Canadian Wheat Board key issues Commission canadienne du blé

Canadian Press photo. 
The government's Canadian Wheat Board plan is under fire in most prairie media reports but has been highly praised by Toronto-based national media.

La majorité des agriculteurs des Prairies ont voté pour que la Commission canadienne du blé et la FCA aurait accepté de signer la déclaration finale et le communiqué des ministres de l'Agriculture membres du Groupe de Cairns, à l'exception du passage sur la Commission canadienne du blé.

Media coverage is beginning to link the demise of the CWB with plans to weaken or eliminate supply management for dairy, egg and poultry producers.

Key issues include:
- profits transferred from farmers' monopoly to corporate oligopoly
- no transition plan and no business model for the new CWB
- distortion of facts by the federal government
- railway car supply for farmers
- impact on shortline railways, ports of Prince Rupert and Churchill
- rural voters in Manitoba and Ontario elect Conservatives based on social issues
- Canadian Federation of Agriculture and National Farmers Union support CWB
- no federal agriculture policy support for farmers
- fate of supply management boards for eggs, dairy, poultry etc.
- Doha negotiations
- rural depopulation
- price increases for consumers
- democracy
- farming as a way of life

CBWA Facts, Saskatchewan single desk selling of potash 

Can someone explain why Premier Brad Wall, now standing for re-election in Saskatchewan, was passionate about his support for single desk selling of potash yet he can hardly lift a finger to support the majority of farmers who just voted for single desk selling of their wheat and barley? For every dollar a farmer earns, he puts about eight dollars into circulation in the economy.  Ending the CWB is estimated to remove between 500 million to one and a half billion dollars from the western economy, and most of that will come out of Saskatchewan.
CBWA Facts, October 11, 2011

SRC, Stephen Harper : la fin inévitable du monopole de la CCB

Le premier ministre Stephen Harpera a annoncé vendredi, à Regina, que son gouvernement présentera une loi « très bientôt » à la Chambre des communes pour briser le monopole de la Commission canadienne du blé (CCB). « Il est temps pour la Commission canadienne du blé et d'autres qui ont fait obstacle à son abolition de se rendre compte que ce train a quitté la gare et file à vive allure. Vous êtes bien mieux d'embarquer que de vous tenir sur la voie, car ce projet va de l'avant », a-t-il poursuivi.
SRC, le vendredi 7 octobre 2011

Allen Oberg, CWB Chair, Family and farming

For the past year, my life has been pretty much revolved around the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB). When I became chair in June 2010, I never could have imagined the extent to which I would live and breathe the CWB every day for the next 12 months. Especially since the May 2 federal election, working on the CWB has been almost all-consuming.  During the course of our farmer meetings in August, my second grandson was born, and despite all that was going on, I was able to take some time to spend celebrating with my family and welcoming our newest member.

Two weeks ago, my father died suddenly.  His death made me pause and take some time off from the day-to-day.  I also took some time to reflect on the importance of family and the family farm.  I took over the farm from my dad in 1980. Dad never could leave the farm for too long though, driving out most every day just to have a coffee and hear the latest news from the machine shed or the fields. For him, farming wasn’t a job. Farming was a way of life, one that allowed him to raise a family and enjoy a good life.

Straight Goods, With or without the Wheat Board, Farmers can organize prices 

Even if Harper succeeds in his move to dismantle the Wheat Board, he cannot stop farmers from standing together. The difference between now and the 1930s, when the Wheat Board was first organized, is that now farmers can communicate quickly with one another, can agree on a base price for all members for their produce below which they will refuse to see to Traders, and if they stand together even informally, they can keep the price to a liveable standard. This is a stop gap until we get rid of Harper ...
Straight Goods, Muriel E Wiens, October 11, 2011

SRC, Le Syndicat national des cultivateurs conteste cette décision

Le gouvernement conservateur n'a jamais caché son désir de mettre fin au monopole de la Commission canadienne du blé. Stephen Harper estime que les producteurs de l'Ouest canadien devraient être libres de vendre leurs récoltes de blé et d'orge sur le marché à qui bon leur semble. Le Syndicat national des cultivateurs (NFU) conteste cette décision du gouvernement et estime que c'est aux agriculteurs de décider de l'avenir de la CCB. Il déplore également le manque de consultation.
SRC, le vendredi 7 octobre 2011

