Winds of change are sweeping across the Prairies as the Canadian Wheat Board's decades-long monopoly on western wheat and barley sales ends, but opinions are mixed on whether those breezes will blow good or ill.
The CEO of the board says his agency is facing the future with confidence.
"There are many reasons for confidence as the CWB forges ahead into this new era," Ian White said Tuesday at a news conference in Winnipeg.
"We will add value to farmers. We have streamlined our operations. We have negotiated new business arrangements that will help us succeed. We are ready to face this new marketing era."
The federal government passed a law late last year to allow western farmers to sell their grain to whomever they choose, whenever they choose. That change kicks in Wednesday with the new crop year.
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was in Saskatoon on Tuesday literally counting down the last hours of the wheat board's monopoly. He stood in front of a blue screen that displayed a clock ticking down to midnight.
"Tomorrow the doors to marketing freedom open wide," Ritz said.
The agriculture minister noted that farmers can still market their grain through the board, but now it will be voluntary. Wheat and barley farmers in Western Canada had to sell their grain through the board since the 1940s.
The change has the support of many farm groups, which say producers can often get better prices on the open market.
But supporters of the monopoly say the open market will leave farmers at the mercy of railways and big international grain companies. They argue the monopoly prevented producers from competing against each other for sales.
Kevin Bender, president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, said there will be little difference between marketing wheat and barley and what farmers have already been doing with other crops including canola, oats, peas and lentils.
"I really don't see much of an issue there with it at all. So many of us are looking forward to this now," he said from his canola field in Bentley, Alta.
Farmers didn't always know under the old system when the board would call for delivery, Bender explained. The change puts farmers "more in the driver's seat."
"We can do what we want with our property, sell it when we want and where we want and for the price we want."
The Western Barley Growers Association called it "an historic day" in a banner year of change in agriculture.
"It's been a long-standing bone in the craw of a lot of farmers and frankly a lot of farmers gave up the hope that it would ever be changed," president Doug Robertson said.
"It's just amazing how difficult it was, especially when it was put in by government in the first place. It should have been easy to be taken out again, but man alive it was not. And every farmer I talk to just feels so optimistic."
But last week the National Farmers Union called it "a year of infamy in Canadian agricultural policy." President Terry Boehm said the Conservative government launched an unprecedented attack on farmers and democratic process.
"Farmers, as well as all Canadians, have seen Gerry Ritz and Stephen Harper use every tactic in the book to ram through (legislation) - which is one of the most fundamental changes to agricultural policy in three generations," Boehm said in a news release.
This December has marked 16 years when Andy McMechan got out of a Brandon, Manitoba jail after 155 days when he went in the summer. December also marks the 10 year anniversary for the last of the Alberta Farmers For Justice farmers to get out of the Lethbridge, Alberta jail when they went in on October 31st.
What were these farmers in prison for?? They moved and sold their OWN grain from their own farms to the USA instead for taking their own grain
to the CWB Monopoly which was the only option any WESTERN Canadia farmer had.
This year on August 1st The Canadian Government finally allowed Western Farmers choice where and how farmers sell their wheat and durum.
This marks a very important December for Western Farmers who have so much to be thankful for this Christmas. And many thankful farmers, for those farmers who that believed so strongly in having Freedom in Grain marketing, for Western Canada as the rest of the nation had.
We must be thankful to our Government, who kept their promise of marketing freedom as other Canadian farmers had for years before western
farmers - none of them had to go to jail as we did!
Thank Andy and the rest of you Ab. and Mb. farmers who went to jail in a belief we all knew!!
On this Remembrance Day we want to remember all our veterans, past and present, and their families, for their great sacrifices to ensure that we, as Canadians, continue to live in peace, comfort and stability.
Wheat Board monopoly's death a seismic shift for Prairie agriculture
Prime Minster Stephen Harper said the government will be granting pardons to farmers who were convicted for challenging a law requiring them to sell their grain through the Canadian Wheat Board.
Harper made the announcement at a farm in Kindersley, Sask. Wednesday, the day a new law came into effect ending the board’s monopoly on western wheat and barley sales.
The farmers, part of a group called Farmers for Justice, had been convicted of taking their grain across the U.S. border. Others had their vehicles or equipment seized at the border.
“Their acts were purely symbolic of course,” Harper told a gathered crowd. Sometimes “just a few loads of grain were driven across the border. Sometimes, just a token shaft of wheat in the back of a pick-up truck.”
