by:  Bill Gehl (Chair)
For CWB Alliance Council

On November 28, 2011 Harper’s Conservatives rammed Bill C-18 through the House of Commons.  December 15th one year ago, over the Governor General’s signature the Bill received Royal Assent.  This was the first Bill that the Conservatives pushed through the House of Commons, and it set the pattern for what was to come.  We now see bills passing through Parliament without adequate study in Committee and with disregard of appropriate debate in the House of Commons, standing committees and in the Senate.

This occurred in spite of concerted opposition and in spite of farmers by a majority stating that they wanted the single desk to remain.  So in the year that Bill C-18 has been in place we need to assess the impact.  We have witnessed the gutting of the Canadian Wheat Board, but this was only the start of the Conservative government’s concerted and aggressive efforts to rewrite Canadian Grains policy.

A partial review of the Harper government’s actions to the date of this news letter, December 15th 2012, is a list of legislative actions that take away farmer protection and power.  These include the following:

  1. – Removal of inward inspections and weighing at the ports.  Just how this will affect producers and especially producer car loaders remains a critical question. Will this place at risk Canada’s superlative international wheat and barley export reputation?
  2. – Removal of the requirement of grain dealers and elevator operators to post a bond.  This is to be replaced with an insurance program against non-payment.  This certainly is a transfer of costs to the grain producer.
  3. – Closure of the PFRA tree nursery
  4. – Closure of the Winnipeg Cereal Research Centre – the federal government will no longer be in the plant breeding business. The Harper government has said that private industry will take over the plant breeding.  This means no public seed stock.
  5. – Closure of the Quebec facility where research on fusarium was taking place.
  6. – What is next – when we hear of the loss of inward inspections – does the Canadian Grain Commission have plans to reduce or eliminate other services provided to farmers such as providing sample grading for farmers?

The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance has both monitored and responded to these actions.  There have been numerous news releases and commentaries on radio and television from the Alliance.  Additionally the Alliance has worked in cooperation with organizations and political parties that support the goals of the Alliance such as the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, the National Farmers Union, and the opposition Liberal and New Democratic parties.

The Alliance though working with all who support our position – remains an independent, non-partisan voice that fully supports a farmer directed single desk Canadian Wheat Board.  It is because of this that the Alliance supports the court cases that we expect to be heard before the Supreme Court of Canada and supports the class action being undertaken on behalf of western Canadian wheat and barley producers.


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