By Blair McCann, The StarPhoenix July 5, 2011

Recent pronouncements by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz that he is committed to a strong and viable Canadian Wheat Board simply don’t ring true.

Here’s a minister whose fiduciary duty dictates that he acts in the best interest of the CWB, a minister who has held this post for more than two years but until recently had not visited the organization’s Winnipeg headquarters or met with its board of directors.

His belated whirlwind visit wasn’t based on any desire to gain an understanding of CWB operations, but simply to serve notice that the single desk structure, which is the underpinning of the organization, will be gone as of August 2012.

Ritz asserts that the status quo is not an option, but fails to recognize the significant changes that have taken place within the CWB since farmers took control in 1998. These have given farmers an array of pricing and delivery options that have addressed many of their previous concerns.

Farmers who are willing to step back from the ideological debate and assess the CWB based on how well their business is being served generally support the changes.

Certainly more changes are needed, but they shouldn’t include the single desk. History shows that these marketing bodies do not survive long once their single desk is gone.

When Ritz proclaims that he is committed to a strong CWB but one without a single desk, he’s either misinformed or intentionally misleading us.

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