Harper said he was granting the pardon under a rarely invoked power.
“To the authority of the Crown falls an ancient power; the Royal Prerogative of Mercy,” Harper said.
“It is a rare and significant thing for this power to be exercised. But ladies and gentlemen, today I am pleased to announce it will be exercised. The group of farmers convicted under the old unjust legislation of the Wheat Board monopoly will be pardoned by the government.”
The law ending the board’s monopoly on western wheat and barley sales was passed late last year, and allows western farmers to market and sell their grain to whomever they choose.
Under the new legislation, farmers can still market their grain through the board, but it’s no longer mandatory. Western wheat and barley farmers have had to sell grain through the Canadian Wheat Board since the 1940s.
On Wednesday, the federal government was celebrating what it called grain marketing freedom day, hailed by the prime minster as “a great day for Western Canadian farmers.”
Harper said the changes mean the government “has simply given to western Canadian grain farmers the exact same freedom that already belongs to similar farmers in the rest of this country.”
Wednesday marked more than the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly over western wheat and grain. Board officials also kicked off the new crop year by inking a deal with one of the nation’s largest grain companies.
Winnipeg-based agribusiness Richardson International announced Wednesday that it has agreed to accept grain deliveries from farmers with wheat board contracts at all of its locations.
Richardson International President Curt Vossen said in a statement that the company was pleased to “provide farmers with flexible marketing options -- whether they are marketing their grain through the (wheat board) or working with Richardson directly to sell their product.”
Wheat board president Ian White was similarly optimistic, noting the deal has secured more than 170 locations in western Canada where farmers can deliver grain to the board.
“Our network of delivery locations for CWB grain has expanded to include the vast majority of elevators in Western Canada," White said in a statement issued Wednesday. "Farmers can sign CWB contracts, confident that they can deliver grain to a country location nearby.”
With files from The Canadian Press
End of an era as CWB loses decades-long monopoly
'Doors to freedom open wide'
Ritz says end of CWB monopoly creates opportunities, despite pasta plant delay
May 16, 2012
by The Canadian Press
Despite news that a new pasta plant on the Prairies is delayed, Ottawa says ending the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing monopoly will create more opportunities for farmers and processors.
Alliance Grain Traders said this week that its plans to build a $50-million pasta-processing plant in Regina are on hold.
The company wants to time to monitor developments in the North American grain industry, including the end of board's monopoly and the proposed sale of Regina-based grain handler Viterra.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says in an email to The Canadian Press that many reasons, including global economic instability, have made it difficult for industry to grow.
But he adds the government is pleased that Alliance Grain has committed to having shovels in the ground in 2013.
The plant was announced last fall with great fanfare as Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood in a pulse processing facility in Regina.
Feds Lure Biz to Churchill Port
April 14, 2012
by Mia Rabson
The federal government rolled out its new incentive program to convince grain companies to keep using the Port of Churchill.
The Churchill Port Utilization Program will offer $5 million a year for the next five years to companies that use the port to deliver one of 19 different grains. The incentive for 2012 is $9 per tonne.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz unveiled the details in Tisdale, Sask., at the Hudson Bay Route Association's annual general meeting. Ritz said the program will keep Churchill as a strategic shipping option. The move comes as the grain-handling business in Canada adapts to the new reality of a monopoly-free Canadian Wheat Board. Legislation passed in December gives Prairie farmers the freedom to choose whether to market their wheat and barley through the CWB.
The change raised serious questions about the future of the Port of Churchill. About 85 to 90 per cent of the port's business comes from the CWB.
Ritz pledged to help the port adjust, including $4.1 million for port maintenance and an incentive program to entice companies that hadn't traditionally used Churchill.
About 200 people in Churchill rely on the port for jobs.
The incentive program is a first-come, first-served option with applications accepted after April 20. In future years, the applications will begin April 1. Companies will have to prove by Dec. 31 the shipment was made.
Eligible applicants are those that legally arrange for and carry out shipments through Churchill on outward ocean-going vessels.
The amount of each grant will depend on the amount of grain shipped.
NDP Churchill MP Niki Ashton said this is a clear example of the Conservative government's disconnect between people and needs on the Prairies.
