Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Govt. loses barley regulation case on Wheat Board

It will be interesting to see if the opposition would block legislation to end the Wheat Board Monopoly. The US has been trying for years to challenge the Wheat Board as giving Canadian farmers an unfair trade advantage but in the barley plebescite a majority voted for options other than a monopoly for marketing for barley. The plebescite itself is weird in that there is not a yes or no question but three choices. Most supporters of the Wheat Board claim that the middle option of dual marketing is not a real option. Farmers however seem to refuse to believe it. The Conservative government is bound and determined to sabotage the Wheat Board. It fired the former chairman of the board and appointed people opposed to the monopoly.
Note that only over 13 per cent of farmers wanted the Wheat Board out of marketing barley but removing the monopoly in effect would achieve this because of the Board's situation vis-a-vis the huge grain companies such as ADM and Cargill etc.

Wheat Board can keep barley monopoly, court rules
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 | 6:52 PM CT
The Canadian Press
A judge has struck down the federal government's move to strip the Canadian Wheat Board of its monopoly on western barley sales.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, Federal Court Judge Dolores Hansen said the government overstepped its authority in trying to end the monopoly through a simple cabinet order.

The decision is a victory for supporters of the wheat board, who argue that having all barley sales handled through the board gives farmers better prices.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government announced earlier this year it would end the board's monopoly on barley as of Aug. 1, and give farmers the option of selling independently.

The government changed the board's barley-handling through regulations approved by the Conservative cabinet.

Critics successfully argued the change can only be made by passing a law in Parliament — something that could be blocked by the opposition.

© The Canadian

Farmers vote to end barley monopoly.

Farmers vote to end wheat board's barley monopoly
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 | 1:46 PM ET
CBC News
Western Canadian farmers have voted to end the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on barley sales.

"It's time to move to more marketing choice, and we want to move to that as quickly as possible," federal Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl said Wednesday in Ottawa.

Barley Plebiscite Results
Retain single desk 37.8%
CWB loses monopoly, farmers can sell to other buyer 48.4%
No CWB role in marketing barley 13.8%
Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
A total of 62 per cent of just over 29,000 farmers who cast eligible ballots in the mail-in vote said they wanted the board out of the barley market altogether, or for the board to be maintained in a competitive market.

Another 38 per cent said they wanted to maintain the status quo.

Of those who didn't want the status quo, about 48 per cent said they wanted to choose where to sell their barley and about 14 per cent said the wheat board should have no role in selling barley.

Strahl said he will now take steps to revise the rules to remove the barley monopoly by Aug. 1.

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