The Canadian Grain Commission has been holding User Fee Consultations across the country. Sessions were held this week in Saskatoon and Regina. The commission’s services are supposed to be run on a cost recovery basis, but there has been no increase to most of the fees since 1991. The fee revenue now accounts for only about half of the costs incurred. The shortfall is about $50 million a year. For the federal government, this is a good time to try to increase fees for grain inspection and weighing because grain prices are strong. However, farmers can make a strong argument that they shouldn’t have to pay the whole shot. Food safety, quality assurance and the maintenance of exports is a benefit for the entire country, not just farmers. Government money for the Canadian Grain Commission, including its Grain Research Lab is a way to support agriculture without running afoul of any international trade laws. Under World Trade Organization rules, this sort of government expenditure should be “Green Box,” meaning it is trade neutral. The process is on track for fees to increase in 2012. We should be telling the government that we’re willing to pay our fair share, but there’s also a public benefit, so there should be government cost sharing. I’m Kevin Hursh.