"The Conservatives showed how little they cared about Churchill by dismantling the wheat board in the first place," said Ashton. "They got rid of the organization that made up for 90 per cent-plus of the shipments through Churchill. They're throwing away taxpayers' money to make up for a system that worked."
The provincial government sought to have input into the incentive program but Ottawa rebuffed the request.
A provincial spokesman said Friday the province is waiting for the federal government to commit to creating a task force to work on diversifying the port's business.
Government of Canada Helps Diversify Port of Churchill
The town and Port of Churchill will benefit from diversification of business with the support of the Government of Canada. Today, at the Hudson Bay Route Association's Annual General Meeting, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced the launch of the Churchill Port Utilisation Program to support shipments of a variety of grains through the Port of Churchill.
"Our Government remains focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, and the grain industry is a key part of the economy," said Minister Ritz. "This program will ensure that the Port of Churchill remains a strategic shipping option for our farmers and grain companies who want to take advantage of this world-class facility."
The Churchill Port Utilization Program will provide up to $25 million over five years to help maintain the historical volume of grain going through the Port, expand the Port's customer base and provide it with time to pursue additional long-term commercial opportunities. Applications are now available online.
The new program is part of a package of government initiatives that include:
Providing up to $4.1 million over three years through Transport Canada for Port maintenance
Extending the project completion date from 2013 to 2015 for infrastructure improvements funded through Western Economic Diversification Canada
Exploring options for the development of the community of Churchill
The Churchill Port Utilization Program will be in place over the five-year transition to marketing freedom in Western Canada that began with the coming into force of the new Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act in December of last year.
Thanks to the Harper Government, Western Canadian farmers now have the freedom to choose how they sell their products - either on the open market or to a voluntary, viable Canadian Wheat Board.
More information on the Churchill Port Utilization Program and the application process is available on the website at www.agr.gc.ca/cpup or by calling 1-877-290-2188.
On December 15, 2011, the Parliament of Canada passed the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, which removes the Canadian Wheat Board single-desk monopoly for wheat, barley and durum beginning August 1, 2012.
This legislation changed the way in which wheat and barley will be marketed in Western Canada. For more than 50 years, the CWB has been the primary supplier of business to the Port of Churchill. Grain marketers other than the CWB have not been allowed to market Western Canadian wheat and barley other than for domestic feed, and they will need time to adjust to the various marketing channels now available to them.
The Government of Canada recognizes that the Port of Churchill continues to be an important shipping option for wheat and barley, and that it has the potential to be an option for other products as well. At the same time, it will need time to adjust to a new grain marketing model in Western Canada.
With the Churchill Port Utilisation Program, the Government is taking action to provide the Port with an opportunity to pursue new commercial opportunities. The program has been designed to encourage grain marketers who have never shipped through Churchill to consider the feasibility of using the Port. It will provide an economic incentive to support shipments of wheat and barley through the Port of Churchill, as well as other grains including oilseeds, pulses and special crops.
Eligible recipients, including the CWB, will receive a per-tonne economic incentive to be applied to the overall cost of shipping grain, based on loading onto an outbound ocean-going vessel at the Port of Churchill.
A 'Farmer Freedom to make a Profit' Day
January 26, 2012
by Barry Wilson
First it was Tax Freedom Day, a propaganda effort by the right-wing Canadian Taxpayers Federation to highlight how much government taxes take from the average Canadian every year.
By the CTF calculation, the average Canadian has to work until June 6 to pay for the federal, provincial and municipal tax haul.
Then came Food Freedom Day, an event organized by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture to mark the day the average Canadian has earned enough to pay for the year’s grocery bill.
The CFA will announce next week that this year, it calculates the groceries bill will be paid for by Feb. 12, the same Food Freedom Day that has held for the past four years.
The CFA has taken the “freedom” idea further, calculating that Canadians on average earn enough to pay the farmer income share of the yearly grocery bill by mid-January.
On Jan. 25, Canadian unions got into the “freedom day” act.
Canadian Labour Congress economists calculated that after years of corporate tax cuts, Corporate Tax Freedom Day falls on Feb 1 this year — the day when the corporate sector will have earned enough to pay all its annual taxes to all levels of government.
Another federal corporate tax cut implemented Jan. 1 by the Conservative government means corporate tax freedom day will fall sometime in January next year.
This will be good news for the railways, fertilizer, chemical and other farm input supply corporations that supply goods and services to farmers.
