REGINA, SK – Western Canadian farmers are calling on the federal government to honour the results of a prairie-wide ballot in which they voted to maintain the single desk selling authority of the Canadian Wheat Board.

Farmers voted in record-high numbers in a CWB mail in ballot. The rate of return was 56 percent for wheat growers, 47 per cent for barley growers and 60 per cent of farmers growing both. On wheat, 62 per cent of farmers voted in favour of retaining the single desk, while 51 per cent voted in favour of retaining the single desk on barley.

“Thousands of farmers across the country have now sent Ottawa a message that the CWB adds value to their farms ,” said Bill Gehl, Regina-area farmer and chair of the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance (CWBA) – an organization made up of prairie farmers. “If this government really believes in democracy and if it really does respect farmers, then it will listen. Itʼs that simple.”

Ken Larsen, a Benalto, Alberta-area barley producer, said the fact that farmers voted in such high numbers, is a strong message in itself – especially considering the federal governmentʼs attempts to undermine the vote. “Thereʼs been an ongoing campaign of misinformation and bullying – including efforts by Canadaʼs agriculture minister to discourage farmers from voting,” Larsen said. “Not only is this undemocratic, itʼs deeply disturbing and something every Canadian should be concerned about.”

Under the Canadian Wheat Board Act, any changes to the marketing of grains covered by the CWB must first be approved by a farmer vote. The federal government so far has refused to honour the Act, and has said it instead plans to change or repeal legislation so it can avoid giving farmers a say.

A group of concerned farmers called Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board is challenging the governmentʼs position in court. On Friday, they won the right to be heard when a judge rejected the federal governmentʼs request to have the case tossed out.

“The whole industry has been thrown into turmoil by the federal governmentʼs reckless approach to this issue,” Gehl said. “We see this vote as an opportunity for Ottawa to acknowledge the will of farmers.”

Bill Gehl,
Canadian Wheat Board Alliance Chair

Ken Larsen,
CWBA member, Benalto, Alberta

Who We Are:
The Alliance is a politically non-partisan organization focused specifically on the Canadian Wheat Board. Members of the Alliance recognize the advantages the Board brings to producers through the single desk and price pooling, quality assurance through the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), as well as the important role the CWB plays as an advocate for farmers in transportation, producer cars, and on the world stage in trade disputes and negotiations. The Alliance draws membership from throughout the west.

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