(Zenon Park, SK)  The CWBA condemns recent orders by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz instructing the CWB to increase its contingency fund to $200 million.  “We feel this amounts to the seizure of $200 million from the farmers of western Canada” said Gilbert Ferre, vice-chair of the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance.

“The money in the contingency fund is earned by the farmer elected and controlled CWB from grain sales and it is the property of farmers.  Mr. Harper and Mr. Ritz need to learn the CWB is not an ATM to finance their fantasy voluntary marketing board,” observed Ferre.

Over the past weeks Cabinet has issued regulatory orders compelling the farmer- elected Canadian Wheat Board to increase the size of the CWB contingency fund.  On October 18, 2011 Cabinet issued an order effectively seizing $100 million from the CWB.  On November 14, 2011 the Harper Cabinet issued another order increasing the seizure to $200 million.  Funds put into the contingency fund come from the operations of the CWB.

“Aside from the obvious lack of planning these two seizures demonstrate, this amounts to an illegitimate co-mingling of funds between two separate organizations which is wholly and completely inappropriate” observed Ferre.

“This money rightfully belongs to the famers of western Canada.  It was never envisioned that it would be used for anything beyond the legitimate operational needs of our current CWB.  We are calling on Minister Ritz to allow our elected CWB directors to immediately disburse these funds to its rightful owners – the farmers of western Canada.”

“This whole process of destroying the farmer owned and controlled Canadian Wheat Board and putting a government appointee-run organization in its place is the direct responsibility of Mr. Harper and the Canadian Government.  Farmers have never consented to having their money used to fund a transition to Mr. Harper’s speculative grain brokerage.  That is simply wrong” concluded Ferre.

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