So here’s a suggestion for the CFA or other farm organizations: Never mind how quickly Canadians earn enough to pay their food bill; why not calculate an approximate time of the year when farmers in an average year (whatever that is) earn enough revenue to pay their costs?
Let’s call it Farmer Freedom to Earn A Profit Day.
Despite recent good times, for some farmers and some sectors in some years, that day will never arrive and certainly not predictably.
It would be a difficult calculation to make, varying by sector and by farm, but even a notional idea of when Farmer Freedom to Earn a Profit Day could be a powerful public relations marker for how well the sector is doing.
Decision Reserved on Wheat Board Challenge
A Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench judge reserved his decision Wednesday on whether to grant an injunction that would halt implementation of Ottawa's new grain marketing law.
Eight former Canadian Wheat Board directors brought the application before Justice Shane Perlmutter, who presided over a two-day hearing.
They're seeking the injunction until the validity of the Harper government's Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act is tested in the courts. The act, proclaimed in December, would end the CWB's monopoly on Prairie wheat and barley sales.
The eight former directors — all farmers — sought the injunction after a Federal Court judge ruled last month that Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz broke the law by introducing Bill C-18 in October without consulting the board or holding a plebiscite of Prairie grain growers. The federal Conservatives proceeded to pass the new law, despite the ruling.
On Wednesday, federal lawyer Robert MacKinnon argued that Federal Court Justice Douglas Campbell's ruling did not invalidate the new law. He said the ruling was simply a declaration about the minister's actions.
MacKinnon noted that the former directors' own lawyer had made it clear in Federal Court that they were not challenging the right of Parliament to pass Bill C-18.
"There's nothing in the declaration to even suggest that the bill should be withdrawn or that it is invalid," MacKinnon argued. "You cannot make a brick out of a single grain of sand here."
On Tuesday, the lawyer representing the eight former directors — who were removed from office when the new grain marketing act came into force — said Ottawa's failure to give Prairie farmers a vote, as required under the old legislation governing the CWB, was "an affront to society as a whole."
Colin MacArthur also argued that ending the grain seller's single desk would cause "irreparable harm" to western growers.
But MacKinnon disputed that on Wednesday. He said it is not an established fact, as argued by CWB proponents, that the board's single-desk marketing function provides farmers with better returns than they would receive by selling their grain on the open market.
He also argued that the uncertainty created by the former directors' legal actions could negatively affect Prairie farmers. International grain buyers may question whether Canada will be able to meet its commitments as a supplier, he added.
Freedom for Farmers
Our government was elected with a strong mandate from prairie farmers to deliver on our commitments, and we have done just that.
Finally, for the first time in 68 long years, Western farmers have the freedom to take full control of the marketing of their wheat and barley. With the act now in force, wheat and barley farmers across Western Canada will be able to start forward contracting immediately for delivery beginning Aug. 1, 2012.
Our government has not wavered on our commitment to marketing freedom, and we never will. Farmers must have the freedom to market their crops in the best interests of their individual farms, be it to a processor, a pasta manufacturer, a flour mill or malt barley plant, or a viable, voluntary, Canadian Wheat Board.
While I am proud of the role our government has played in making marketing freedom a reality, we did not do it alone. This is truly the result of decades of hard work by prairie grain farmers, the entire grain value chain, farm group leadership, and the provincial governments who recognized that Western farmers deserve the same rights as Ontario farmers to market their own crops.
Whether you operate a large, mid-sized or small farm; whether you want to sell off the combine or out of the bin; or whether you want to take charge of your marketing or prefer the comfort zone of a pool. All farmers now have the freedom to drive their businesses where the rubber meets the road - at the point of sale.
When one looks at the innovation and the richness of resources that bless our great nation, it is clear that opportunities are there for the taking. These opportunities are evermore bolstered by the fact that Western Canadian grain farmers finally have the marketing freedom they want and deserve.
Gerry Ritz, Ottawa Agriculture Minister
The Last FFJ'rs Are Released!!
December 4, 2011 marked the date for the last of the three FFJ famers to be out of released from prison, a full NINE YEARS (2002!!) after the fourth farmer jailed was released.
Andy McMechen and his family finally had their 1996 Christmas Wish happen when Andy was released. He was jailed in July of 1996 for not paying fines after taking his tractor and grain to feed his cattle. The years that it has taken - and all the while the CWB monopoly happily keeping their fist on Western Canadian farmers.