SRC, L'avenir de la CCB divise deux associations d'agriculteurs

Le National Farmers Union (NFU) critique ouvertement l'organisme manitobain Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) dans sa gestion de la sauvegarde de la Commission canadienne du blé. L'association pancanadienne d'agriculteurs NFU estime que KAP abandonne les fermiers manitobains lorsqu'il organise des pourparlers avec le gouvernement fédéral sur la fin annoncée du monopole de mise en marché du blé et de l'orge de la CCB.
SRC le jeudi 6 octobre 2011 

Reuters, Harper says law to end grain monopoly coming soon

Canada's Conservative government will pass legislation "very soon" to end the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on milling and exports of western wheat and barley, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday, strongly warning the board to get out of the way. "This is a historic change that has been long overdue," Harper said of the CWB's 69-year-old monopoly. "It's time for the Wheat Board and others who have been standing in the way to realize that this train is barreling down a Prairie track. You're much better to get on it than to lie on the tracks because this is going ahead."
Reuters, Rod Nickel, Oct 7, 2011

Winnipeg Free Press, Both sides in CWB debate fail to acknowledge reality

In the absence of a rational transition plan, there are rising concerns over the future of producer cars, short-line railways, the rail-freight revenue cap that protects farmers from gouging by the railways, the Port of Churchill and research programs supported by farmers through the board.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who has promised farmers they will have a "strong, viable" voluntary wheat board, is blaming the CWB board of directors for not coming up with a plan. The CWB says without access to capital or facilities, and no government willingness to facilitate that, there is no plan that will work.
Laura Rance, Winnipeg Free Press,  Oct 8 2011

Globe and Mail, Non-stop train ‘barrelling down’ on wheat board

“It’s time for the wheat board and others who have been standing in the way to realize that this train is barrelling down a prairie track,” the Prime Minister said. “You’re much better to get on it than to lie on the tracks because this is going ahead. It’s time for the wheat board to go out in a dual marketing environment, to cultivate its customers and provide a competitive service because those customers are going to have choice in the future.”
Gloria Galloway, Globe and Mail, October 7, 2011 

Manitoba Premier sees federal consensus-building role

Greg Selinger has just won a massive majority in Manitoba, but he’s not about to start throwing his political weight around. ... Even on the touchy topic of the future of the Canadian Wheat Board, which the federal government wants to dismantle, Mr. Selinger took a measured approach and seemed almost resigned to losing the battle. ...On Wednesday, he conceded there is little he can do to stop the government but he hopes to work out details that will benefit Manitoba. “Certainly they have a majority and if they want to pass that bill they can do that,” he said. “But we have a responsibility to make sure that Manitoba comes out of this better off than it was before.”
Paul Waldie, The Globe and Mail, Oct 6 2011

CWB, Hasty report underscores government's failure to plan for future

Allen Oberg, chair of the CWB's farmer-controlled board of directors, said: "The farmers of Western Canada expect and deserve serious analysis and planning from a government that is dismantling the most powerful farmers' marketing agency in the world. There is no plan or vision. Instead, with billions of dollars at stake and the clock ticking, this report simply tells us to hope for the best from the open market.

"The working group has not offered farmers concrete solutions to the inevitable marketing and logistical problems created by the Harper government's rush to deregulation. While the report acknowledges there will be challenges, it suggests that open-market forces will sort everything out.
Canadian Wheat Board, Oct. 4, 2011

Owen Sound Sun Times, More dependable farm programs key issue for Harper majority

The politics of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's plan to de-monopolize the Winnipeg-based Canadian Wheat Board just got interesting. .... Grain market weakness, should it develop beyond September warnings, will reveal once again the piecemeal methods by which Canadian governments have sought in recent years to support domestic agriculture. More consistent, more dependable national programs for the support of domestic agriculture; that's really the big agricultural policy issue for Harper's majority.
Jim Algie, Owen Sound Sun Times, Sept. 29. 2011

Winnipeg Free Press, Open-market trading by January?

Prairie farmers could be allowed to sell their wheat and barley on the open market by January. Open-market trading of Prairie wheat and barley could begin as early as January, a senior federal official told a Winnipeg agriculture industry audience Friday. But just what mechanisms will be in place by then to allow that to operate -- as well as every other component of the supply chain -- remains in question.

