Home > Conservatives, Federal, Liberals, NDP > Time To Call For A Farmer’s Referendum On The Wheat Board?

Time To Call For A Farmer’s Referendum On The Wheat Board?

December 23, 2006

The Conservatives, as of late, have been performing many actions in order to undermine the Canadian Wheat Board, such as firing the pro-monopoly president.

This has put the Liberals and the NDP on the defensive on this subject, with both parties calling for the preservation of the Canadian Wheat Board.

However, I think that there is a way to really use this issue to really attack the Tories on the issue.

Notice that one of the new rhetoric items coming from the Tories is the fact that they are introducing more democracy into institutions that have never had it before.

Well, let’s use that idea: more democracy. The NDP should be calling for a referendum, consisting of all of the stakeholders in the Wheat Board, asking the question “Do you support the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly?”

This would be of advantage to us politically in many ways.

First of all, we would be sending a message to the farmers that says “we think that you know what is best for your farm.” That would weight more positivity on farmer’s minds than city-slicker Jack Layton (or Dion for that matter) just dictating what should happen to the Wheat Board. I notice that one of the more convincing arguments coming from the Tories is that Farmer’s should have a choice, and a referendum would give them that choice.

If the Tories refuse to hold a referendum and continue to dismantle the Wheat Board, we can say, with the weight of the Tories’ actions behind us, that the Tories don’t care about democracy or the choice of farmers.

If the Tories do hold a referendum, then there is the risk that the Wheat Board’s monopoly could fall. But considering recent Wheat Board elections, it looks like that Farmers want to preserve it. As well, imagine the media attention: which would be the prefect way to get attention for pro-monopoly, wheat board, NDP activists.

Think about it, a referendum would shift the NDP from the defensive to the offensive on this issue, and send the correct signals to farmers that the NDP thinks that they can make there own choices. Besides, it would be funny to see the Conservatives run away from democracy.

  1. Devin Johnston
    December 23, 2006 at 8:20 am

    Right on the money! Great post.

  2. The Jurist
    December 23, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    Definitely a good one. And let’s add one more plus to the mix: it would also put the federal NDP directly in line with our two current premiers, who have already called for just such a vote.

  3. Kristoff
    December 23, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    The wheat board just completed elections for 5 of the 10 elected Board of Directors. 4 of the 5 elected directors were pro-monopoly. The National Farmers Union and other farm groups are calling THIS the election on whether farmers support the wheat board as a monopoly. They have already used their right to democracy in their board elections and dont need to vote over and over again to prove they still support the Wheat Board.

    Also as a note the Premiers were going to perform referendums on the issue because Harper and Strahl refused to. Now Strahl is calling a referendum on Barley in 2007 and one for wheat in a year. The Premiers move was a pre-emptive move because of democracy being ignored on the issue. (they have since backed off a little)

    Of note on the topic of the Barley Referendum Strahl has said the results of a referendum are not binding and he will find ways to push ahead with their ‘restructuring plan’ regardless.

  4. leftdog
    December 23, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    IN FACT …. the current Canadian Wheat Board Act STATES that any change to the ‘single desk’ marketing aspect of the CWB can ONLY be changed by a Farmer vote:

    Canadian Wheat Board Act

    BILL C-24

    An Act to provide for the constitution and powers of The Canadian Wheat Board

    47.1 The Minister shall not cause to be introduced in Parliament a bill that would exclude any kind, type, class or grade of wheat or barley, or wheat or barley produced in any area in Canada, from the provisions of Part IV, either in whole or in part, or generally, or for any period, or that would extend the application of Part III or Part IV or both Parts III and IV to any other grain, unless

    1. ) the Minister has consulted with the board about the exclusion or extension; and
    2. ) the producers of the grain have voted in favour of the exclusion or extention, the voting process having been determined by the Minister.
    1998, c. 17, s. 25.

    So – Harper is BREAKING the existing law by NOT having a vote on changes.

    Good post!!

  5. wilson61
    December 23, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    ”So – Harper is BREAKING the existing law by NOT having a vote on changes.”

    What changes has PMSH made?
    Strahl announced there will be a vote, in the new year, for barley producers only, leaving the WCB in tact for wheat producers in Western Canada.

    If the CWB will not let farmers choose how they market their grain, the only 2 choices left are to NOT grow board grains, or MOVE to Ontario or Quebec, where farmers are not treated like criminals.

    Of course, the fair way to handle this would be for the CWB to offer farmers 3-5 year contracts with no opting out.

  6. leftdog
    December 24, 2006 at 1:22 am

    HI! I couldn’t find your email so,
    this is you Christmas TAG!

  7. Chad Moats
    December 27, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    Let’s also remember that it isn’t a monopoly,either.


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