August 1, 2012 marks year of terrible agricultural policy with the destruction of the Canadian Wheat Board single desk.
Saskatoon (2 Aug. 2012) — As the federal government abolished the Canadian Wheat Board Bill Gehl, Chair of the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance, and Terry Boehm, President of the National Farmers Union, spoke out about a year of infamy in Canadian agricultural policy and for Canadian democracy.
“Since the Harper government took office with a majority government in May of 2011, we have seen unprecedented attacks on farmers and their democratic processes with the destruction of the CWB as the goal,” said Terry Boehm, NFU President.
“In spite of knowing full well that the majority of farmers wanted and understood the advantages that single-desk selling brings them and ultimately to the whole economy, Gerry Ritz and Stephen Harper rammed through Bill C-18, destroying the single-desk CWB this August 1st,” stated Bill Gehl. “All farmers expected to be able to vote on this issue, and Ritz and Harper denied them this right stated in Section 47.1 of the old CWB Act," he added.
“Farmers, as well as all Canadians, have seen Gerry Ritz and Stephen Harper use every tactic in the book to ram through Bill C-18 including using closure, not allowing any amendments, and not allowing the Bill to go to the Agriculture Committee but creating a special Legislative Committee to rubber-stamp this Bill, which is one of the most fundamental changes to agricultural policy in three generations. It is bad public policy, bad economic policy, and is offensive to how Canadians believe democratic process should be conducted,” added Boehm.
“Farmers have seen before what happens when the single desk is gone - right after the First World War and with the removal of oats several years ago, and prices and returns always drop except in periods of extreme shortages,” he added.
“August 1, 2012 will be a sad day for farmers and one of jubilation for multinational grain companies, and we can thank Gerry Ritz for that,” declared Gehl.
“Farmers know that democracy and their economic well-being are in peril with this government but they also know that Harper will not be in power forever and we will fight in the courts and start rebuilding another day,” stated Boehm. “Meanwhile, the year full of dirty tricks will be remembered as a betrayal and sellout of western farmers,” concluded Boehm.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE