Our government has been clear – every farmer should have a choice to sell their wheat, durum and barley, either individually or through a pooling system.
International buyers purchase Canadian wheat and barley because of their high quality, not because the Canadian Wheat Board sells them. Western Canadian canola and pulses have highly successful and growing export profiles without a monopoly marketing system. There is no reason to expect wheat and barley farmers could not succeed in the same way.
Furthermore, no farmer should be penalized because of their province of residence. Under current legislation, western Canadian grain farmers are forced to sell to the Canadian Wheat Board, whereas farmers in other parts of Canada and around the world have the freedom to choose how they market their grain. This is simply unacceptable.
In a democracy individual rights must be protected, not trumped by special-interest groups or expensive surveys. In addition, if the board is a valuable entity as they staunchly claim, farmers will continue to pool their grain but under their own free will.
Rather than conduct an expensive, illegitimate survey financed on the backs of farmers, we encourage the board to work with us in the best interests of farmers to ensure a smooth transition to an open market for all farmers.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz
Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email: [email protected] (subject: To the editor)