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UPDATE: Council of Canadians supports the Canadian Wheat Board

The National Farmers Union says, “The federal government is planning to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk authority effective August 1, 2012, in defiance of existing legislation that requires a farmer vote before making any changes to the CWB’s single desk. The CWB held a plebiscite of its own to provide an opportunity for farmers to express their preference on the single desk question. Results were announced on September 12 and showed that a clear majority of farmers support the single desk.” They add, “Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has stated repeatedly that he will not recognize the results of the voluntary plebiscite… Instead he plans to introduce legislation to end the CWB’s single desk authority in the fall session of Parliament.”

Today, the Council of Canadians signed a letter of support for the NFU campaign to defend the CWB. That letter states, “The CWB provides fair, equitable, reliable and cost-effective service to farmers. The existence of the CWB provides stability in uncertain times, and is a foundation of Canada’s grain sector. Ending the single desk authority of the CWB would throw western agriculture into turmoil and would transfer wealth created by Canadian farmers to big private, often foreign-owned grain companies instead of being returned to farmers and spent in their communities.”

The Council of Canadians has long supported the Canadian Wheat Board. In 2005, a report we produced stated that, “The Government of Canada should maintain the Canadian Wheat Board and supply-management mechanisms that support family farms, protecting them from the prejudiced impact of international trade agreements.” In 2006, we spoke against the threat by then-Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl to fire the Canadian Wheat Board president unless he agreed to an open market for wheat and barley farmers.

The NFU letter also highlights, “Canada’s political system is built on representative democracy. This means that the law, not merely the person in power, is to be respected and followed. The CWB Act is a law made by Parliament, and it contains a clause that requires a farmer vote before any substantive changes are made to the single desk authority. Our current government has stated it is ready to eliminate this requirement, or perhaps repeal the whole Act, in order to avoid such a vote. This is deeply concerning, as it strikes at the heart of our Canadian democracy.”

The full letter can be read at http://www.nfu.ca/cwb/2011_sign-on_letter.pdf. To add your name as an individual to this letter, please go to https://www.cwb.ca/db/corp/petition.nsf/onlinepetitionWeb?OpenForm. If you live in Manitoba, go to this web link, http://www.gov.mb.ca/farmers/. You are also encouraged to write your Member of Parliament.

For more, go to http://www.nfu.ca/.