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Only actual producers should vote

I would like to respond to the inaccuracies and misconceptions left by Allan Dawson in his article “Who controls the CWB, farmers or Ottawa?” in the March 4 Manitoba Co-operator.

The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board (FCWB) assertion is that everyone who holds a permit book deserves a ballot. Western Canadian producers have told us that only actual producers should be voting.

Our government was not the first to argue that only producers should be eligible to vote. In 2005, a government and Liberal-appointed panel agreed with the concept that only producers involved in the business of grain on a day-to-day basis should receive a ballot.

Last year on May 14 at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture, I asked chairman Larry Hill if the CWB does in fact support tonnage limits and actual producer criteria. His response affirmed that it does.

“Yes, we have. If you didn’t get a ballot last year, you didn’t make any deliveries. That’s how the election was set up. Anyone with an interest could apply and get a ballot whether you grew more grains or not. Anyone with an interest in the major grains could apply for a ballot. But certainly we are going to look at this. We supported the minimum tonnage that was in the panel review in 2005,” said Hill.

Instead of giving today’s new generation of farmers who are actually delivering the grain the vote, FCWB wants to restrict the rights of those who are farming and give the vote to non-residents and landlords who are not even in the business anymore.

The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board either does not understand what the act and regulations say, or it is once again trying to play political games. Our government’s actions are consistent with the act. All producers of the seven grains covered under the Canadian Wheat Board Act (wheat, oats, barley, rye, flaxseed, rapeseed, and canola) are involved in producing grain and accordingly have the right to vote in director elections.

David Anderson, Member of Parliament for

Cypress Hills-Grasslands and parliamentary secretary for the Canadian Wheat Board

Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, Man. R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email: [email protected](subject: To the editor)

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