(Regina, March 8, 2012)  The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance is reminding farmers to focus on current issues at the Wheat Board meetings being held this month instead of being side-tracked by speculation about future agreements Ritz’s appointees now running the CWB may make if the illegal end of the single desk proceeds on August 1, 2012.

“Farmers should remember that Minister Ritz seized control of about $7 billion dollars of pool account grain and outstanding sales on December 15, 2011” observed Bill Gehl, chairperson of the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance, “and in the series of CWB meetings this March, farmers need to hold Ritz’s appointees accountable for this year’s single-desk CWB sales.”

Gehl went on to say “don’t let Ritz hide his seizure and expropriation of our pool account money behind announcements of future agreements with international grain companies.  His appointees need to answer the same basic questions we used to ask our elected Directors about our money.”

“Farmers also need to know if they will be paying for the severance of CWB staff being fired.  It is unfair to take this money from the pool accounts” Gehl remarked.

“We have already seen worrying signs that Minister Ritz has something to hide.  Why have all the previous audited financial statements from the CWB web site been removed?  We want straight answers on the contingency fund they have taken from the single desk.  This is farmers’ money, not a slush fund to finance their experiment at being a private grain broker, and we have a right to clear answers about what is happening to it.”

“Farmers also have a right to know when the final payments will be issued.  Consistency of financial reporting is critical for transparency so farmers need to know if a fully audited statement compatible with previous years will be available.”  Gehl explained.

“When the elected directors were dismissed the CWB was on track to sell $7 billion worth of grain about 99% of which would come back to farmers.  What has Gerry’s Grain Company done with these sales?  We expect Minister Ritz and his appointees to be fully transparent on their handling of farmers’ money this crop year.”

Gehl concluded “we would also remind Minister Ritz’s appointees and Wheat Board management that the legislation they believe they are working under is now being contested in the courts and it is best to assume the old rules of transparency and fairness followed by our elected Directors still apply to them.”

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