As of June 24 more than 5,100 people had signed the Manitoba government’s online petition calling on the federal government to let farmers vote on whether or not to create an open market for wheat and barley Aug. 1, 2012.
That figure doesn’t include those who have signed petitions in Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiaitives’ offices.
“That tells me that the federal Conservative government is really making a mistake with their actions to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB),” Manitoba agriculture minister Stan Struthers said in an interview last week.
Struthers said not only will farmers lose their marketing agency, the Port of Churchill and the rail line that serves it will suffer, according to Struthers because only the CWB exports grain through Manitoba’s northern port. Grain companies want to maximize grain shipments through their own export terminals, he said.
Struthers said he’s also getting calls from worried shortline railway company officials. They fear their operations will suffer because very little non-board grain is shipped in producer cars, which account for most of the traffic on shortlines.
The province has not ruled out legal action in an effort to allow farmers to decide the CWB’s fate through a vote, Struthers said.
“I’m open to any idea that would drive some sense into the Conservative federal government.” [email protected]