Thanks PC government for changing our lives!!
A year has passed...
A year has passed but we still realize that FFJ'ers, the fight for CHOICE, the fight for no MONOPOLY with the CWB lost a VERY strong voice in DAN CREIGHTON.
He was willing. And he committed his all towards this issue.
THANK YOU for your efforts, Dan. THANK YOU for your total commitment.
You are not forgotten.
And to the Creighton family,
We realize what Dan did for this movement. Your sacrifice is not forgotten either.
Farmer who fought for marketing freedom dies at 78
Ken Gousseau, CTV Regina
Date: Wednesday Nov. 9, 2011 5:18 PM CST
A Saskatchewan farmer and lifelong fighter for marketing freedom has passed away after losing a battle with cancer.
Art Mainil died Saturday at 78. The Benson-area producer was a fierce opponent of the Canadian Wheat Board and a pioneer of the Weyburn Inland Terminal.
The terminal, which opened in 1976, was the first in Canada to be owned and operated by farmers.
"I don't know that the Weyburn Inland Terminal could have ever been started without a man of his drive and his conviction," said terminal CEO Rob Davies.
"He had a very clear vision of what he wanted and he was willing to stand up for those things and fight for them."
Mainil was part of a group of producers, called Farmers for Justice, that protested against the wheat board monopoly in the 1990s by selling grain to the U.S. without the marketer's approval.
Last month, the Conservative government introduced a bill that, if passed, will allow Western Canadian farmers to market their wheat and barley on the open market as of Aug. 1.
"We've been waiting a long time," said Ron Duffy of Farmers for Justice, who remembered Mainil as a "tenacious" fighter for marketing freedom.
"It would have been nice if he could have hung in there until we got this done."
A funeral service for Mainil will be held at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Estevan on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. A prayer service will be held at Hall Funeral Services in Estevan on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
“The best road to progress is freedom's road.” John F. Kennedy
Art Mainil died over the weekend. If you have an hour to spare some day, Google “Art Mainil”. In it you will find a relentless passion to change the status quo and have marketing choice. He truly was a wheat warrior.
Today, I give you the best of Art Mainil:
The Story of Weyburn Inland Terminal 1978 - 2001 ' . In Saskatchewan, the home of the co-operative movement, in 1970 Art Mainil and some of his friends began movements to bring grain handling more under the control of farmer-owners. Their concept - a large inland storage facility modeled on those they'd seen in the U.S. and those built in Canada, by the Federal government in 1918, as make-work projects. Thirty one years (and 204 pages) later they had a facility that paid shareholder dividends of $870.000 . There were a few bumps along the way !! (JUST A BUNCH OF FARMERS)
"We were thrown in jail. I had my truck seized. I had fines. Even after we win this, they won't give us our fines back. They treated us like terrorists," said Mainil . Some of those fined choose to serve jail time rather than pay. Six had their convictions overturned in May 2005, after appealing to various levels of the courts. They don't have a right to do this. That's why we have an obligation as citizens of this country to make an example of people that do that because what's to stop them from doing to some other innocent person." The Court of Appeal ruled it was not required that one produce a Canadian Wheat Board license under the Customs Act and Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations. The Canadian Wheat Board has said the ruling was based on a technicality and the wording of the legislation has since changed so that licences now have to be produced for Customs officials. (CANADA.COM)
Nobody is saying do away with the monopoly. Just give those a chance who want freedom, who believe in freedom, an option, a choice and competition. The CWB (says it) can’t compete without a monopoly. The monopoly is incompetent by its own admission, the only business in the world that has ever pleaded incompetence to retain its position. Politicians, federal and provincial, toured the provinces in Western Canada in 2010 to look at disaster flooding and came up with an aid package. Western Canada lives under a monopoly and only Western Canada. Anyone who is forced to live under the disaster of a monopoly should qualify for an aid package every year. (WESTERN PRODUCER - NOVEMBER 25, 2010)
Mr. Harper, remove and replace Gerry Ritz with someone who has the courage to carry out the court decision of the "gag order" and fulfill your promise of a competitive and voluntary CWB. Mr. Harper, since you were elected, the CWB monopoly has become more belligerent and lawless. (ESTEVAN MERCURY - MARCH 23, 2011)
GRAIN STATS WEEKLY: Canadian
CWB DIRECTORS CONTINUE TO WASTE FARMER’S MONEY
The Western Barley Growers Association (WBGA) strongly opposes the decision by the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) directors to launch another legal action against the Federal Government’s legislation to give Western Canadian farmers marketing freedom. Allen Oberg, chairman of the CWB, announced the intent of the CWB directors to take legal action against the Federal Government, stating “government broke the law when it introduced Bill C-18 on October 18 because it did not first conduct a plebiscite of affected producers, as required by Section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act.”
