The fate of the CWB after the federal government imposes major, irreversible change will be the focus of six producer meetings to be held across the Prairies in August.
“As farmers, we are at the 11th hour and facing a monumental change,” said CWB board chair Allen Oberg, who farms near Forestburg, Alberta. “In a matter of weeks, the government intends to introduce legislation that will permanently remove the single-desk marketing structure for wheat and barley. As elected directors of the CWB, we have a duty to ensure that our stakeholders – the farmers of Western Canada – are as fully informed as possible, so we can all face the future with eyes wide open.”
Oberg said the fate of a multi-billion dollar organization, specifically designed to benefit producers, is being unilaterally decided by government with no analysis of the impacts and no vision for how farmers will be served in its absence. The government has done nothing to inform producers about the implications, nor even give them a say in whether the CWB single desk should be removed at all, he said.
“Farmers need to understand that, once this change is made, the CWB will be gone forever. We have been presented with no public policy rationale, no economic impact studies, no serious analysis of what this will mean for farmers.”
Oberg said the meetings are designed to bring farmers together with other concerned Canadians and their CWB directors for a frank and open discussion. The first meeting will be held in Regina on August 8. Meeting information can be found below.
“We want to clarify exactly what is going on and discuss the implications for the future,” he said. “We also want to answer farmers’ questions. We know there are many questions, given the misinformation circulating about what will or won’t happen if the single desk is removed.”
Oberg said directors will also encourage farmers to vote in the current CWB plebiscite, given that the government intends to circumvent producers’ current legal right to a binding vote on the future of their marketing organization. Legislation is planned to be introduced this fall to repeal or amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act, removing the requirement for a farmer plebiscite before dismantling the CWB single desk by August 1, 2012.
The CWB’s board of directors is committed to sharing information and discussing the issues with farmers in as many ways as possible. Oberg has recently begun a blog at cwbeyeswideopen.blogspot.com . Other information, including a short video featuring Oberg on his farm, is also posted on the CWB Web site at http://www.cwb.ca/ .
Controlled by western Canadian farmers, the CWB is the largest wheat and barley marketer in the world. One of Canada’s biggest exporters, the Winnipeg-based organization sells grain to over 70 countries and returns all sales revenue, less marketing costs, to farmers.
For more information, please contact:
CWB media relations manager
Tel: (204) 983-3101
Cell: (204) 227-6927
CWB farmer director meetings, August 2011
No registration is required. All meetings are free. Refreshments will be served.
|Regina, SK||Aug. 8||7 p.m.||Travelodge, 4177 Albert St.|
|Saskatoon, SK||Aug. 9||7 p.m.||Saskatoon Inn, 2002 Airport Dr.|
|Oak Bluff, MB||Aug. 10||7 p.m.||Oak Bluff Recreation Centre, 101 MacDonald Rd.|
|Dauphin, MB||Aug. 11||7 p.m.||Ukrainian Orthodox Auditorium, (8th Ave. Hall), 304 Whitmore Ave.|
|Medicine Hat, AB||Aug. 15||7 p.m.||Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede (Higdon Hall), 2055-21st Ave. SE|
|Camrose, AB||Aug. 16||7 p.m.||Camrose Regional Exhibition (CRE)- Gold Room, 4250 Exhibition Dr.|