" ... 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 :
"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.