All legal costs the CWB will incur are paid by farmers participating in the CWB pool accounts. “This is a waste of producer’s money. The CWB is squandering valuable time by focusing on launching legal actions and a full blown media attack against the Federal legislation rather than concentrating on developing a business plan to offer a service to producers after August 1, 2012,.” maintains Otto.
“Furthermore, it is frustrating that the eight directors who adamantly support the single desk are letting their ideology stand in the way of developing a plan that would enable the CWB to adapt and survive in an open market,” says Otto.
However, it appears the CWB directors are alone in their position that the government cannot amend the CWB Act without a plebiscite. The NDP and the Liberals have said the government is well within its right to repeal the Act. “Surely the CWB board must see this as a fruitless exercise that will do nothing more than make a political statement that has been made already,” comments Otto.
“This legal action creates uncertainty for producers, processors, overseas customers and the grain handling sector at a time when the industry needs clarity to move forward”, continues Otto. The WBGA supports Minister Ritz and Bill C-18 which offers certainty and clarity that the industry needs to conduct business in a commercial and transparent market place next year.
“It is time that the CWB board accepted the reality of an open market by August and stop trying to intentionally disrupt the market place with their actions. Producers are ready, the industry is ready but sadly, the CWB is not.” concludes Otto.
CWB DIRECTOR JEFF NIELSEN QUITS, SAYING HE CAN’T CONDONE BOARD’S LACK OF RESPECT
Director Jeff Nielsen of Canadian Wheat Board today announced he resigned, effective immediately, earlier today from the organization. Nielsen represented District 2 in west-central Alberta and
is the second director from Alberta to resign in a week. Henry Vos of Fairview resigned on Wednesday.
Nielsen, who farms 1,350 acres near Olds, Alta., said he consulted several producers in his district as well as others across Western Canada before making the decision. In a letter to constituents, Nielsen said “in recent months, as the Government of Canada has built momentum to bring about positive and exciting changes, several board members have resisted all change in favour of the status quo.”
In his letter to CWB chairman Allen Oberg, Nielsen said “I cannot condone “your and other directors’ continued lack of understanding and respect to producers in Western Canada.
“This lack of understanding and respect was apparent at what should have been informative, forward-moving producer meetings this past summer, yet your and other directors’ personal fight to maintain the status quo has prevailed. You personally have said you recognize the need for proactive change, and that view is reflected by producers in the CWB’s annual surveys. This, however, has not been reflected in your ongoing leadership or public actions or comments.”
Nielsen noted that: “More recently, the board’s decision to take legal action against the federal government—even after hearing from our counsel and our external counsel that such a challenge would be fruitless and would have little to no effect on the government moving ahead with Bill C-18—shows a total disrespect for producers and the stable government infrastructure that underpins our society. The CWB has an opportunity to move forward and adapt with farmers to help them compete in the global marketplace. You and other directors committed to the status quo have instead chosen a path of self-destruction. It is truly an unfortunate day for producers of wheat and barley.”
As someone who has worked for years to see wheat and barley continue to be successful crops in Western Canada, and being 100% committed to representing the interests and views of producers, Nielsen said he regrets having no alternative but to resign from the CWB
Why Henry Vos resigned as CWB director for District 1
Henry Vos – Today I made the very difficult decision to resign effective immediately as the director of District 1 of the Canadian Wheat Board. In a letter to CWB Chairman Allen Oberg, I expressed my deep regret in coming to the realization that I can no longer serve my constituents and Western Canadian grain farmers in general from within the organization.
Driven by a lifetime of commitment and passion for agriculture, I sought a directorship with the CWB because I wanted to bring about change for the benefit of farmers. I fully understood the CWB’s mandate and tried to improve its programs and services to farmers under that mandate. I saw many opportunities to provide farmers more freedom, flexibility and transparency, however, was in many cases treated as though my ideas would cause the destruction of the organization.
