February 15, 2016 6:25 am
Updated: February 15, 2016 7:21 pm

Prairie farmers calling for return of the Canadian Wheat Board

Some Prairie farmers calling for the Canadian Wheat Board to be re-established.

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Some Prairie farmers are not giving up their fight for the Canadian Wheat Board. A group of producers from parts of Manitoba and Saskatchewan wants the federal government to bring back the board and its single desk for selling wheat and barley.

The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance says the former Conservative government made a mistake when it privatized the board and sold it to the G3 Global Grain Group.

Kyle Korneychuk, an alliance spokesman, says the privatization has cost farmers money and thousands of people their jobs.

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Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn says he is very concerned about the financial situation of farmers since the loss of the wheat board.

Alliance members also wonder what will happen to the Port of Churchill in northern Manitoba when short-term federal subsidies end next year.

Korneychuk said the wheat board did a good job of co-ordinating the movement of grain from farms via rail to port, then overseas markets.

“It allowed us to return almost the full value of the world price to farmers,” he said in a release.

“Farmers only paid for the CWB’s operating expenses but now they pay for the private trade’s operating expenses and the profits to foreign shareholders and grain company owners.”

The federal government announced in April 2015 that G3, which is partly owned by Saudi Arabia, would buy 50.1 per cent of the board for $250 million.

It said the rest would be kept in trust for grain farmers.

The Conservative government at the time said the sale would help modernize Canada’s grain sector to stimulate investment and create jobs.

G3 has said it is a Canadian company run by Canadians who are interested in building a long-term relationship with farmers.

Prairie farmers going as far back as 1935 used to sell their wheat and barley to the board, which in turn exported it to foreign markets.

© 2016 Canadian Press

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