(Pelly, Sk., June 17, 2014)  Farmers are wondering why the Minister of Agriculture has failed to meet the legal deadline for filing the 2012-2013 Audited Statement for the Wheat Board he created.  “With the chaos in grain marketing this year and a $17 billion dollar class action law suit over the destruction of the farmer-controlled CWB, this delay raises concerns about why the Minister of Agriculture is withholding the Audited Statement for his version of the Canadian Wheat Board,” said Kyle Korneychuk spokesperson for the CWBA, a prairie wide farm group.

“The CWB Act requires the Minister to release this document no later than fifteen days after it is submitted to him on March 31 so farmers are starting to wonder what the Minister is hiding” observed Korneychuk.

“At the time the Minister killed the farmer-directed CWB it had over $120 million in cash and substantial capital assets all paid for by farmers and they have a right to know how much of this has been pledged against the announced capital expansions and how much has been used in transition and planning costs by the Minister’s appointees,” said Korneychuk, a former farmer-elected CWB director.

Korneychuk went on to say “farmers also have a right to see if Minister Ritz’s appointees are actually attending meetings, and what their travel and other costs amount to.”

Korneychuk also noted there is an outstanding Class Action Law Suit before the Federal Court of Appeal amounting to $17 billion dollars and said he “would expect that this amount will be increased as a result of the grain sales debacle we have seen this crop year and an honest assessment of the CWB’s operations should take this into account.”

“Billions of dollars of excess profits have been taken from farmers by the private grain trade,” said Korneychuk, “so we wonder just how badly his cronies running the CWB have bungled their obligations to farmers.”

Korneychuk concluded “for the first time since the last failed experiment with dual marketing between 1935 and 1942 the Canadian Wheat Board has become a significant drain on public finances and the liabilities it faces in the future need to be clearly accounted for.

Have Minister Ritz and his appointees used the Government of Canada credit card responsibly and how much are tax payers on the hook for?  By failing to table a full and transparent audited statement on the operations of his creation, Minister Ritz is inviting speculation that he and his appointees have something substantial to hide.  It is time he obeyed the law and tabled the information.”

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