August 18, 2011

A group called the Business Council of Manitoba is trying to dispel negativity regarding the federal government’s plans to end the CWB’s single desk selling authority.

Do some research on the Business Council, and you’ll find an elitist group with an invite-only membership comprised of CEOs of “important companies” with Manitoba head offices. Delve a bit deeper and you’ll find the likes of Cargill and Richardson International represented among the members.

It’s no surprise then, that the Business Council is right on-board with the Harper government’s plans to end the CWB’s single desk and that they’re the only Manitoba group supporting the demise of the CWB.

They cite their flimsy policy paper as proof that the change won’t be so bad for Winnipeg. The rhetoric is predictable – we can expect an abundance of opportunities for grain companies in Winnipeg. As added solace, they theorize that grain research could thrive and that the Port of Churchill still has a future even though the CWB is Churchill’s main and often only shipper.

But none of their analysis includes a perspective regarding Prairie farmers who are at the core of this issue. Jim Carr, the Business Council’s president and CEO, comments that his group thinks “there is no benefit in trying to reverse the government’s decision.”

There is no benefit, of course, to grain companies in overturning the decision but there would certainly be a benefit to Prairie farmers, who stand to lose ownership and control of a multi-billion dollar marketing agency. Presumably, the Council would muster some outrage if the government arbitrarily decided to destroy one of its member’s Corporations without shareholders having any say or compensation.

But the Business Council has nothing to say about how Prairie farmers will be affected, let alone acknowledging that farmers should decide the CWB’s future.

Shame on them for trying to sell us pie in the sky, and for failing to stand up for farmers’ democratic rights.

Bill Nicholson
Shoal Lake, MB

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