Saskatchewan

Canadian Wheat Board election results announced

Supporters of the Canadian Wheat Board's grain marketing monopoly are hailing recent elections for farmer-directors.

Supporters of the Canadian Wheat Board's grain marketing monopoly are hailing recent elections for farmer-directors.

After election results were announced Sunday, the National Farmers Union said four of the five new directors were strong supporters of the Winnipeg-based grain-marketing agency's "single-desk" system.

The wheat board has a monopoly on the export of western Canadian wheat and barley.

Proponents of that system say that helps ensure stability and good prices. But many farmers believe they can make more money selling their own grain. The Conservative government leans toward the latter view, saying it wants to give farmers more choice.

During the campaign, the NFU has accused Conservative MPs of using taxpayers' money to send mail to farmers advocating in favour of certain candidates.

Nineteen people were in the running for the five seats. The winners are:

  • Jeff Nielsen.
  • Bill Woods.
  • Cam Goff.
  • Rod Flaman.
  • Bill Toews.

Flaman and Toews are incumbents, while the other three are new directors.

The NFU didn't identify which of the five were for the single-desk system, but in his campaign material, Nielsen said he supported farmer choice.

Another pro-single-desk group, Real Voice for Choice, said the election results show support for a strong, farmer-controlled wheat board.

Saskatchewan Real Voice for Choice co-chair Earl Mickelson called on Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Prime Minister Stepher Harper to "immediately cease interfering in the affairs of the CWB," and respect the wishes of the majority of western farmers.

According to the wheat board, there were 31,244 eligible voters. Turnout in the mail-in vote was about 53 per cent.

There are 10 farmers on the 15-member CWB board of directors. Five of the directors are appointed. Elections for half of the farmer-director positions are held every two years.