Letter to the Editor: March 28, 2012

I attended the CWB meeting in Ohaton AB along with about 150 other farmers to hear about the changing landscape to grain marketing and the CWB without the single desk. I knew real farmers were there because the street was lined with ½ tons.

The first presentation was a sugar coated package by CWB employee Gord Flaten about how wonderful it was that Harper & Ritz are paying off the Lakers cost, and the severance costs of fired CWB employees.  He neglected to tell the farmers that our own money earned from grain sales and put into our contingency fund was paying for this.  He went on to say this new Grain Agency or Company, the “Conservative Wheat Board” (Con Board) would be a functioning Company on Aug.1 2012.

The new Con Board will be keeping the Office Bld. in Winnipeg, 1700 or so Hopper Cars, the Lakers, and a scaled down staff. Flaten went on to explain the grain marketing programs of the new Con Board.  On the question of where the profits will go on grain sales outside the Pools, Flaten dropped a bombshell when he said “it will go to the Government.”

There was a rumble of disgust and annoyance across the room when farmers heard that the Harper & Ritz Govt will use the profits from farmers’ grain to do as they please. Flaten responded by saying farmers needed to think long term, the next 4 yrs. about what they want to see happen with the Con Board.  He said farmers could buy it back, that we needed to talk to our MP’s, and other farmers, and act or it will be sold off.

Why would farmers want to support the Con Board for the next 4 yrs. to sustain assets we once owned? Why play that game when Harper & Ritz hold all the cards in their stacked deck?

As I see it there are two options. The court has ruled Ritz broke the rule of law, so they must enforce that ruling and give us back our Wheat Board, or sell all the assets and pay it out to Western Canadian Farmers.

Dale Fankhanel
New Norway

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