Saskatchewan, Canada, August 8, 2003:
The following email appeared in my inbox a few days ago.
It seems like such a good opportunity, but I am worried it
could all be a hoax. Perhaps readers could give some helpful
With due respect to your person I kindly wish to ask for
your attention and consideration just for a while.
My family and I are in dire need of assistance. Our late
grandfather, who was the paramount ruler of our farm and also
the undisputed leader of our region, left behind a great deal
of wealth and treasure which most of our elder uncles and
members of our family have for the past decades exploited
upon. By breaking up this virgin soil and developing a network
of small towns and communities complete with all the services
one's heart could desire, my late grandfather and his counterparts
paved the way for decades of prosperity. They developed marketing
institutions, research facilities and always understood that
they had to work together to maintain their way of life.
Unfortunately, the wisdom of my grandfather and his equals
seems to have dwindled away with each successive generation.
Now we are left with a situation whereby the great wealth
inherent in our farm and our rural way of life has been stolen
from us. It has been taken by the very people we trusted and
whom we also helped to attain great wealth. I am talking about
those people who for generations have sold us the very things
we need to continue our farm operation and who have bought
from us the fruits of our labors. Complicit in the actions
of these people have been our governments which have made
the rules that allow us to be exploited.
While we were busy running our farm and raising our family,
these sellers and buyers have increasingly joined together
through the marriages of their families, which they call mergers,
and the less congenial unions called hostile takeovers. The
end result has been that, where there used to be many buyers
and sellers, there are now only a few and they seem so friendly
with each other. This has caused an untold hardship on us.
Some of the vestiges of the old ways still persist. My grandfather
was involved in the development of a marketing agency, the
Canadian Wheat Board, that he entrusted to sell his wheat
for him. The enlightened rulers of his day decreed that this
Canadian Wheat Board should be the only seller of farmers'
wheat. That way, the buyers could not play us off against
Now, a small number of my uncles, who have apparently taken
leave of their senses, think that it would be better if the
Canadian Wheat Board were destroyed. Unfortunately, this fifth
column in our midst has a very powerful ally in the giant
neighbouring country to the south. That country, the United
States of America, wants to see the control of our grain industry
turned over to its multinational companies. It employs continuing
guerilla warfare against us in the form of trade harassment
and complaints to the World Trade Organization. It loses every
one of these actions, but these never-ending skirmishes are
bleeding us to death one bit at a time.
Now this same country has attacked our cattle herds, by refusing
to let them cross the border to graze, claiming they might
be sick. This is a much quicker way to bring us to our knees,
since these same cattle will eat us out of house and home
if we cannot send them across the border. Nor will the United
States tell us what we must do to satisfy its demands. You
can see what a predicament we are in!
But now, I am very happy and glad that our family attorney
just informed me in confidant that my late father, God rest
his soul, confined in him the secret by which we can regain
our prosperity and our former status.
The secret is a simple one which I am willing to share with
you in complete trust and confidence: farmers must begin again
to work together, and abandon their foolish independent ways
to defeat the power of the large companies that control our
I am writing to ask your kind assistance in regaining control
of our lost wealth. If you consent to join with me, I promise
you will share in the prosperity that is so rightfully ours.
This is the only opportunity for us to reclaim this treasure
and hand it over to the generations that succeed us and thereby
secure our future. If you please, you must urgently write
to me and let me know that you are on side. If you do not,
we will continue to be exploited by the ruthless and gigantic
companies that now are the only ones to prosper from our toils.
Awaiting your kind and anticipated consideration and co-operation.
© Paul Beingessner, firstname.lastname@example.org . The author
is a columnist, transportation consultant and third-generation
farmer in Truax, Saskatchewan.