The Winnipeg Free Press story outlines questions about country elevators, railway car supply, producer cars and short line railways, port terminals and ports like Churchill and Prince Rupert.
Winnipeg Free Press, Martin Cash, Oct 1 2011

Marketwire, Harper Government Ensuring Grain Farmers' Access to Advance Payments Program

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced today that the Advance Payments Program (APP) for Western wheat and barley producers will now be delivered by the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA), who currently administer the program for over 20 other commodities in Western Canada.
"Canada's wheat and barley producers constantly adapt their operations to economic and weather realities and their ability to secure cash flow is an essential part of their business decisions," said Minister Ritz. "Our Government is taking clear and concise action so that wheat, durum, and barley farmers have access to the Advance Payments Program without disruption."
Marketwire, September 29, 2011

Reuters, Wheat board suffers new blow in battle for access to facilities

The Canadian government should avoid regulating access to Western Canada's grain-handling facilities once the Canadian Wheat Board loses its marketing monopoly next year, said a task force report released on Wednesday. "The minister and the government should give market forces every opportunity to work, and government intervention should be considered only as necessary to prevent anticompetitive behaviour," the report to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said. The report's recommendations, written by a government-appointed collection of farm groups, academics and government officials, will help the government plan the transition to an open market for Western Canada's wheat and barley.
Reuters, Rod Nickel, Sept. 29, 2011

Farmers Reap $35 Million in Transportation Savings

Western Canadian farmers saved $35 million in grain transportation savings during the previous crop year, through CWB programs designed to reduce producers' costs for moving their grain to port. "Farmers bear all the costs of grain transportation, so the CWB is constantly looking for ways to keep those costs down," said Bill Woods, a CWB farmer-elected director from Eston, Saskatchewan. "We are the largest shipper in Western Canada. This gives us negotiating power with grain handlers and railways."
Canadian Wheat Board, Sep 29 2011

Winnipeg Free Press, Report sees place for wheat board in market

A voluntary Canadian Wheat Board should continue to have a presence in the marketplace and government intervention should be considered only as a last resort, says a federal task force report released Wednesday. The 35-page report, filed to the federal agriculture minister, lists a number of recommendations on how the wheat, durum and barley business in Western Canada might work when the CWB loses its single-desk marketing monopoly.

CWB officials were not impressed. Bill Toews, a farmer-elected member of the CWB's board of directors, said the report is long on platitudes and possibilities, but contains few details on the direction the industry should go.
Martin Cash, Winnipeg Free Press, Sep 29 2011

Edmonton Journal, If marketing slips into hands of multinational corporations 

If the marketing of production comes solely into the hands of multinational companies such as Cargill or Viterra, it could have far-reaching effects. Darin Barney of McGill University states that the removal of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) could mean that "economic and social infrastructures of grain dependent rural communities could atrophy beyond repair, and an entire way of life will have been legislated out of existence."
Lynden Kjaer, Edmonton Journal, September 28, 2011

Edmonton Journal, Iowa farmers use forward contracting and hedging

A recent U.S. study by Wesley M. Nusser et al concluded that farmers in Iowa are now using forward contracting and hedging to manage risk and there is a growing need for educational programs on the use of futures. It also states that farmers "are likely to face increased price and income variability," and U.S. farm policy has decreased the emphasis on price supports and disaster assistance.
Lynden Kjaer, Edmonton Journal, September 28, 2011

UFCW Canada support NFU Campaign to Save Wheat Board

 The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) and the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) have joined a growing number of organizations and individuals in calling on Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz to immediately stop the Harper government's ideological attack on the Canadian Wheat Board.
UFCW Canada, September 27, 2011

SRC, Ottawa retire des pouvoirs à la CCB

Le gouvernement fédéral retire à la Commission canadienne du blé (CCB) la gestion du Programme de paiement anticipé (PPA) pour les producteurs de blé et d'orge de l'Ouest. La nouvelle a surpris la CCB, qui détient un monopole sur la mise en marché du blé et de l'orge. La fin prochaine de ce monopole a été annoncée par le gouvernement fédéral en mai dernier.
SRC Saskatchewan,  le 29 septembre 2011

Windsor Star, Grain prices will rise

There is a high probability that over the next few years consumers will pay much more for wheat and barley based food products. Furthermore, many smaller grain farmers and, indeed, their communities in Western Canada, probably will vanish. . . . Large and diverse agri-grain an agri-food industries now dominate the food industry globally. The largest is Bunge Ltd, of Whiteplains, N.Y. CEO Alberto Weisser said in Winnipeg that getting rid of the Wheat Board would be good for Canada "because the efficient farmer will become even more efficient."
Windsor Star,  Lloyd Brown-john, Sep 24 2011

Leader-Post, Australian Wheat Board model 

Is the AWB going to be model for the new CWB after Aug. 1, 2012? I certainly hope not. ... Australia is one of our biggest competitors in the world grain trade. Taking advice from the Australians about how to run the Canadian grain trade is a little asking the fox for security tips when building a chicken coop.

