Federal Court rules Wheat Board can keep barley monopoly

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swallow swallow's picture

"MacAuley said the commercialisation of the wheat board has already been completed." Doesn't sound like waffling, sounds like a firm decision to leave the Harper policy intact. 

quizzical

yup it is.

the Liberal lies are coming out fast and furious now but the media is not covering them.

mark_alfred

josh wrote:

Liberals backtracking (surprise) on restoring the Wheat Board

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/ndp-leader-challenges-liberal...

The link was broken for me -- it has a space at the end.

Here's a working one: 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/ndp-leader-challenges-liberal...

Libs got rid of the Crow Rate in the 90s and now they make sure the Wheat Board doesn't come back either.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

One chart shows why the Liberal u-turn on the Canadian Wheat Board makes no sense

quote:

Fair prices for farmers 

The Canadian Wheat Board was established during the Great Depression to protect farmers and their communities from fluctuations in volatile markets.

Through its "single desk system" farmers sold their crops to the board which, in turn, sold them on international markets and returned the profits to the producers. In this way, farmers were guaranteed a fair price for their grain regardless of whether its international value rose or fell. From 1998 until its dismantling, the CWB was governed by a 15-member board of directors, 10 of whom were directly elected by farmers. 

In 2011-2012 alone, the Board sold $7.2-billion worth of grain to more than 70 countries, the majority of which was paid back directly to producers.

But in recent years, farmers have seen their share of the profits from the grain they produce steadily reduced as democratic control has been lost and the marketing and sale of that grain has been taken over by transnational conglomerates. 

The Alliance demonstrates that the shift in 2014 alone was considerable: 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Prairie farmers warn Ottawa to expect continuing biannual $6.5 billion dollar farm losses

A delegation of prairie grain farmers travelled to Ottawa this week to warn MPs and Cabinet Ministers about the negative impacts western farmers are facing because of structural changes created in western Canada by the Harper government. Ken Sigurdson, a Swan River, Mb. grain farmer and spokesperson for the non-partisan Canadian Wheat Board Alliance explained “a recent analysis by agricultural economist Dr. Richard Gray of the University of Saskatchewan found that in the last two years the private elevator companies have taken $6.5 billion in excess profits from prairie farmers. This represents fully half the annual value of the wheat and barley crop in Western Canada. These losses will continue compounding the negative effects, including the loss of quality control and grain handling logistics, already felt in the grain industry as a result of changes made by the Harper government.”

Andrew Dennis, a Brookdale, Mb grain producer, added that this hemorrhage of cash from the west is unsustainable and the rise in farm debt to 90 billion dollars is just one of many indicators of trouble on the horizon....

quizzical

thought all the farmers wanted the wheat board gone? or were they sold a phoney bill of goods to privatize it?

 

josh

quizzical wrote:

thought all the farmers wanted the wheat board gone? or were they sold a phoney bill of goods to privatize it?

 

No they didn't.

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

thought all the farmers wanted the wheat board gone? or were they sold a phoney bill of goods to privatize it?

 

Where did you get that idea??

First, the Harper government broke the law by privatizing the Wheat Board without holding a vote among farmers:

[url=http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2011/12/07/ritz_broke_law_by_tabling_... broke law by tabling bill to dismantle Wheat Board: judge[/url]

Quote:
A federal court judge has ruled that Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s tabling of a bill to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board without holding a plebiscite among affected farmers was illegal.

Then, the Wheat Board said, if the government won't hold a vote, we will:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/wheat-board-vote-a-non-bindin... farmers vote in favour of wheat board monopoly[/url]

Quote:

Just over 60 per cent of wheat growers and 51 per cent of barley growers voted in favour of maintaining the board's monopoly. Some 55 per cent of wheat growers and 47 per cent of barley growers voted in the plebiscite.

The board conducted a plebiscite after Ritz refused to hold one as required under the Canadian Wheat Board Act.

And of course, the cowardly Liberals set the future scenario that once privatized, they "couldn't" reinstate it (same as the provincial NDP did with Potash Corp, Manitoba Telephone System, etc.):

Quote:

Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale also called on Ritz to honour the outcome of the farmers' vote.

Goodale, a former minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, said the western Canadian economy would lose about $500 million — money that would go to international grain companies instead — if the board is scrapped.

"The CWB is a farmer-controlled, $6-billion business, and if it is destroyed, it can never be restored," Goodale stated in a release earlier Monday.

 

quizzical

ok thanks unionist.

i guess because farmers across the prairies continued to vote Conservative in the last election.

as Goodale said this then why did the Liberals promise to restore?

