Takeover of Canadian Wheat Board – We are becoming strangers in our own land

By Peter Ewart
Thursday, April 16, 2015 @ 3:55 AM
250 News

Once there was a Canadian Wheat Board that was truly Canadian-owned and based, and whose job was to market the grain of Canadian farmers, especially in the West.

Since coming to power in 2006, the Harper government has waged an all-out war on the Wheat Board as a public enterprise, purging its farmer directors and replacing them with government appointees, overturning legislation in place for decades, refusing to recognize the vote of its farmer members, and putting the organization on the road to complete privatization.

Well, the Harper government has finally got its way.  The announcement has been made.  As of July 2015, the Canadian Wheat Board will now be majority owned by a giant privately-owned company, G3 Global Grain Group.

But there is a huge irony here.  While the Harper government is rabidly hostile to the concept of state-owned enterprises in Canada, it is allowing a foreign state-owned company to be a major partner in taking over the Canadian Wheat Board.

And just who might own that state-owned company?  None other than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Indeed, the G3 Global Grain Group is a partnership between SALIC Canada Limited, which is 100% owned by the Saudi government, and Bunge Canada, which is a subsidiary of the global agri-business Bunge Limited.

The global agri-business companies have always had a problem with the Canadian Wheat Board.  They didn’t like all those farmers banding together in a common front.  Now they have finally triumphed – with huge help from the Harper government.

What chance will independent Canadian farmers have now to get a fair price when they are under the thumb of a giant company backed by the oil-rich Saudi government and other global agri-business oligarchs?

This is just one more indication that we no longer have a national government.  Indeed, it is a government of the global oligarchs, by the global oligarchs and for the global oligarchs.

We need nation-building in Canada, not nation-looting.



  1. greg howard

    I said when this all started that the farmers would go from one monopoly to another, with the second being in the business of making profit off the work of those farmers instead of assuring a fair price. I can’t understand how farmers would support such a change, and we will never know now due to the refusal of OUR government to have a plebiscite on the matter BEFORE destroying a working model of marketing. This dictator should have all the kittens and blue cardigans stripped away to reveal the malicious man beneath. How anyone can condone his actions from robocalls to omnibus bills to deception and lies is beyond me.

  2. Claude Gravel

    Another reason to never vote for Harper or the Reformists (presenting themselves as Conservatives) again.

  3. I’m not a wheat farmer so please excuse my ignorance. Are wheat farmers required to sell their products either to or through the wheat board? Is there anything preventing them from going into direct competition with, what is now the Saudi company? Sounds like they already have the expertise (and probably the contacts)to set up a new company.

    • kenlarsen

      It is a good question Matthew. There has never been much choice in who wheat farmers anywhere in the world sell their wheat to. Since 1900 pretty much all the world’s wheat trade has been controlled by just four giant companies. Some names have changed but the game is still the same today.

      The biggest exception was the old farmer-owned and controlled single-desk Cdn Wheat Board. Ottawa killed it in 2011 and has just given the remains to one of the big four and a Saudi government agency along with what may be a fat subsidy from Canadian tax payers and farmers.

      The old Wheat Board was a collective bargaining agent that sold on our behalf to over 70 countries by avoiding the big four grain companies and selling directly to end-use customers on an industrial scale. The old wheat board gave all the profits back to farmers.

      There is nothing stopping prairie farmers from setting up their own agency again, but over 75 years prairie farmers had already built, bought, and paid for the CWB and Ottawa took it from us.