January 12, 2009 – The Alberta Government must respect the wishes of farmers and stop spending taxpayers’ money on a campaign to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), says Doug Scott, a Board member of the National Farmers Union (NFU).
The Alberta Government must respect the wishes of farmers and stop spending taxpayers’ money on a campaign to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), says Doug Scott, a Board member of the National Farmers Union (NFU).
In a letter to Alberta Agriculture Minister George Groeneveld, Scott said the recent CWB Director elections have confirmed strong support for the single desk marketing advantages of the CWB. The election results also prove that farmers want to continue to exercise control over their own marketing board through the CWB Board of Directors. Scott said it is clear farmers don’t want governments to dictate the direction of the CWB.
Scott, who farms near Waskatenau, said the voter turnout in last fall’s CWB Director elections was “nearly equal” to the turnout of the recent federal general election, so the government is obliged to recognize the democratic wishes of producers.
“The Alberta Conservative Government has spent many millions of taxpayers’ dollars on a so-called ‘market choice’ campaign over the past several decades,” he noted. “Despite this expensive and pervasive campaign, the farmers of Alberta continue to use reason and common sense as the foundation for their decisions regarding wheat and barley marketing. We strongly suggest the time has now arrived for the Alberta Government to step back and allow farmers to democratically decide the future of their marketing agency, the CWB.”
Scott said the Alberta Agriculture Minister should also encourage his Conservative colleagues in the Harper Government in Ottawa to:
- Drop their legal appeal regarding the gag order imposed on the CWB in 2006;
- Reimburse farmers for the severance package paid to Adrian Measner as a result of the firing of Mr. Measner without cause – an event triggered by the Harper Government;
- Replace the Harper-appointed CWB Directors with qualified individuals chosen by the elected CWB Board of Directors;
- State publicly their opposition to allowing the World Trade Organization (WTO) to destroy the single desk marketing advantages of the CWB.
“Given farmers’ strong support for farmer control of the CWB and the CWB single desk, the Alberta Government should listen to farmers and step back from its campaign to destroy the CWB,” Scott concluded.
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Doug Scott, NFU National Board member (780) 358-2376 or (780) 650-1336
Jan Slomp, NFU Alberta Coordinator (403) 843-2068
Terry Pugh, NFU Executive-Secretary (306) 652-9465