(Regina)  Yesterday Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz tabled Legislation which includes dismissing the farmer-elected Board of Directors of the Canadian Wheat Board.  “Our membership is completely disgusted with the Harper administration’s actions” stated Bill Gehl, chairperson of the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance.

“Prime Minister Harper has now said twice that he would ‘walk over’ or drive over farmers who want to keep our Wheat Board.  It appears his administration is starting with our elected representatives” Gehl observed.

“Those directors are farmers who are directly and transparently elected by their neighbours to run our Wheat Board.  We benefit from the Board and we pay its costs.  No matter how you spin it, this is a step away from democracy and the rule of law” warned Gehl.

“It is very troubling that Minister Ritz and Prime Minister Harper have chosen to ignore the consistent democratic votes by farmers in favour of keeping the Wheat Board’s single desk.  Farmers have always chosen to work together democratically and their votes should be respected” said Gehl.

“Even more ominous are rumours the Harper administration intends to avoid Agriculture Committee hearings and fast track this bill through the unusual use of a Legislative Committee hearing process.  This is inappropriate because it will restrict Parliament’s right to examine this Legislation and to hear from those most affected: the farmers of western Canada” explained Gehl.

“People around the world know it is simply wrong for a government to remove hard-won democratic rights from its citizens.  Cancelling democracy for western Canadian farmers to end our Wheat Board is a bullying tactic of the worst sort.  We are asking for the help of all Canadians to oppose this attack on farmers and the democratic process” concluded Gehl.

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