FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saskatoon, Sask. – The NFU is calling on Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz to quit hiding
behind closed doors as his government steamrolls legislation through Parliament to kill
the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB). Yesterday, several farmers attempted to attend an
event at which the Minister was to give a speech, at the Rahr Malting Canada plant in
Alix, Alberta. “It is really quite troubling that Ritz does not want to allow farmers to hear
his speeches. He supposedly has come to bring us good news. You’d think that they
would be happy to invite us in to hear about it,” stated NFU Region 7 (Alberta)
Coordinator Jan Slomp.
“Harper and Ritz have been collecting endorsements for ending our CWB, from all the
industries that are looking forward to generating greater profits by paying lower prices to
grain farmers. Even the Conservative MPs should be able to see there is something
wrong with this picture, if they care at all about farmers and their communities,” stated
NFU member Ken Larsen.
“These plants are announcing these expansion plans because they know that without the
CWB in the picture, they will be able to access grain from farmers at cheaper prices.
That might be good news for these plants, but it is very bad news for farmers. Ritz
knows that, and that’s why he’s hiding behind these gates today,” stated NFU member
“This is just a big smokescreen. The Harper government is forcing the legislation
through Parliament, while making these announcements. They are hoping farmers won’t
notice before the legislation is passed and the CWB is finished off for good,” stated NFU
member Dale Fankhanel.
“It is very important that all Canadians take note of what’s being done here. If the
government was really interested in hearing the concerns and suggestions of its citizens,
in this case prairie grain farmers, they would be holding consultations throughout the
countryside through the fall and winter, and they would be allowing us to attend their
speeches. Instead, they are shutting us out and ramming their legislation down our
throats, before we even have time finish up our fall work. If they can do this with the
CWB, they will do it with other policies important to Canadians such as health care,”