Thursday, October 20, 2011

Canadian Wheat Board : The Cons being cons

On Tuesday AgMin Gerry Ritz stood in the middle of a suburban Ottawa farm behind a desk hung with the sign "Marketing Freedom" and announced the end of the Canadian Wheat Board single desk monopoly.
             " ... freedom to choose ... marketing freedom ... market forces ... jobs, jobs, jobs ... "

There were questions.
Chris Rands, CBC : "Back in 2007 the prime minister was in Churchill and he said the fate of the Wheat Board is in farmers' hands, so why aren't you opening up to the farmers to have a vote to say whether the wheat board should be removed as a single desk?"
AgMin Gerry Ritz : "Well we actually had that vote, Chris, on May 2nd. We campaigned in all rural areas across western Canada on an open voluntary wheat board. Farmers sent us back here with that mandate; we're following through." 
Rands (referring to farmers' plebiscite in which 62% voted in favour of keeping the CWB) : "But you didn't like the results. You called the vote flawed, if I recall?" 
Ritz : "No, I'm talking about the general election, May the 2nd. That's our mandate. Thank you."

NDP Pat Martin to Gerry Ritz in the House : "13 times the US went to the WTO to complain about the Wheat Board and 13 times the WTO ruled that there's nothing unfair about Canadian farmers acting collectively in their own best interests. The question is : why is American agribiz so willing to kill it and why are they [the Cons] so willing to do it for them?"

Outside the House, Pat Martin related that three years after Australia privatized their single marketing desk, it went bankrupt and was bought out by Cargill. As a non-profit marketing board with no assets and without its monopoly, the CWB is not in a position to compete with big agribiz.

Prior to the May 2 election, farmers were told by Gerry Ritz there would not be any attempt to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board without a vote.

They were conned. He meant the general election.

Friday Update : Hill Times :

Majority-governing Tories shut down Wheat Board debate, third time to cut off debate since House resumed.

"The majority-governing Conservatives used their majority Thursday to cut short debate on the controversial bill to eliminate the 76-year-old Canadian Wheat Board, the third time it has muscled legislation through the House since Parliament resumed in September."
The other two times being the massive crime omnibus bill and the end of government subsidies for political parties.


Anonymous said...

They voted Con to scrap the long gun registry and lost their income security.
I'm having trouble feeling sorry for them.

thwap said...

Maybe they didn't like fags and tree-huggers too. Or taxes. Don't forget the taxes.

(This is only dedicated to the farmers WHO VOTED for harper and who have ruined themselves.)

(Who thinks Gerry Ritz will feel safe walking around in Saskatchewan two years from now?)

BC Mary said...

Steve Harper should roast in hell for what he has done to the Canadian Wheat Board.

This is what's driving people into the streets all over the world to OCCUPY and protest the ham-fisted seizure of public assets.

Sure, sure ... those farmers who are left will have no trouble at all searching out new buyers and then bargaining for a decent price for their grain. Sheesh, they know it's impossible ... that's why the Wheat Board was established ... and that's why the Wheat Board has served the people so well.

This means smaller farmers will quit and their farms will be scooped up cheap by Monsanto or something. Communities shattered.

Just like BC Rail, it makes me sick to think of people being hit and robbed like this, again and again.

Thanks, Alison.

BC Mary said...

Quote from the declaration of OCCUPY WALL STREET:

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

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