Truth and the Canadian Wheat Board

Waldeck - Friday, June 22, 2007 - by:Joyce Neufeld

David Anderson, Cypress Hills-Grasslands M.P. and Parliamentary Secretary for the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) to Minister of Agriculture & Agri-food Chuck Strahl, continues his attacks on the defenders of the CWB. Manitoba Minister of Agriculture Rosann Wowchuk (Herbert Herald Feb. 27), former CWB CEO Adrian Measner , NFU President Stewart Wells (Herbert Herald Mar. 6 ), CWB CEO Greg Arason (Barry Wilson, March 8/07 Western Producer.), Bruce Johnstone, Leader Post financial editor, (Leader Post Apr. 10/07) are among those Anderson has targeted as not telling the truth (‘liars’).

On May 17/07 Anderson was up to his old tricks by attempting to stop a motion coming forward from the NDP to the House of Commons Agriculture Committee, which called for the federal Auditor General to investigate the conduct and spending of the Harper government in its handling of the CWB.

However, these anti-democratic methods are nothing new to Anderson and Strahl.

The recent barley vote had no public voters list, no avenues to have scrutinees at the vote count, no clear boundaries as to what majority is required to indicate a victory, no clear question, no limit on third party spending, no secret ballot, and no assurances of safeguards to eliminate duplicate/fraudulent votes. Coincidentally, groups hostile to the CWB had a list and phone numbers of probable voters, Strahl’s gag order on the CWB preventing them from advising farmers the benefits of single desk selling, while Conservative M.P.’s purchased ads and distributed their version through mail, and some ‘farm entities’ received several ballots.

On October 25, 2006 the Task Force appointed by Strahl released its report, “Marketing Choice – The Way Forward”. Page 10 of that report states “The latter term (dual marketing) implies to some that the existing marketing approach (a CWB with monopoly powers) could co-exist with an open market approach. This is not possible”

Further to that, on January 22, 2007 The Minister of Agriculture confirmed that in order to assist “producers to make an informed decision” he had retained the services of three individuals, one of which is Dr. Murray Fulton of the University of Saskatchewan. Their task was to write a “short, objective description of each question” which will be provided to producers

In November 2006, Dr. Fulton released his study entitled, “The Canadian Wheat Board in an Open Market: The Impact of Removing the single desk selling powers”. Page 11 of Dr. Fulton’s study stated: “A dual marketing structure is not viable because of the incentives that are created as a consequence of the nature of the dual market. Interestingly, since a dual market is not viable, farmers will ultimately have no choice between marketing through a pool and marketing through the open market. Only the open market option will exist”

Despite this information from The Minister’s own hand picked individuals, and the fact that only 13.8% voted to sell Barley on the open market, Strahl and Anderson continue to insinuate others are ‘lying’.

Maybe it is time for the real liars to stand up!!


Joyce Neufeld


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