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In the life-just-ain’t-fair department

It has been a bummer of a winter so far. Okay, the spring-like weather across much of Western Canada has been good/great. But the country is well into calving season and seeding season isn’t that far away, and I have yet to be given any awards or titles, been snapped up for a senator, or won any of the major lottery prizes. What the heck is this?

First, a few weeks ago Joanne Buth, the president of the Canola Council of Canada was named a senator. She was whisked out of her Winnipeg office and given a seat in the Red Chamber in Ottawa. In mid-February I receive a federal government news release and photo and there she was in China with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and other luminaries like Fort Macleod, Alta. farmer Stephen Vandervalk, all talking trade deals. Nice!

I have a passport. No one asked me to go. I even have a Conservative calendar on my office wall (the numbers are a bit small so I had to fix that with a magic marker, but I get to look at Stephen and/or his office every day). You’d think that would be worth something.

And I have to wonder, what did Buth do to be a senator? Okay, so she knows how to grow canola. Big deal. So do I. You get your nice warm, moist seedbed, and good quality certified, high germ, high vigor seed.

And then seed shallow, seed early (I like 8 a.m.), seed at the proper rate, seed at the proper speed, apply proper nutrients (don’t forget the boron), apply your herbicide in a timely manner, evaluate your crop and apply disease control measures as needed, start swathing when you see 20 to 30 per cent seed color change, start combining about 10 days later, sell the crop and get a ride to the bank with your money in a Brinks truck. Bang, there it is. This is not rocket science.

When I first met Buth, quite a few years ago now, it was in some little producer meeting room in Leduc, Alta and she was peddling her new CD — the Canola Production Manual. The sound track was really boring. It didn’t even make the Top 50 on the Billboard chart. But obviously that didn’t hold her back from becoming a senator. (Did you know the Queen earned a gold album in 2006 for a soundtrack CD of Party at the Palace.)

So that was the first snub.

Then it got worse

In early February I read in the paper that Alberta veterinarian David Chalack received a Diamond Jubilee Medal in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s sixtieth anniversary of being crowned Queen. (Did you know the Queen has nine royal thrones — one at the House of Lords, two at Westminster Abbey and six at Buckingham Palace. I bet none are as comfortable as my old Sears recliner).

But, anyway, here is Chalack receiving this honour, along with a few other people. The guy is a veterinarian! When I first met him, a few moons ago, he was hunched over a microscope at Alta Genetics sexing embryos (blue ones on this side, pink ones on that side — how hard is that). His family are dairy farmers for cripes sake. But there he is at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, sort of like being knighted by the Governor General.

Chalack does wear a nice hat though. (Did you know the Queen, over her career, has worn about 5,000 different hats? She usually wears each one 20 to 30 times.) But, Chalack, the quiet, unassuming, you’d-barely-know-he’s-in-the-room guy always wears a Stetson. As chairman of the Calgary Stampede board it goes with the territory.

I was in Smithbilt Hats one day trying to boost/discover my cowboy image, and Chalack was also in the store looking for a new hat — it was getting close to Stampede time. I ended up with a white plasticy, $45 thing that repelled water and really held its shape even if you sat on it. He was looking in a different part of the store than I was. My wife wouldn’t let me wear mine. “Stupid” was one adjective she used.

And then I was really insulted a few weeks ago when I read that Prince Charles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, was awarded the title, “Oloishiru Ingishi” by the Maasai Tribe in Tanzania. The translation on that title is “the one who makes cows cry”. I know his mom has influence and is a real horse person, but I wonder if Prince Charles has ever even touched a cow.

I on the other hand have vast experience in this area. I have administered hundreds of vaccinations and even applied a few ear tags and brands over the years. I know I have made cows cry. But no aboriginal group I am aware of is lining up to give me a title.

And furthermore

On the lottery front, I can only be a little resentful that I haven’t won these recent $50 and $29 million Super7 and Loto 649 prizes, but I know it is totally a crapshoot. You don’t have to “BE” somebody to win those, it’s just the luck of the draw. Sometimes I think I would be just as far ahead to walk by the local convenience store, throw five dollars in on the floor and keep walking. (Did you know the Queen was trained as a driver and mechanic during the Second World War? It’s nice to know she has a career to fall back on if this Royal thing doesn’t pan out. Canadian Tire is always looking for good people.) †

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



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