OTTAWA – The Harper government’s legislation to kill the Canadian Wheat Board’s (CWB) single desk marketing system is an anti-democratic and ideological attack on Western farmers, Liberal Agriculture and Agri-Food Critic Frank Valeriote, and Liberal Deputy Leader and former minister responsible for the CWB, Ralph Goodale, said today.
“The government’s decision to kill single desk selling is a clear violation of the Canadian Wheat Board Act, which insists on democratic producer control,” said Mr. Valeriote. “The Act also insists that any changes to the CWB must be made in consultation with their Board of Directors and with farmers directly, something this government has blatantly refused to do.”
The Harper government is proceeding with this legislation despite the fact that earlier this year, Western farmers voted convincingly to maintain the single-desk system in a plebiscite on the future of the CWB single desk marketing system.
“The CWB has been a strong advocate for Western farmers and is essential to Canada’s competitive advantage in world markets,” said Mr. Goodale. “With the passage of this bill, Prairie farmers will lose clout with grain and rail companies here at home and in markets around the world.”
In addition to the loss of an important voice for Western grain producers, Canada’s food sovereignty may also be at risk, said Mr. Valeriote.
“The sale of wheat without the Wheat Board may result in the loss of countless family farms and expose Canadian farmers to the risk of increased influence by foreign interests concerned primarily with their own food security – not Canada’s food sovereignty,” concluded Mr. Valeriote.