Moreover, the Australian Wheat Board is hardly a shining example of a successful conversion of a single-desk marketing agency into a voluntary grain pooling organization. ... Today, the AWB, as such, no longer exists, having been broken up and taken over by Canadian fertilizer company Agrium and U.S. agri-food giant Cargill.
Bruce Johnstone, Leader-Post, Sept. 24, 2011 

Globe and Mail, Paterson GlobalFoods Inc to cash in

When Ottawa removes the 76-year-old stranglehold the board has held on sales of Western wheat and barley, small independent terminals will be at risk of becoming marginalized. ... The big integrated grain handlers – such as Viterra Inc., Richardson International, and Cargill Inc. – are expected to capture efficiencies as they move bigger volumes through their pipelines. “We’ll do better than we do now,” says Mr. Paterson, 50, whose family firm has climbed to more than $1-billion in annual revenues. “Our best years were in the time before the wheat board,” and that pattern should reassert itself, he says.
Gordon Pitts, Globe and Mail, Sep. 23, 2011

Guelph Mercury, Wall Street Journal welcome the demise of the CWB

On Sept.13, the Wall Street Journal welcomed the impending demise of the Canadian Wheat Board, as “…more money goes back to farmers than under an open-market system.” As well, it reported that grain handlers such as Cargill Inc., Viterra Inc. and Bunge Ltd. could see their roles — and returns — in Canadian grain markets grow.”  There is a reason that the only voices lauding the decision to end the wheat board are those of CN Rail and the grain companies. Without the wheat board, which returns excess revenues to the pockets of farmers, the larger rail and grain companies like CN, Cargill and Richardson International, who can sustain their own networks, will finally have access to those farmers’ profits. In the wake of the Ritz’s pronouncements on the death of the wheat board, shares in Viterra nearly doubled.
Frank Valeriote MP, Guest column, Guelph Mercury,  Sep 22 2011

Election gave us mandate to kill Wheat Board: Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday the May election, in which his party won the overwhelming majority of Western Canada's rural seats, trumps a "so-called plebiscite" of farmers suggesting strong opposition to the government's plan to terminate the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on wheat and barley sales.  The government didn't include its CWB plans in a list of priority legislative items provided Monday by House leader Peter Van Loan for the autumn parliamentary sitting ...
Peter O'Neil, Postmedia News, Sept. 19, 2011

QMI Agency, No market for genetically modified wheat, CWB says

Canadians needn't worry about genetically modified bread winding up on their kitchen table any time soon despite the global push to start experimenting with genetically altered wheat to feed the world's growing population. Canadian wheat farmers aren't pushing for GM wheat because there simple is no market for it, the marketing group in charge of one Canada's top exports said just days after the British government approved trials on GM wheat starting next year.
Stefania Moretti, QMI Agency, September 19, 2011

Guelph Mercury, Farmers ignored in push to scrap wheat board

The optics are lousy in regard to the federal government looking to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board. At a Guelph event last week, Canada’s parliamentary secretary for agriculture said Ottawa will follow its stated course in eliminating the wheat board’s monopoly for selling and marketing grain crops in spite of opposition from the nation’s farmers. The Harper government has asserted that because it won a majority government and was a power in the Prairies it received a mandate to do away with this board, which, to be sure, has many opponents and has long had them.
Guelph Mercury, September 18, 2011

La Terre de chez nous, La FCA à l'encontre des leaders agricoles

Notre position, et celle du gouvernement canadien, est qu'il doit y avoir un équilibre entre les secteurs nationaux et les secteurs d'exportation en agriculture dans le cadre des négociations de la ronde de Doha de l'Organisation mondiale du commerce, a déclaré le président de la FCA, Ron Bonnett. Nous n'avions pas le sentiment que le communiqué final tenait adéquatement compte de la nécessité d'obtenir ce résultat équilibré."  La rencontre des leaders agricoles s'est tenue en marge de la 36e réunion ministérielle du Groupe de Cairns. M.Bonnett ainsi que les producteurs de lait, de volailles et d'oeufs du Canada ont félicité le ministre canadien de l'Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, qui coprésidait cette rencontre, pour sa défense et sa promotion de résultats équilibrés à l'OMC ainsi que d'un commerce reposant sur des règles et de solides bases scientifiques. M. Bonnett a par ailleurs signalé à la Terre qu'il aurait accepté de signer la déclaration finale et le communiqué des ministres de l'Agriculture membres du Groupe de Cairns, à l'exception du passage sur la Commission canadienne du blé.

