Sir, I’d like to respond to Joe Hueglin – Niagara Falls, Ontario letter of Aug 29 in your paper.
As an farmer elected Canadian Wheat Board Director in District 2, I am continuing on the drive for marketing choice for producers in western Canada. The Canadian Wheat Board Act, although it encompasses all of Canada, is only mandated in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the Peace country of British Columbia. The CWB Act, an Act of Parliament, forces all producers in this area to sell all their wheat and barley for human consumption or for export to the CWB. Nowhere else in Canada are producers mandated to do such, one has to remember, it is our grain, our business and it is undemocratic for anyone to tell us how we should market our own crops. Canola, pulse crops, oats, flax, corn and other crops are marketed freely and are considered farmers cash crops just because of that freedom to market as we wish.
Mr. Hueglin makes the point that Prime Minister Harper – “will he be listening to the population”? in respect to a plebiscite the CWB has just conducted with results being released Sept. 9th. One has to point out that this plebiscite is nonbinding on government, a fact even we at the CWB have acknowledge, a true plebiscite can only be held by the Minister (section 47.1 CWB Act.), and since this government has made it known that the CWB Act is being repealed, it makes no sense to hold a plebiscite.
Farmers have never had the opportunity to vote on the CWB Act since it was introduced, the Conservative government has stated it will allow farmers marketing choice by Aug. 1, 2012. With that, in my view the majority of producers would like to see the CWB to evolve and change into a marketing agency, without a monopoly on wheat and barley, yet an active player allowing complete freedom of choice for producers to use. I truly can see this work and happen and creating value for western Canadian farmers.
Only individual farmers can decide what is best for their business. I cannot and will not tell my neighbour how to manage their farm, and what to do with their wheat and barley, and no one should feel they have the right to tell me what to do with my grain on my farm. Democracies don’t work that way.
CWB Director, District 2
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