Commission canadienne du blé, Canadian Wheat Board

“Canada must protect this strategic resource called food," says Roy Atkinson, CM retired executive director of the National Farmers Union.

Le chef du NPD fait de la place aux nouveaux dans son cabinet fantôme

« Quant au vétéran Pat Martin, une sorte d'Amir Khadir dont la verve et les remarques incisives font sa marque de commerce, il n'obtient que le poste de critique pour la Commission canadienne du blé » Hélène Buzzetti a rapporté pour le Devoir le 27 mai.

MP Pat Martin vows fight on CWB changes

"The government is in for the fight of its life over its plans for the Canadian Wheat Board, new NDP wheat board critic Pat Martin said Thursday. Martin, the MP for Winnipeg Centre, was assigned to the role Thursday when leader Jack Layton announced his NDP shadow cabinet in Ottawa," Mia Rabson reported for the Winnipeg Free Press on May 27, 2011.

"We're gearing up for a full-pressure, fight-back campaign," said Martin. Some fear eliminating the monopoly will be the death knell for the CWB, which will have to compete for sales with private grain companies with deeper pockets. Martin said if the CWB goes, so too will rail lines in Manitoba, the port of Churchill and major companies like Cargill and Viterra. "It's going to be devastating," said Martin. "There's going to be a great big hole in the heart of corporate Winnipeg." The CWB head office in Winnipeg employs about 500 people," the Winnipeg Free Press reported.

Banque Scotia, indice des produits agricoles, 459 $ US la tonne 

« Le secteur des produits agricoles pourrait être un de ceux qui connaîtront le meilleur rendement d'ici la fin de 2011, vu la forte demande pour les engrais et l'équipement agricole. Le prix à l'exportation demandé par la Commission canadienne du blé pour le blé de première qualité est remonté à 459 $ US la tonne en avril (une augmentation de 73,4 % en glissement annuel) en raison de la sécheresse qui sévit dans les plaines du sud des États-Unis et qui menace la récolte du blé d'hiver. Les inondations au Manitoba et le temps pluvieux dans l'est de la Saskatchewan ont aussi retardé les semis dans l'ouest du Canada, bien que la Russie ait annoncé la fin de semaine dernière qu'elle lèvera son interdiction sur les exportations. » Banque Scotia a rapporté le mai 30, Telbec-CNW.

The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance 

The Alliance is a politically non-partisan organization focused specifically on the Canadian Wheat Board. The Alliance draws memberships from throughout the Wheat Board area. Members of the Alliance recognize the advantages the Board brings to producers through the single desk and price pooling, quality assurance through the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), as well as the important role the CWB plays as an advocate for farmers in transportation, producer cars, and on the world stage such as at the WTO negotiations.

Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association: Supported by industry and the Conservative party

"There have been a lot of anti-Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) articles over the last few years spawned by the Conservative Government’s position to end the CWB.In most of these articles the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association (WCWGA) is quoted. It appears to the reader this organization represents all farmers, which is not the case. Here is what I understand about the WCWGA. They have about 400 members not restricted to farmers. They receive funding from grain industry companies and, believe it or not, well over $100,000 from the Conservative government. In effect, two, maybe three companies would control the western Canadian grain industry and the export terminals through foreign-controlled corporations if there were no Canadian Grain Act and no CWB," Doug Hollands wrote to the editor of the Edmonton Journal on May 28, 2011.

Minister Ritz "an open market for the grain industry by the industry-suggested date of August 2012"
"We recognize that this is a complex process which is why we will consult with all levels of the grain industry, including the Canadian Wheat Board, and continue to put the best interests of farmers first.We understand the need for clarity and certainty which is why I am aiming to provide an open market for the grain industry by the industry-suggested date of August 2012," Hon. Gerry Ritz wrote to the editor of the StarPhoenix, on May 26, 2011.

Consider what happened: Australian Wheat Board, Oats removed from the CWB

The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance says: "Others think we can have a Wheat Board that is not a single desk seller. They believe a CWB without inland elevators, terminal elevators at port or any capital can compete by asking its competitors to handle grain it has a sale for.They are really saying the CWB should establish a price, which they and their friends can undercut to compete for sales. This idea has just been tried in Australia. It has also been tried in Canada several times. Remember what happened when oats was removed from the CWB? A Look back at the Oat Debacle."

Larry Weber of Weber Commodities  

"StarPhoenix: What's your position on the Canadian Wheat Board issue? Larry Weber: My position is quite well-known. I'm a free-trade, free-enterprise advocate and have been my entire life. I believe that it's in farmers' best interests if they can manage their own crops that they grow. I do not subscribe to the theory that the board needs a monopoly to survive. It's going to be interesting to see how the board reacts to this Conservative government with a majority. It's a $5-billion to $8-billion corporation - and a corporation with that much sales has to have a disaster recovery plan, and if they haven't planned for the day that they were going to lose the monopoly, they're doing their supporters a huge disservice. So hopefully the have Plan B. If they don't have Plan B then it has been an absolute travesty because I know of no corporation that has that multitude of sales that does not have a disaster recovery plan," Cassandra Kyle wrote for the StarPhoenix on May 26 2011.