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

as Goodale said this then why did the Liberals promise to restore?

I haven't actually seen any Liberal promise to restore the Wheat Board. Where was that?

Oh and by the way, the NDP didn't promise to restore it either. You won't find the word "wheat" in their [url=http://xfer.ndp.ca/2015/2015-Full-Platform-EN.pdf]election platform[/url].

That was one of the 2013 convention policy decisions ("“Restoring the Canadian Wheat Board as the single desk marketer for wheat and barley”) that was deleted from the NDP web site before the election.

So I'm afraid that on this issue, both the Liberals and the NDP are true to their word. Nothing.

 

Unionist

From the Regina Leader-Post:

[url=http://leaderpost.com/business/agriculture/farm-groups-call-for-return-t... groups call for return to orderly grain marketing[/url]

Quote:

A coalition of farm groups is calling for the return of orderly marketing of grain, claiming the dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board by the Harper government in 2012 has cost western farmers $6.5 billion over the past two years, the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance (CWBA) said in a news release Monday.

About 40 farmers from the Raymore area met Sunday and passed a resolution calling for “the establishment of orderly marketing of grain in Western Canada.”  Kyle Korneychuk, spokesperson for the CWBA, a pro-CWB farm group, noted this is the second farm meeting in as many months calling for the restoration orderly marketing of western wheat and barley.

Some trade experts have argued that the CWB could not be re-established under our trade agreements, like NAFTA, because it would infringe on the existing rights of foreign companies doing business in Canada. 

But Korneychuk said the federal Liberal government has indicated it wants to renegotiate parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiated by the former Conservative government. Presumably that means that the federal government could bring back the CWB’s single-desk marketing authority, he said.

Or the three Prairie provinces and B.C. could resurrect the single desk CWB, which had a legislated monopoly on the export sale of western wheat and barley. “We could do it provincially,” Korneychuk, a former elected director of the CWB. “We don’t need the feds involved.”

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Former Reform/CRAP/CPC Member of Parliament Inky Mark basically went totally off-script on this issue. It was one of many things that led him to leave the CPC and run as an independent in this last election.

If I recall, Saskatchewan and Manitoba grain farmers were very supportive of the CWB and launched court action against the Harper government. The Alberta contingent of grain farmers (a minority compared to SK and MB) were the ones most open to Harper's privatization schemes.

As for voting practices, political ties and perspectives run deep and few people change party affiliation over one issue - even one that is detrimental to their livelihood.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Yes, the majority of grain farmers did support the Wheat Board. Those voting results are not an accurate picture either. The Conservatives tampered with the voting and excluded the smaller grain farm operators from voting in order to skew the results more in their favour. Smaller farm operators were the most supportive of the Wheat Board because they were the most vulnerable to market instabilities. Yet they were not allowed to vote. At one time anti-wheat board farmers represented only seven percent of all the farmers in Saskatchewan. This means that 93% did support the wheat board. Saskatchewan always did have the highest support for the Wheat Board because they were the farthest from port, and shipping charges were pooled. Manitoba farmers had closer access to Thunder Bay and Churchill. Alberta farmers had the closest access to Prince Rupert and Vancouver. So some farmers figured they could save money for themselves by having the farmers pay for their own rail shipping themselves rather than subsidize Saskatchewan farmers who had to move their grain longer distances to get to port. Most farmers, though, in Alberta and Manitoba saw the wisdom and value in the Wheat Board, and they knew that destroying it would be disastrous for farmers everywhere.

quizzical

yet they continued to vote for Harper???????? something is fishy here.

Misfit Misfit's picture

The NDP is not seen as a farmer's party in Saskatchewan. Although the NDP supported the Canadian Wheat Board and implemented some programs that were good for farmers, the NDP has a very cold reception with farmers. In the 1970s, the provincial government introduced Land Bank, where young farmers could borrow money from the Saskatchewan government to buy farmland from their retiring parents at reasonable interest rates when interest rates were very high. The PC's launched a communist scare that the NDP was intending to seize the land from the farmers and keep the land for themselves. It was a good program, but the right-wing propaganda struck fear in many farmers' minds, and the PCs scrapped it when they formed government. The PCs gave the farmers generous grants such as one to purchase cattle. When the NDP were reelected, they scrapped these programs and made the farmers pay back all the money with interest immediately. They implemented purple gas which turned farmers off. Then, they placed the overwhelming burden of school taxes on the farmers' backs which permanently and irreversibly turned the farmers against the NDP for generations to come. Agriculture is a very complex and multifaceted industry in Canada. It is not a one-issue election topic. While the Wheat Board was very important to many farmers, that is not the one governing factor which dictates how farmers are going to vote. It is one issue of many.

quizzical

6.5 billion in losses for a 1/2 a year is but 1 issue of many?

how much in school taxes? 258.00 per year per farmer?