During my terms as director, I saw the decisions of many directors driven by hard-line ideology rather than business acumen. When those directors continually used pool account money to justify and support their views for a single desk, I found this “ideological bullying” unacceptable.
The CWB’s decision this week to launch a legal challenge against the Federal Government over the proposed changes to the CWB ACT, when it is clear to everyone that it will not change the outcome and would not change the timing of the government action, is simply wrong. A previous decision to suspend a director for simply expressing his opinion about the August “information meeting” is simply wrong. And the decision to allow a motion on the table to change the bylaw requiring a 2/3 majority to remove a director is simply wrong. Such decisions and other discussions that have taken place around the CWB table are not about doing what is best for commercial farmers—they are the decisions taken by “ideological bullies.”
What is happening at the CWB today is, in a word, wrong. To continue to work within the existing dysfunctional CWB board would be a disservice to those who voted me for me as their director. It would also be a disservice to all the farmers who want change and an option of using a voluntary CWB. Furthermore, at this time protecting the single desk “at all costs”, is in my view, destroying future opportunities, harming the reputation of the farmers, demoralizing staff and creating uncertainty with customers and the industry, all of which will cost farmers money.
I believe the Government of Canada’s efforts to change the CWB are in the best interests of Western Canadian grain producers and I will support their efforts and the efforts of other organizations and individuals committed to bring about positive change for Western Canadian farmers. Meanwhile, I thank you for support and understanding.
Sincerely, Henry Vos
A Pittance of Time
On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the store’s PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.
Terry was impressed with the store’s leadership role in adopting the Legion’s “two minutes of silence” initiative. He felt that the store’s contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.
When eleven o’clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the “two minutes of silence” to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.
Terry’s anger towards the father for trying to engage the store’s clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, “A Pittance of Time”.
A Pittance of Time
Written by Terry Kelly
Published by Jefter Publishing
They fought and some died for their homeland
They fought and some died now it’s our land
Look at his little child, there’s no fear in her eyes
Could he not show respect for other dads who have died?
Take two minutes, would you mind?
It’s a pittance of time
For the boys and the girls who went over
In peace may they rest, may we never forget why they died.
It’s a pittance of time
God forgive me for wanting to strike him
Give me strength so as not to be like him
My heart pounds in my breast, fingers pressed to my lips
My throat wants to bawl out, my tongue barely resists
But two minutes I will bide
It’s a pittance of time
For the boys and the girls who went over
In peace may they rest, may we never forget why they died.
It’s a pittance of time
Read the letters and poems of the heroes at home
They have casualties, battles, and fears of their own
There’s a price to be paid if you go, if you stay
Freedom is fought for and won in numerous ways
Take two minutes would you mind?
It’s a pittance of time
For the boys and the girls all over
May we never forget our young become vets
At the end of the line it’s a pittance of time
It takes courage to fight in your own war
It takes courage to fight someone else’s war
Our peacekeepers tell of their own living hell
They bring hope to foreign lands that the hatemongers can’t kill.
Take two minutes, would you mind?
It’s a pittance of time
For the boys and the girls who go over
In peacetime our best still don battle dress
And lay their lives on the line.
It’s a pittance of time
In Peace may they rest, lest we forget why they died.
Take a pittance of time
CWB Transition Group close to final recommendations... The working group tasked with addressing issues surrounding the Canadian Wheat Board's transition away from a single desk is finalizing its advice for the federal agriculture minister. Read more
Australia Minister urges Canada to open grain market... Canada is wise to plan the removal of its grain marketing monopoly, Australia's trade minister said on Friday, noting that opening the wheat market has boosted his country's trade position. Read more
Change is needed at the Canadian Wheat Board... The end of the Canadian Wheat Board's Monopoly is near. In fact, the Stephen Harper government has promised to terminate the single-desk sales system by the time we reach the 2012-2013 marketing year. Read more
A man who understands farming freedom... At long last, Canada has a federal Agriculture Minister who understands why a government monopoly over prairie wheat and barley marketing is incompatible with democratic rights. Read more
Ezra Levant on the Canadian Wheat Board...From The Source View here
Charles Adler on the Wheat Board...Sun TV's Charles Adler interviews Rolf Penner (MB VP Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association) and Cam Dahl (Frontier Centre) about the Canadian Wheat Board. View here
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