Friday, July 31, 2015

CFO's Artisanal Chicken: Conflict of Interest

Second class citizenship isn't a pleasant experience.  Will the Artisanal Chicken Program of Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") put Small Flockers in a chicken No Man's Land as second class chicken farmers?

CFO has been delegated extensive powers by both the Federal and Provincial Governments.  CFO administers those powers under the Farm Products Marketing Act.  CFO passes By-laws that become Ontario Regulations, with the force of law.  CFO is very powerful for Ontario chicken.

Supply Management is supposed to be self-regulating.  If you are an Ontario chicken farmer, CFO, CFO's Board of Directors, and Provincial District Committee Representatives (DCRs) are elected to serve your interests.

Who serves the interests of Artisanal Chicken Farmers?

CFO's By-laws Section 5 describes the roles & responsibilities of CFO's Directors & Officers, which says:
"5.3   Role of CFO Directors
The Board of Directors, as a whole, is responsible for supervising the management of the business and affairs of CFO.  Each Director participates in fulfilling the Board’s stewardship role by

acting honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of CFO (fiduciary duty)

and exercising the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances (duty of care).

As elected representatives of CFO farmer-members, Directors are responsible for ensuring that the Board fulfills its objectives and mandate for the administration of the Ontario Chicken Producers Marketing Plan and regulations under the Farm Products Marketing Act. Directors do not represent the specific interests of any constituency: Directors act and make decisions that are in the best interests of CFO as a whole."

So this begs the questions:
  1. Are Small Flockers and/or Artisanal Chicken Farmers "CFO farmer-members"?
  2. Will Artisanal Chicken Farmers be allowed to attend CFO meetings?
  3. Will Artisanal Chicken Farmers be allowed to vote for CFO DIrectors, and/or be nominated, run, be elected & hold office as a CFO Director?
  4. Will Artisanal Chicken Farmers be allowed to vote for Provincial District Committee Representatives (DCRs), and/or be nominated, run, be elected. & hold office as a Provincial District Committee Representatives (DCRs)?
  5. Will Artisanal Chicken Farmers be allowed to make, second, discuss, and vote for CFO motions, pleas for relief, and similar actions at CFO's AGM and other meetings, or directly to CFO's Board?
  6. Under what circumstances will Artisanal Chicken Farmers be sacrificed for the greater good of CFO and its farmer-members?
  7. Does the Artisanal Chicken Program put CFO and its Directors, and its DCR's into a conflict of interest with Artisanal Chicken farmers?  What are the detailed reasons, logic, and objective facts that support the answer to this important question?
  8. What will CFO's Board do is one farmer-member makes a motion at the CFO AGM to end the Artisanal Chicken program, another farmer-member seconds the motion, and a majority of farmer-members vote in favor?
It seems to me that Small Flockers and Artisanal Chicken Farmers are and will be in competition with the CFO's farmer-members.  What 's good for Artisanal Chicken farmers is not necessarily good for the CAFO quota-bearing CFO farmer-members.  Doing what is best overall for CFO is not necessarily fair, nor best for Artisanal Chicken Farmers.

Are Artisanal Chicken farmers stepping into a position as a second class chicken farmer, with no representation, no powers, no voice?  This sounds risky and un-democratic.

As an alternative, perhaps the Artisanal Chicken Program should be created by a ruling, order, or regulation passed by Ontario's Farm Product Marketing Commission ("OFPMC"), and CFO gets delegated the responsibility and authority to administer the 3 separate programs for all three groups of farmers (quota, Artisanal, and Small Flock) on an equal and fair basis.

If this isn't done, somebody will get burned when a conflict of interest arises; which will be continuously.

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