Jean-Charles Gagné, La Terre de chez nous, le 15 septembre 2011

La Terre de chez nous, Les producteurs de l'Ouest votent pour le monopole

Les producteurs de blé des Prairies ont voté à 62 % pour le maintien du monopole de la Commission canadienne du blé (CCB) sur la vente de blé.
Un total de 22 764 producteurs ont voté en ce sens contre 14 059 qui souhaitaient plutôt la fin du monopole (38 %) et la mise en place d'un libre marché. Rappelons que le blé fourrager vendu au Canada est déjà en vente libre. Le vote a été plus serré pour l'orge alors que 51 % des producteurs veulent le maintien de la situation actuelle de monopole (l'orge fourragère étant déjà commercialisée individuellement). Quelque 49 % des producteurs d'orge ont toutefois exprimé le souhait que l'orge soit retirée du monopole de la CCB et vendue dans un marché ouvert.
Thierry Larivière, La Terre de chez nous, le 15 septembre 2011

La Presse canadienne, La majorité des agriculteurs des Prairies ont voté pour que la Commission canadienne du blé
La majorité des agriculteurs des Prairies ont voté pour que la Commission canadienne du blé (CCB) conserve son monopole sur la vente du blé et de l'orge. Un peu plus de 60 % des producteurs de blé et 51 % des producteurs d'orge ont voté en faveur du monopole. Environ 55 % des producteurs de blé et 47 % des producteurs d'orge ont participé au scrutin.  
La Presse canadienne, le 13 septembre 2011

Canadian Federation of Agriculture supports CWB 

“The government’s stated plan to dismantle the single-desk is a monumental change. The (Canadian Federation of Agriculture) believes the farmers’ voice in the single-desk issue should be formally represented and respected, as any change to the single-desk would directly impact the business plans and livelihoods of farmers across Western Canada. No changes should be made without a proper process that would poll the farmers` opinion in a transparent and democratic fashion. The CFA applauds the Canadian Wheat Board’s work in holding a plebiscite in the absence of a federal option to ensure farmers have a voice in the issue and urges government to respect the results,” said CFA President, Ron Bonnett.
CFA, September 12, 2011

New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, Stay out of chicken war

New Brunswick's "chicken war" took on a new dimension Saturday, when about 100 chicken processors held an impromptu protest outside a Conservative Party fundraising dinner. The "war" is a commercial dispute between New Brunswick's only chicken slaughterhouse and its largest poultry producer. Processors say the producer is trying to mount an end-run around supply-side management of agriculture by creating an egg-to-table poultry operation. The producer says it's just introducing competition.
Telegraph-Journal, Editorial, Sep 14 2011

Winnipeg Free Press, Wheat board, Ritz at odds over vote

The results of a plebiscite sponsored by the agency were released Monday.
The results are not binding but give the board a moral victory over its opponents and the federal government, which is planning to end the agency's 70-year-old monopoly. "Farmers have voted in overwhelming numbers to retain a unique and valuable marketing structure," said CWB chairman Allen Oberg.
"(Agriculture Minister Gerry) Ritz has been saying since May that the (federal) election gave him all the mandate he needs to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board, but now we know otherwise. There is no mandate from farmers to strip away their marketing power and hand it over to the private companies."
Winnipeg Free Press, Mia Rabson and Martin Cash,  Sep 13 2011

Winnipeg Free Press, CWB plebiscite results

Wheat producers:
-- 62 per cent: Wish to maintain the ability to market all wheat, with the continuing exception of feed wheat sold domestically, through the CWB single-desk system. (22,764 producers)
-- 38 per cent: Wish to remove the single-desk marketing system from the CWB and sell all wheat through an open-market system. (14,059 producers)

Barley producers:
-- 51 per cent: Wish to maintain the ability to market all barley, with the continuing exception of feed barley sold domestically, through the CWB single-desk system. (6,283 producers)
-- 49 per cent: Wish to remove the single-desk marketing system from the CWB and sell all barley through an open-market system. (6,014 producers)

