Canadian Wheat Board Sales

MPs are days away from the beginning of a new Parliament but behind the scenes the work is already underway for Canada's new Majority government. Stephen Harper's Conservatives has plans to strip the Canadian Wheat Board of its monopoly on sales. This means farmers could be selling on an open market in about a year ... changing the game for one of Western Canada's largest crops.



Part One of The Current

Satire

It's Tuesday May 31st.

A condominium suite in Toronto sold for a record breaking $28 million dollars. ... of course it would have gone for $30 million if it had parking.

The is the Current.

Canadian Wheat Board Sales

We started this segment with a clip from Gordon Wilson, a farmer in Kindersley Saskatchewan. And the guns issue he raised is a familiar one ... the debate over the long-gun registry. But the other issue may not be so familiar to many of you.

It's the fate of the Canadian Wheat Board ... and it's been one of the hottest political issues in rural Western Canada for years. And now that the Conservatives have their majority - they are making good on a promise to change the way it functions. It's just one of the many changes we should start to see once Parliament gets back to work on Thursday.

Currently, Western Canadian grain farmers must sell their wheat and barley through the Wheat Board, which works the international marketplace to guarantee a minimum price for their grain and protects farmers from market fluctuations. But the federal Conservatives want to give farmers the choice to sell their wheat on their own - and potentially get a better price. And given the election results, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the government now has the mandate to end the Wheat Board's monopoly without explicit authorization from grain farmers. We aired an excerpt with what he told CBC Saskatchewan earlier this month.

But farmer Bill Hetland of Naicam, Saskatchewan has a different take. We aired a clip.

Today we were joined by two other prairie wheat farmers who have a stake in this debate. Noreen Johns runs her family farm in Zelma, Saskatchewan. She was in Saskatoon this morning. And Kevin Bender farms near Bentley, Alberta. He's the president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association. He was in Sylvan Lake, Alberta.

Gerry Ritz is the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and he joined us from outside St.Walberg, Saskatchewan.

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