(Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Alliance, Alberta)
Today farmers in Saskatchewan and Alberta stood in front of Harper’s train to kill the Canadian Wheat Board.
Farmers loading producer grain cars on the farmer owned Battle River Railway in central Alberta held up “Stop Harper” signs and “Respect Farmers, Respect our Vote” signs to indicate their displeasure with Ottawa’s plans to end the single desk of the Canadian Wheat Board.
Howard Vincett, a Galahad, Alberta farmer and a Board member of the new generation cooperative observed “there is no question our cooperative will be badly hurt by the end of the Wheat Board. Our community has invested almost 10 million dollars and countless hours of work and all that is now going to be lost without the Wheat Board. Harper needs to respect our farmer vote to keep the Wheat Board and withdraw this legislation.”
In Colonsay, Saskatchewan, just south of Saskatoon, Bill Gehl, chairperson of the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance joined several dozen farmers to echo the concerns expressed in Alberta. “This legislation will not put one extra dime in the pockets of western Canadian grain farmers, but it will destroy the short line railways, farmer owned terminals and producer car loading facilities we have spent the past twenty years building.”
“Terry Boehm, president of the National Farmers Union went on to say “the fact Minister Ritz is admitting that public money will have to be spent to keep the port of Churchill alive if the CWB is destroyed certainly shows that this is simply an act of vandalism against western Canada’s farmers in the name of ideology.”
In Manitoba, Andrew Dennis, a member of the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board which has launched legal action said “the invoking of closure in Parliament reinforces our belief that Harper’s legislation is illegal and we are confident the courts will find in our favour.”
Bill Gehl concluded by saying “Harper and Ritz are simply wrong to say they have a mandate to end the Wheat Board. We are the majority and in every Wheat Board Directors election and plebiscite held for farmers the message has been the same. Keep your hands off our Wheat Board. We need the help of all Canadians to oppose this attack on farmers and the democratic process.”
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