NFU urges western provincial governments to purchase CWB assets
Deleau, MB – The National Farmers Union (NFU) is urging the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC to become actively engaged in the federal government’s plan to dispose of the farmer-paid Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) assets.
In a letter sent to the Manitoba Government today, farmer and NFU Board member Ian Robson urges Premier Selinger to purchase and hold the assets in question while a process is developed to once again put farmers back in control of their assets. (See attached letter) Letters have also been sent to Premiers Wall, Prentice and Clark.
“The federal government is preparing to confiscate millions of dollars worth of assets built up by the farmer-directed CWB and appears ready to turn them over to one of the same multinational grain companies the single desk CWB successfully competed with in the world grain market until August 1, 2012,” said Robson. “How did Minister Ritz develop this sinister plan to steal the farmers’ CWB assets?”
“The grain companies took a good 40% of the value of the wheat farmers produced last year by charging excess basis on every backlogged tonne. Now Minister Ritz is ready to give one of these grain companies 100% of the CWB’s assets so they can keep on taking more than their fair share from us,” said Matt Gehl, Regina-area grain farmer and NFU Board Member. “The economies of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba are out billions of dollars because of this debacle. It would make a lot of sense if they stepped forward to keep this bad situation from getting worse.”
“We believe the provincial governments can prevent a tragic mistake if they are willing to step forward and take temporary ownership of the CWB assets while the necessary structure is developed by farmers to operate the company in their common interest,” said Doug Scott, NFU Board Member from Waskatenau, Alberta. “People may not know that the provinces played an important role when the CWB was established in the first place. They can be a part of the solution again.”
NFU Board Member Peter Eggers from La Glace, Alberta added, “At election time we heard this government was going to be accountable, but they passed a law to let Minister Ritz hide the CWB’s books. The federal government can’t be trusted with the CWB. Let’s turn it over to the provinces for now so we can turn around this terrible situation for grain farmers.”