Cargill, $116.6 billion annual sales, CWB $7.9 billion

"Free market for the grain industry looks like this: in 2009 annual US dollars of world sales, here is how it stacks up: Cargill, $116.6 billion; Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), $69.2 billion; Bunge, $52.5 billion; Louis Dreyfus, $34.0 billion; ConAgra, $12.7 billion; Viterra, $6.6 billion; Canadian Wheat Board, $7.9 billion," Doug Hollands wrote to the editor of the Edmonton Journal on May 28, 2011.

Keep the Canadian Grain Act and the Canadian Wheat Board

"Where do we go from here? In short, replace the four politically appointed directors with farmer-elected directors. Only then will we see the CWB reach its maximum benefit for farmers and Canadians. What is not mentioned in The Journal article is the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC). It, too, will go if the Grain Act is changed. The CGC is one of the most valued parts of the Western Canada grain industry. In effect, it is responsible for the quality control of our wheat and barley and sets the standard for Canadian grains on the world market. With it gone, industry self-regulation would not be sufficient to maintain our position in world grain markets which means fewer dollars in farmers’ pockets," Doug Hollands wrote to the editor of the Edmonton Journal on May 28, 2011.

No net benefit to Canadians

"Recently, the Harper government applied the “no net benefit to Canadians” when turning down the sale of Potash Corporation, a foreign-controlled publicly traded corporation, to another foreign-controlled publicly traded corporation. Why, then, would the same Harper government do away with the Canadian Wheat Board, as it has vowed to do and, in effect, turn the Canadian grain industry over to foreign-controlled multinational corporations? Surely there is no “net benefit to Canadians.” I suggest it would be a tremendous net loss to Canadians," Doug Hollands wrote to the editor of the Edmonton Journal on May 28, 2011.

Why is Minister Ritz afraid of CWB vote?

"I wonder why Ritz is afraid to have this vote. If wheat and barley producers, in response to a clear question, vote to forego the single-desk system, then the minister would have the support he needs to make this change. If a majority vote to retain the current system, then Ritz would be spared from making a serious error. It is entirely possible that a majority would vote to retain the current system. After all, the CWB has successfully created, maintained, protected, and promoted the Canadian brand of wheat and barley. Customers all over the world recognize this brand. The CWB's product differentiation strategy allows producers to obtain a premium price. Many western Canadian producers recognize that standing alone, they are powerless price-takers, while acting together through the wheat board, they, on the whole, can do much better. In a marketplace dominated by exceptionally large players, there is a strong business case for the CWB. In the absence of the single-desk system, the CWB's survival would require a massive investment in grain terminals for CWB wheat and barley. If the government decides to take away the single-desk system, it should, at a minimum, provide time and resources for the CWB to put this infrastructure into place," Morina Rennie wrote to the editor of the Leader-Post on May 28, 2011.

MP David Anderson, secretary to the CWB minister, Western Economic Development Hon. Lynne Yelich 

"Cypress-Grasslands MP David Anderson, who served as parliamentary secretary to the minister of natural resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board and Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre MP Tom Lukiwski, parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, kept their posts from the last Parliament.  … Parliamentary secretaries get an additional $15,834 on top of their base salary of $157,731 a year. … Saskatchewan's representation in the federal cabinet remained the same of course, with Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Minister of State for Western Economic Development Lynne Yelich reappointed. Ritz was also named to sit on cabinet's operations committee, which oversees the day-to-day operations of the government, and the cabinet committee on economic prosperity and sustainable growth," James Wood reported for the the StarPhoenix on May 30.

No. 1 grade wheat US$459 per tonne in April

"After edging down in March, the Agricultural Index rallied back strongly in April (up 5.5 per cent m/m). Agricultural commodities may be one of the best performing sectors over the balance of 2011, pointing to strong demand for fertilizers and agricultural equipment. The Canadian Wheat Board's asking export price for No.1 grade wheat rebounded to US$459 per tonne in April (up 73.4 per cent y/y) amid dry conditions in the U.S. Southern Plains, which threaten the winter wheat crop. Flooding in Manitoba and wet weather in eastern Saskatchewan have also delayed planting in Western Canada, though Russia announced last weekend that it will lift its ban on exports.  Both cattle and hog prices moved to new record highs. High feed grain prices (corn, barley) suggest only limited herd rebuilding in the United States and Canada in the coming year," Scotia Bank reported on Canada NewsWire on May 30, 2011.