October 18, 2011
The farmers of the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance condemn the Harper Government’s introduction of legislation to kill the Canadian Wheat Board.
“The introduction of this legislation is built on a collection of myths by an undemocratic and bullying administration,” said Bill Gehl, chairperson of the CWBA.
At a widely quoted election forum in Minnedosa, Manitoba, Minister Ritz said his party “respects the vote” of farmers who support the single desk and suggested there would not be any attempt to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board unless a majority of producers vote for it. Ritz went on to say “until farmers make that change, I’m not prepared to work arbitrarily. They are absolutely right to believe in democracy. I do, too.”
“Minister Ritz knows very well that farmers took him at his word on the Wheat Board issue, and he and Mr. Harper used farmers’ trust to stab us in the back” Gehl said.
Gehl went on to observe that “Minister Ritz has moved from misleading farmers to abusing the voters of western Canada by claiming the Federal election results gave him the mandate to end the CWB. Since farmers are only 2% of the population spread over 57 western ridings, claiming the Conservative Party has a mandate from farmers to change the Canadian Wheat Board is ridiculous and I think most urban voters agree that farmers should decide this issue, not Ottawa.”
Gehl went on to say “the farmer plebiscite held this summer shows that nearly two thirds of farmers support our Wheat Board’s single desk marketing system and Minister Ritz has reinforced his contempt for democracy by ignoring our vote” Gehl said.
“I know the majority of farmers oppose the legislation. It is time for the Harper government to stop abusing farmers, withdraw this legislation, and leave us alone to run our Wheat Board” concluded Gehl.