- Immediately following the federal election Allan Oberg, chairman of the CWB said in a CWB release: “Prairie producers have been clear that they should determine the future of the CWB as their marketing organization.
- NFU president Terry Boehm said: “...any changes to the Wheat Board should be decided by farmers."
- The CWB Alliance stated on its website: “We are calling on Prime Minister Harper to respect farmers’ right to democratically choose their marketing system through the elections to the CWB Board of Directors”
- Bruce Johnstone of the Regina Leader Post wrote: “... a plebiscite of producers who actually use the Canadian Wheat Board's services would give the government the mandate to change the single-desk marketing system.”
- In this week’s Western Producer, Pat Martin, NDP MP for Winnipeg Center said: “The general public might not give a hoot about the Canadian Wheat Board, but they do care about democracy, and to take deliberate steps to sidestep basic rights and freedoms is not going to sit well with the public.”
CWB director elections
Why a vote for the single desk?
- The single desk was bestowed upon the CWB in 1943 by parliament. Farmers did not get to vote on it.
- The Crow Rate was “retired” in 1995, by Jean Chretien’s liberal government. Farmers were undoubtedly the group most affected by this, yet they did not get to vote on it.
- The same liberal government amended the CWB Act in 1998, sharing governance with a board of 15 directors, including 10 elected by farmers. Although farmers were the ones most affected, they did not get to vote on these amendments. (Interestingly, the NFU, Friends of the CWB and CWB Alliance did not clamour for a farmer-vote on these amendments. There is only one reason: things were going their way anyway. Why fight it?)
- Just weeks after the conclusion of the latest CWB farmer-director election, the CWB board approved the use of farmers’ money to purchase two lakers. And – you guessed it – farmers did not get to vote on it.