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Letters to the Editor

By Staff | Jun 19, 2015

Taxes and Death

I’ve heard these two things are inevitable. How about death to taxes for a while? Alaska residents enjoy no, none, not any property or sales tax and we produce more oil than they do. Who cares? I am writing to voice my frustration with the recent hiring of the OUT OF STATE tax accessors who were roaming around our streets lately. I am sure they were not hired to lower our tax. There must have been a great and over whelming potential for income to bring in such a mob like that and let them swarm the streets of Rugby. They even had the gall to ask if they could look inside my house!

After working so hard to build a house it is kind of a fine, “how do you do?”, to get slapped in the face with a $2,600 yearly property tax. I am sure nobody really cares and this will fall on deaf ears and I am sure every one is saying, “Oh, we all must pay our fair share”. What is fair share anymore? I think it is just something that rhymes. Is the American dream alive any longer?

I am thinking I may have to sell out and move the the moon, or maybe Russia, but I am not sure if there is much painting to do over there.

David Halvorson,


As Canada’s Consul General for North Dakota and the Upper Midwest, I lead a team that works to grow two-way business relationships, and engage with decision-makers and citizens on issues that matter to both our countries.

Canada is the #1 customer for 35 U.S. states, including North Dakota – by a long shot. Canada purchases 78% of all that North Dakota sells to the world, more than all other markets combined. 28,500 North Dakotans have jobs supported by trade and investment with Canada. This is quite significant for North Dakota’s agricultural sector, as Canada buys 49% of the state’s total agriculture and agri-food exports each year.

For many years, American feedlots and processing plants have imported cattle and hogs from Canada to raise and process them in the United States. In turn, Canadians buy $1 billion in US beef and $900 million in US pork, on an annual basis. This integrated trade in livestock helps American plants run at full capacity, which supports jobs, families and communities on both sides of the border.

Unfortunately, mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) on beef and pork puts this in jeopardy.

COOL requires the segregation of livestock and its meat at each step of the supply chain. This imposes additional costs on farmers, ranchers and ultimately consumers. According to U.S. industry, there is a risk that thousands of American jobs will be lost and that vulnerable meat packing establishments will close. One study finds a potential loss of 9,000 jobs in the U.S. packing industry alone from COOL. It is for this reason that a large and growing domestic coalition has expressed its opposition to COOL.

Because COOL causes economic discrimination against Canada, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has repeatedly and definitively ruled that COOL violates international trade obligations, and undermines our shared North America prosperity. On June 4, Canada asked the WTO to authorize C$3 billion per year in measures against U.S. exports to Canada. Retaliatory tariffs will have a significant impact on $150 million in North Dakota exports to Canada, including ethanol, glucose, frozen fries, and pasta.

On June 10, members of the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill, H.R. 2393, to repeal COOL for beef, pork and poultry.It is now up to the Senate to act. I hope you will join me in looking to North Dakota’s Senators to take prompt, decisive action to protect our valuable trading relationship.

COOL is not about food safety. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed this. COOL measures for beef and pork serve protectionist objectives and result in discrimination against your largest trading partner.

After seven years of fighting, it is time to listen to American businesses and workers, and end this harmful policy. We need to restore the integrated and highly successful North American livestock sector, to the benefit of producers, processors, consumers, and the economy on both sides of the border.

Jamshed Merchant began serving as Canada’s Consul General in Minneapolis in October 2012. He is Canada’s senior representative in the Upper Midwest states of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Jamshed leads a team of professionals building two-way trade and investment ties, engaging decision-makers and citizens on a range of issues important to both countries and helping Canadians living and travelling in the region.

Jamshed started his career as a faculty lecturer in Geography at McGill University in Montreal in 1979. In 1983, he joined the Alberta government’s Ministry of the Environment as a soil scientist working on land reclamation. From 1985 to 2001, Jamshed worked with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as a soil conservationist in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Between 2003 and 2007, Jamshed worked with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (Canada’s equivalent of the Office of Management and Budget). He returned to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2007 and was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister of the Agri-Environment Services Branch in 2008 (Canada’s equivalent of the Natural Resources Conservation Services branch at the USDA).

Jamshed graduated from the University of East Anglia (U.K.) in 1977 with a degree in Environmental Science, and received his Master’s in Pedology and Soil Survey at the University of Reading in 1978. He is married to Pheroza, and they have three children, Sohrab, Jehangir and Shireen.

Jamshed Merchant,

Canada Consul Gen.

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