Wheat Board plans own vote
The farmer-controlled board of directors of the Canadian Wheat Board says it will organize its own vote on the board's future.
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has announced plans to strip the board of its monopoly without a vote, even though one is required by the Canadian Wheat Board Act.
Allen Oberg farms near Forestburg, Alta., and is chairman of the board of directors that runs the agency and he says a crucial decision like this has to be put before farmers. The plebiscite will ask farmers separately whether they want to remove wheat or barley from the board's control.
A group called The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board has also asked the Federal Court of Canada to review the government's plan. They say it is clear violation of the Canadian Wheat Board Act.
Ritz, meantime, dismissed the CWB plebiscite as unnecessary.
"No plebiscite must ever trump the rights of those farmers who want to choose how they market their own grain," he said. "Farmers themselves do not support a plebicite and our government once again invites the CWB to work in the best interest of all farmers by focusing on earning farmers' business."
Also Tuesday the Grain Growers of Canada urged the CWB to focus on a future beyond single desk selling. "We strongly encourage the Wheat Board to spend its time and resources in developing a new business model for the future," said Richard Phillips, the GGC's director.