It is clear Chuck Strahl and the Harper government take the western farm vote for granted. They are running a plebiscite which, even though they have gone some distance toward fixing the results, they are prepared to ignore.
As reported in a recent Reuters article, Strahl said his government,
“hopes to end the Canadian Wheat Board's barley monopoly as soon as it can”, and “told reporters he would consult with the CWB's board of directors on the timing of any changes.”
So there it is – a public commitment to gutting the Canadian Wheat Board. It is just a matter of “timing”. The Harper government and its many western M.P.’s don’t care what we think.
At the other end of the country, supply managed farmers in rural Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada think they have wrestled the Harper government to the ground over the “single desk” of supply management. How have they achieved this political miracle when we can’t?
Perhaps it is because those astute farmers have clearly signalled they don’t intend to support a government bent on undermining their single desk.
A clear vote for #1 on the Barley plebiscite ballot is the best short term defence against the Harper assault on our western “single desk”. But, over the next few months, we western farmers should take stock of what you get when the Harper election map shows you as a “for sure”.