Absolute Discharge For Farmer Hauling Own Wheat Across Border

Altario farmer Rick Strankman was given an absolute discharge on June 25 by a Winnipeg judge for illegally taking his own wheat in his grain truck and driving it across the Canadian border into the United States in 1996.

“I am pleasantly surprised” with the ruling, Strankman told The News in a telephone interview from his farm four miles south of Altario. He had been expecting some sort of monetary penalty for transporting the grain without a licence.

He was however fined $1,000 in connection with the incident in March 1996 when he and others moved grain from Lyletown, Manitoba to Antler, North Dakota during a protest.

Judge Ray Wyant of Manitoba Provincial Court ordered the fine because Strankman removed his seized grain vehicle from customs officials.

Strankman says the judge was sympathetic to the plight of farmers when the decisions were handed down, adding that a conditional discharge was at first being considered. That would have carried probation conditions.
Rick Strankman’s fight now shifts back to Alberta
where he is considering jail time instead of paying a fine.
©Provost News Photo.

Strankman is still contemplating what to do about a fine imposed earlier in Alberta after he made two similar crossings in July 1997 at Coutts, Alberta. He says that rather than paying fines imposed upon him in Alberta that he will consider going to jail.

The Altario man who has 100 beef cows and 3500 acres of crops growing this year says that he holds the Alberta judicial system in “disdain” for the way he was treated in this province where the “legal system is totally different” than Manitoba.

Strankman was originally fined $10,000 in Alberta for his actions but that amount was later reduced to $3,000. He has not paid the Alberta fine and says he is “still in a position to argue this.”

He asked that court proceedings in Alberta be put on hold pending the Manitoba case.

He praised the Manitoba judge that he met “six years after the fact” and claims that the public is now more aware of the reasons for the protest he and others took. He was—and is still advocating voluntary grain marketing choices.

There were originally 38 other people who belonged to a group called Farmers for Justice received similar charges like Strankman for taking part in the border crossings. Many of those have argued in other courts cases and one of them—Jim Ness of New Brigden, Alberta who is also still before the courts was given a summons to appear in Lethbridge on June 10. Strankman says that because Ness does not want to pay any fines, the Crown is preparing to seize some of his property. “He’s willing to spend some time in jail to highlight the issue” adds Strankman who wants to be at another court hearing for Ness on October 31.

The 43 year old is sorry for his actions only because of the monetary costs so far: ‘I would not take back my actions . . . I’m old enough to know better—and young enough to do it again.”

In the meantime Strankman is adding to his income this summer by flying his airplane spraying for grasshoppers in the area. He says that’s not anymore dangerous than hauling wheat across the border.

Print Version in July 3 Edition of The Provost News
Want to Subscribe to The Provost News? Click here..

Chamber Supports Idea of Pursuing World Class Archeological Interpretive Site

The idea of establishing a permanent interpretive site at Bodo where an archeological field school dig is taking place received the support of the Provost and District Chamber of Commerce on June 26.

Archeologist/anthropologist Terry Gibson, Ph.D., who represented the University of Alberta as director of the Archeology Field School talked to chamber members at a noon meeting and said that the Bodo find is “one of the largest in Western Canada” and that the area is rich in bison artifacts.

He says the site is unusual because it has never been disturbed and that there is the potential for a “world class interpretive park.”

Gibson says that as far as he knows there has never been a buffalo pound interpretive centre established in North America.

Full story in July 3 Edition of The Provost News
Want to Subscribe to The Provost News? Click here.

Local Woman Turns 100 Years Old
Story and Pictures in July 3 edition of The Provost News
Want to Subscribe to The Provost News? Click here.

Provost To Host Museums Alberta Advisors Next Week
Story and Picture in July 3 edition of The Provost News
Want to Subscribe to The Provost News? Click here.

Street Spokesman
We asked U of A Students "What Did You Learn At The Bodo Archeological Dig?"
Check out the July 3 edition of The Provost News for the answers.
Want to Subscribe to The Provost News? Click here.

This, along with many other stories and pictures can be found in this week's edition of The Provost News.
Subscribe to the award winning paper by clicking on this link and following the instructions on our secure on-line ordering centre.
Take me to the Secure On-Line Ordering Centre