMAF portfolio, for by making some small, key changes as OMAF's Minister and the Premier, she can save Ontario and her neck as Premier; two for the price of one.

If only we could get a deal like that on chicken in the grocery store.

The initial spike in Google searches for "chicken quota" was in July 2009.   In May 2010, the issue returned and has been of steady interest ever since.  Note that I started my campaign in Jan. 2011, so I wasn't the first, but I was in there early.

While "chicken quota" is getting hotter, "milk marketing board" was white hot in 2004, and has slowly cooled to a red hot topic in comparison to chicken.  Together, they will intensify the heat by their synergy.  Which of these, alone or together, will be the fuse that lights the powder keg?

So here it is, my next contribution to the on-going discussion on CFO and the Ontario chicken quota.  A petition all set for signatures by the people of Ontario.  Print off a copy, stick it up on your office bulletin board, pop one into the local grocery store and the place where you buy your gas.

Yesterday, I took a copy of my petition into my local coffee shop to see what everybody would say.  There were about 15 people there. I asked them to sign my petition.  They all took a look at my petition.  There were some preliminary discussions, but nobody signed.  If the people of Ontario are so numb and jaded by the constant beatings they have received, they may be unable to strike while the iron is hot.

Therefore, we may have to wait a little longer than I hoped.

I'm prepared that this may be a very long struggle before we get satisfaction.  Everybody might as well take their shoes off and get comfortable.

For those who saw the light long before me, don't give up.  I'm coming.  I'm bringing help with me. You can't do it alone, and neither can I.   I need everybody's help.  If we are true to our cause, and we have the stamina to keep constant pressure on the key points, eventually we will succeed, for our cause is just.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "It is better to suffer the injustice than to cause an injustice suffered by others".  So we suffer and we wait.


The following documents have been sent or received during the discussions between Small Flock Poultry Farmers and the various government officials and agencies:
  1. 2012/01/06, G. Black --> OMAFRA, Email on problems with Meat Regulations
  2. 2012/01/26, G. Black --> Hon. Gerry Ritz, Min. Ag. & Agri-Foods, Canada
  3. 2012/02/13, G.Black --> OMAFRA, did you get email of 2012/01/06?
  4. 2012/02/16, OMAFRA --> G.Black, Response to G.Black's email of 2012/01/06
  5. 2012/02/20, G.Black --> OMAFRA, Response to OMAFRA letter of 2012/02/16
  6. 2012/03/27, OMAFRA --> G.Black, Response to G.Black letter of 2012/02/20
  7. 2012/04/18, G.Black --> OMAFRA, Response to OMAFRA letter of 2012/03/27
  8. 2012/05/18, OMAFRA --> G.Black, Response to G.Black letter of 2012/04/18
  9. 2012/05/22, G.Black --> OMAFRA, Response to OMAFRA letter of 2012/05/18
  10. 2012/05/22, G.Black --> MICA (new local abattoir), will you please process my poultry? NO!
  11. 2012/05/22, G.Black -->BurtFarms (local private abattoir), will you please process my poultry? NO!
  12. 2012/05/22, G.Black -->CFO, asking for assistance to Small Flock Chicken Farmers
  13. 2012/06/01, Risk Assessment Farm Gate Meat Sales
  14. 2013/02/21, G.Black --> CFO, Complaint Small Flock Exemption, CFO Policies

    2013/03/09 Addendum: In Document 14 above (2013/02/21), at Section 9.m, I declare that I live in a food desert.  In the description of this local condition, I failed to mention a butcher shop that is about 5 km from the centre of our hamlet.  This butcher shop, Papa's Meats, sells meats, cheese,  locally caught whitefish, and a limited supply of canned goods, breads, and dairy products.  Unfortunately, they don't normally carry any fruits or vegetables (neither fresh nor frozen).  On page 2 of Document #15 below (2013/02/22), I made a similar statement about living in a food desert, and again failed to mention this same butcher shop.  My thanks to Joan at Papa's Meats for suggesting this clarification.
  15. 2013/02/22, G.Black -->OMAF + Premier, Request change to Meat Regulations
  16. 2013/02/25, CFO --> G.Black, Thanks for info, will consider sometime in future
  17. 2013/02/25, G.Black --> CFO, Response to CFO letter 13/02/25, request immediate hearing
  18. 2013/02/25, Petition for Improving Meat Regulations, Small Flock Quota Exemption Limits
  19. 2013/03/01, CFO --> G.Black, Hearing request will be raised at next CFO Board meeting
  20. 2013/03/07 G.Black --> CFC, Request evidence of compliance to Fed-Prov. Chicken agreement
  21. 2013/03/21  CFO -->G.Black, Request for CFO Board hearing of complaint denied
  22. 2013/03/25   SFPFC --> Public flyer on $10.8 Billion Fascist Chicken 
  23. 2013/04/03 Chicken Full Disclosure Form for Traceability & Consumer's Benefit 
  24. Mar. 26, 2013 G.Black --> FPMC to intercede on my behalf with my complaint against CFOO
  25. May 23, 2013 FPMC -->G.Black refuses to intercede with CFO, refers me to OMAF Tribunal
  26. June 6, 2013 G.Black--> OMAF Tribunal, asking for information on how to proceed with complaint.

Discrimination & Exclusion Aren't Friendly

Just over 1,000 producers have CFO chicken quotas in Ontario.  These chicken factories control 99.97% of the production of chicken in Ontario, most of them raising around 200,000 birds per year on average.
Chickens, and more chickens, as far as the eye can see in one chicken factory in Ontario   (Ref: CFO Performance Report 2011.pdf )
Compare those 1,000 mega-factory chicken producers to the 13,000 family farms that raise small flocks in Ontario.  The majority of small flock farmers raise 60 chickens or less.  I, myself am one of those small flock growers.
These small flock growers, in spite of being the majority of chicken farmers in Ontario, are totally excluded from any input, decisions, or benefits from the chicken factories and CFO.  For example:
  • Small Flockers are refused membership in CFO (Chicken Farmers of Ontario)
  • Small Flockers can't attend the District Meetings of CFO
  • Small Flockers can't attend CFO's Annual General Meeting
  • Small Flockers can't vote for CFO Directors nor Area Reps
  • Small Flockers can't advertise our chickens for sale
Fortunately ???, Small Flockers are forced to follow CFO's orders on what and how and when to raise our chickens.
CFO has used their monopoly to suppress the small flock growers from ever becoming a commercially affordable alternative to the chicken factories.
I believe CFO has used its power and privileges against the small flock chicken farmers, and against the public in general. 

Hopefully all chicken growers, both small flock and the mega chicken factories can listen to all points of view and find a win-win solution that is in the best interest of all, including the Ontario public.
Discrimination & Exclusion Aren't Friendly.  Can't we all just get along?