There is a whole lot of denial going on around the end of the CWB.  Long time opponents of the single desk are running for cover trying to escape responsibility for the disaster on the horizon.  The most desperate among them are even trying to blame the incumbent CWB Board of Directors for not doing the impossible and making Gerry Ritz’s absurd promise of a “strong and viable” dual-market Wheat Board a reality.

It is clear from the attendance at the recent CWB Meetings that the overwhelming majority of farmers supports the CWB’s single desk, and will lay the consequences of its loss at the Conservative’s feet.

Meanwhile south of the border, Allan Tracy head of US Wheat Associates is sounding nervous about the tsunami of Canadian grain set to flood out the US market.  He says we should do the impossible:  set up all the quality control, market development, and advocacy the CWB now does, but under some other guise.

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan also echoes this retreat from reality.  In their last news release they also want all the things the CWB does now to continue but without the single desk.  However, they did not explain how or even why farmers would pay for all this without the CWB’s premium returns.

One farm commentator observed that “losing the CROW was like shooting ourselves in the foot and losing the Wheat Board will be like committing suicide.”  After the CROW ended, between 1996 and 2000, we lost about 5,000 elevators and just over 40% of our farmers.  Losing the CWB’s single desk will be an even larger disaster and even our competitors are starting to sound worried about what will happen to the grain market.  Minister Ritz and his transition panel should be very worried, since they will have to shoulder the responsibility for this looming disaster, and there is no denying that.

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