Unionist

Thanks for enriching the conversation, Misfit, and explaining how farmers (like others) vote for all kinds of reasons.

And in the case of the Wheat Board, none of the three major parties were running on a promise to reinstate it. The NDP removed that promise from their website in August, and it didn't reappear when they published their election platform. The Liberals, as we have seen, had already declared defeat back in 2008.

And even Elizabeth May adopted Ralph Goodale's "it's sold, we're confused" line: "I don’t know how we can repair that damage since the Conservatives sold the Wheat Board assets to a Saudi Arabian company. But if farmers can see a way to restore the Wheat Board, it should be considered. "

Like the Liberals and NDP, she has heard of "privatization", but never heard of "nationalization". Pity.

What she said does (accidentally) have some merit. If farmers are true to their years of activism and want orderly single-desk marketing back, they'll have to put forward a strong program and fight for it - and as we see above, some are fighting. Then they can call for allies to step forward and support them.

quizzical

Unionist wrote:
If farmers are true to their years of activism and want orderly single-desk marketing back, they'll have to put forward a strong program and fight for it - and as we see above, some are fighting. Then they can call for allies to step forward and support them.

i would call it a co-operative. you can start one anytime anywhere.

Misfit Misfit's picture

The federal NDP have an aversion to discussing anything agricultural in election campaigns. Jack Layton especially was notorious for dressing up in a cowboy shirt and wearing a cowboy hat and doing a photo shoot for the media while standing in a pasture talking about smog and urban transit. Got to get that Toronto vote!!!

quizzical

this is why the leader phenom has to fkn go away not increase. they have to be all things to all people and they just can't here in Canada. too small of population and to many regional differences.

 

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

this is why the leader phenom has to fkn go away not increase.

Totally, absolutely, agree.

The NDP convention (which is the supreme policy-making body in the party, according to the constitution) decided that the Wheat Board should be reinstated. A group of anonymous functionaries removed that from the website in August 2015 and created an election platform that ignored that issue. I assume the "Leader" approved of that, but I really don't know.

Do you see what I'm saying? The majority of delegates, elected by members all across Canada, took a clear stand in favour of the Wheat Board. They should be asking some questions about who turfed their decision. And I think they are asking questions - about that, and much more. Change is in the wind.

 

Misfit Misfit's picture

Quiz, my parents were smaller operators and they paid $6,800.00 in school taxes for their part of the land operation. My brother would have owed about the same for his share in the land. My oldest brother would have paid around $8,500.00 in school taxes. Anywhere from $5,000.00 to $25,000.00 in taxes was common per farmer. City people were paying likely $100.00 to $500.00 per household depending on neighbourhood.

Unionist

Misfit wrote:
Before the NDP were defeated, a large farm operator in our community paid $40,000.00 in school taxes. The NDP were stuck on the notion of so much per acre whether you were rich or poor, and farmers did not have the incomes to justify this ghastly amount of taxation.

We're talking about property tax vs. income tax [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/manitoba-and-saskatchewan/wab-kinews-entry-manit.... Could have used your example in the debate! In Manitoba, it's the Greens who apparently want to explore funding schools by taxes on income instead of property.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Before the NDP were defeated, a large farm operator in our community paid $40,000.00 in school taxes. The NDP were stuck on the notion of so much per acre whether you were rich or poor, and most farmers did not have the incomes to justify this ghastly amount of school taxation. And yes, this is school taxes alone. Federal and provincial taxes are not included in this at all. back in the early 1980's, my parents paid about $2,200 in school taxes annually and they were moderately larger operators back then. The city people had no clue and were angry that their taxes might go up and the NDP were an urban based party and they simply did not care.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Sorry U, I just threw in that about school taxes because quiz asked in post #86 what farmers paid annually in school taxes. I was responding to her question.

Unionist

Misfit wrote:
Sorry U, I just threw in that about school taxes because quiz asked in post #86 what farmers paid annually in school taxes. I was responding to her question.

Yeah, I know, it's all good - I just wanted to point out an interesting intersection between two separate conversations!

Thanks again for your input on this topic.

Misfit Misfit's picture

It was a thread diversion but it helps to shed some light into why rural Saskatchewan is so anti-NDP.

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