Turnout: 56 per cent overall
-- 55 per cent wheat growers
-- 47 per cent barley growers
-- 60 per cent wheat and barley growers
Winnipeg Free Press, Mia Rabson and Martin Cash,  Sep 13 2011

Winnipeg Free Press, Farmer's right to access a railcar

Efforts by farmers to bypass local elevators by booking rail cars and shipping their own grain to market were thwarted because the railways would only serve grain companies. That changed, sort of, with passage of the Manitoba Grain Act in 1900, which enshrined a farmer's right to access a railcar.
Laura Rance, Winnipeg Free Press,  Sep 10 2011

Winnipeg Free Press, 14 short-line railways 

Most of the railway branch lines have been ripped up. Farmers are once again feeling captive. Once a farmer has loaded a semi and hauled grain 100 kilometres or so to the nearest grain terminal, how likely is it that he or she will turn around and go elsewhere if the offered price is unsatisfactory? Not surprisingly, producer-car use has surged again over the past 15 years or so as farmers invest in their own grain-loading facilities to bypass the country elevator system. There are 120 producer-car loading sites scattered across the Prairies.
Not only that, but producer-car shippers have been the main investors in the 14 short-line railways that now exist across the West. Using these cars not only saves farmers between $600 to $1,200 per 100-tonne car in handling costs, it considerably shortens the distance they have to haul their grain by road.
That added bit of competition in the system has one other advantage, one that even benefits farmers who don't use producer cars. In a bid to get the grain, handling companies have been much more aggressive in offering trucking subsidies to their farm clients.
Laura Rance, Winnipeg Free Press,  Sep 10 2011

La Presse canadienne, La majorité des agriculteurs des Prairies ont voté pour que la Commission canadienne du blé

La majorité des agriculteurs des Prairies ont voté pour que la Commission canadienne du blé (CCB) conserve son monopole sur la vente du blé et de l'orge. Un peu plus de 60 % des producteurs de blé et 51 % des producteurs d'orge ont voté en faveur du monopole. Environ 55 % des producteurs de blé et 47 % des producteurs d'orge ont participé au scrutin.  
La Presse canadienne, le 13 septembre 2011

Canadian Wheat Board: Politicians Must Stand Up for Farmers

I spoke with a woman following the Brandon Chamber of Commerce (or CJOB radio infotainment talk show) leaders forum with McFadyen, Selinger, and Gerrard on Monday. She gave me her opinion of Hugh McFadyen's response to farmers and Manitoban's over the Federal Government meddling in the affairs of the elected Canadian Wheat Board Directors.  She thought it unwise to vote for McFadyen because he would not question things that the federal government proposes.  Another woman I spoke with whose brother is a dairy farmer thought that changing the CWB would be okay if we saw the plan from Minister Ritz. She was surprised when I told her that farmers currently have the freedom to sell their grain through the CWB Producer Direct Sales program.
Ian L. Robson, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, September 16, 2011

BNN, Great news for the big grain handlers

BNN Anchor: What does (scrapping CWB) mean for investors and ag stocks in Canada? Brett Harris, Calgary bureau: “It’s great news if in fact the wheat board is scrapped, great news for the big grain handlers….”  CCPA economist Armine Yalnizyan reports: "He goes on to talk about how this will boost earnings of these big grain handlers in range of 6 to 9% (“could make them a takeover target”), more access of these big players to rail cars, access to which has been controlled by the Wheat Board. New companies from south of the border, like Bunge Limited, have there interested piqued, many of which are not publicly traded companies, but multinational."
Business Network News, Sep 12, 2011

The Conservative Party’s Fair-Weather Democrats

The attack on the legitimacy of the farmers’ plebiscite and the disdain that both Harper and Minister Ritz display for this instance of producer direct democracy is all the more hypocritical due to both Harper and Ritz’s Reform Party history.  ... While Harper has not been as vocal an advocate for forms of direct-democracy as he was in the past, it was only as little as six years ago that Harper vowed to “sweep the west” with his plan of direct democracy and electoral reform. Only four short years ago, Harper backed a plan that would have provincial plebiscites determine Senate appointments. Furthermore, the last CWB plebiscite, ordered and controlled by the Harper Conservatives, was deemed a perfectly acceptable means to decide the fate of the Wheat Board, despite being littered with a litany of dirty tricks that would make Machiavelli blush.
Simon Enoch, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Sept. 9, 2011

Canadian Wheat Board video documents this summer's pleblescite.
(WEKASQJ95D73 technorati)