Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Tories table bill to privatize Wheat Board

The federal government tabled a bill today to end the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on wheat and barley sales in Western Canada.

The move will effectively dismantle the wheat board as it exists today, allowing farmers to sell their own wheat, durum, and barley beginning in 2012.

The proposed law includes a five-year transition plan, according to the CBC, that would privatize the Wheat Board - which would serve as a voluntary marketer -- and replace its ten elected positions with government appointees.

While Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the move will give farmers more freedom, the wheat board chair Allen Oberg and other supporters argue it will force grain farmers into an open market without the benefit of the board's protection. They say farmers will end up competing against each other for lower prices.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper made no secret of the fact that his party intended to dismantle the wheat board during the last federal election, in which his party maintained a Prairie stronghold.

Manitoba farmer Andrew Dennis told reporters that farmers who voted Conservative were "duped" by the Tories because they expected the government to respect the Wheat Board Act, which guarantees farmers the right to vote on changes to the board's marketing structure.

In a recent plebiscite, 62 per cent of 38,261 farmers who voted wanted to retain a single marketing desk for wheat (and 51 per cent voted to retain it for barley)

A group called Friends of the Wheat Board has already filed an application for judicial review of the bill.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus