The Canadian Wheat Board just concluded a genuine exercise of prairie democracy. During the start of the busy harvest season, hundreds of farmers came to hear their elected Wheat Board Directors give them the low down on what happens if Agriculture Minister Ritz gets his way.

It’s not a pretty picture: premium prices gone (along with our sterling reputation for quality) and a whole bunch of new middlemen eager to take the CWB’s place (and a cut of the pie that is currently returned to farmers). Did I mention the demise of producer cars? It turns out that ending orderly marketing is a speculator’s dream.

Not everybody was happy with these meetings. The anti-CWB types found out they are a noisy and misinformed minority. Some of them even called these meeting anti-democratic (like District 2 Director Jeff Nielsen). I found this especially ironic; since the two elected CWB Directors who support Minister Ritz’s plan to gut our Wheat Board did not even want to have meetings in their Districts.

It took direct requests from producers in Districts One and Two to establish meetings. At the first meeting in Medicine Hat, Nielsen had nothing to say and sat (seemingly) sulking at the back of the room. At one of the largest meetings, in Camrose, he was shamed into at least sitting at the front of the room with the rest of the farmer-elected directors.

In District One the producers demanded a meeting, and one went ahead in Falher. Like all the other meetings, the turnout was overwhelmingly in favour of the CWB’s single desk.

It is time for the Minister to reconsider his plan to wreck our Board.

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