Monday, December 11, 2023
On the Road with Mike MurchisonOpinion/ColumnTrucking

Is the sun setting on the Canadian Way?

Photo: Mike Murchison

The biggest cry we hear these days goes like this:

“I can’t believe the price of groceries.” No question, they are climbing. The usual culprits: inflation, bad government policies, wages and supply chain malfunctions.

Never thought I would see the price of a loaf of bread cost seven dollars. Nor did I imagine ground beef upwards of ten dollars per pound.

When I was in Grade 7, I remember doing Social Studies about Russia and how or how not the Communist ideologies worked. My eyes would read through chapters of how the system operates, including the repression, but most of all I would gaze at black and white photos of people waiting in lines on cold winter days to get basic items such as bread, milk and a bit of beef or soup.

Living and growing up in Canada, I could not fathom such a way of life happening here. No –  our governments couldn’t,  wouldn’t let such things happen. We are a free nation, a nation of plenty with generous hearts.

Wow! Things have changed since those days back in Grade 7, Which was some forty years ago.

I don’t have to tell you or explain how we got here where we are. You all know about the existence of poverty, food banks, unemployment. The growing population of our country and a governing system that in many ways is broken on many levels.

I am one who believes in a capitalist system: you work hard,  you eat. You earn your dollars. But having said that I am one who holds the opinion that if I succeed then it my duty to share my successes, wealth and skills with those less fortunate. 

Some would see it as socialism. Some would see it as charity. Some might even look at it as welfare, which can put a bad taste in the mouths of some.

Our governments have set terrible examples by squandering taxpayer dollars and allowing debt to mount; printing money only to hike interest rates.

We as consumers have often followed their lead by buying what we often “want” as opposed to what we truly “need,: causing households to carry the biggest debt load in this country. It’s sad, tragic and disheartening. 

I work in the Agricultural sector. I deal with farmers, grain buyers, truckers and the like. I hear their stories about how the cost of doing business keeps going up. The grocery suppliers blame their suppliers saying their costs are rising yet holding firm to their targeted 30 per cent profit margins without giving an inch to lower prices.

And our government: defending fiscal policies, new taxes all the while selling them as being in the “best interests of all Canadians.”

I’m sure the single Mom, the unemployed Dad or the many of thousands of Canadians working and having to juggle bills, food and gas costs take comfort in that.

I don’t normally write about what’s wrong with things. However , as I hear the radio wailing away about this great product, this great deal this great gift idea, I cant help but feel a sense of resignation wondering why all this time of year is the time we hear the most pitches about helping others, charities as well as peace on earth and good will to all.

From my veiwpoint up in the cab, on a day-to-day basis and year round, I see a lot of unfairness and struggle, a lot of folks just getting by. So why push the warm fuzzy sales pitch just one month per year?

The bins in the photo are full of wheat. Harvested this past fall. Over 90 per cent of it is sold to companies who will use it to produce bread, pastas, cereals, pet food, etc. All things that will find their way to the grocery store shelves. Thousands of bushals.

Seems like enough to go around when you consider that facilities like the one in the photo are scattered across the country.

Yet, believe it or not, there will more hard working people finding themselves at foodbanks, this season and beyond  Not because they are lazy or out of work, but because the ends just are not meeting.

They’ve done all they were asked. They educated themselves, got up each morning, went to work, paid their taxes. They contributed.

But something went wrong. Something is wrong. A simple way of life is disappearing faster than we can hang onto it.

So the “Good Will to All” phrase….take it to heart. Burn it into your mind. . If you have , then share. If you’re  bored, then volunteer.  If you can, then just do. Not just now but all throughout the year.

Grade 7 was a long, long time ago but like those breadlines in Russia I read about….history does and will repeat itself. Maybe that is what we are seeing now.


The whole is greater than the sum of its  parts