Rethink the Canadian Wheat Board plan: Canadians are raising questions

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

Atkinson is pleased Ontario farmers, food policy analysts, Saskatchewan business leaders and others are starting raise questions about the governments plan for the Canadian Wheat Board.

Atkinson is appealing to Quebec farmers, consumers, environmental organizations, unions and the public to ask the government to rethink its plan for the Canadian Wheat Board.

Wheat prices up 64% over 12 months 

"July wheat rose for the third day, gaining 8.25 cents, or one per cent, to $7.9875 US a bushel by late afternoon on the Chicago Board of Trade. It jumped 4.1 per cent Monday. Wheat prices have gained 64 per cent over the last 12 months." CBC News, May 10, 2011

Put wheat board talk aside and focus on national farm strategy

"Now that Stephen Harper's Conservatives have their majority they can't blame Parliament any more for interrupting agriculture policy. . .  (But) it was wheat board business that came up when Harper's only agriculture minister so far began musing with reporters about what difference the Tory majority might make to farm policy in Canada," The Owen Sound Sun Times' Jim Algie wrote on May 11, 2011.

"The Conservative platform did make a priority of a defence of supply-management in trade talks, an obvious, philosophical inconsistency with the party's wheat board fixation. The platform also promised easier access for Canadian farmers to the latest fertilizer, pesticides and veterinary drugs. As well, it sought more money for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to improve food inspection and more money for export marketing efforts by government. It promised to seek harmony between Quebec and Canadian farm support programs," The Owen Sound Sun Times columnist wrote.

A look back at the election

"The bad news is with a majority Conservative government, changes are going to be made that some people aren't going to like. For example, ending the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on Western wheat and barley export sales -without a producer plebiscite, which the Tories would probably lose (based on the results of past CWB director elections). Despite what former agriculture minister Gerry Ritz says, winning a general election does not give the Tories licence to trample on the legitimate rights of the majority of producers, who support the CWB's single-desk system of marketing," Bruce Johnstone wrote for the Leader-Post.

CWB does much more for farmers than just sell their grain for them

The allure of the U.S. market has perhaps been the biggest driver in the campaign to end the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly.
But unless they tread lightly, it could be one of the first markets Canadian farmers lose after the federal Conservatives make good on their election promise," Laura Rance wrote for Winnipeg Free Press on May 7.

Wheat board: Time to call upon Premier Brad Wall

"It's again time to call upon Premier Brad Wall to save the grain industry in Saskatchewan and the farmers' marketing agency, the world-respected Canadian Wheat Board, just he did when our other major resource, potash, was being stolen from us by foreign companies. It's plain that the 13 federal Conservative MPs from Saskatchewan have been told to shut up, as during the potash issue," Avery Sahl wrote to the editor of the Regina Leader-Post.

The government argument
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Guest column
Waterloo Region Record, May 11, 2011