MP Report: Federal government threatens future of the Port of Churchill
June 1st, 2011 - 6:09pm
The future of the Wheat Board and the Port of Churchill is at stake. That is the clear message coming out of the Federal government's announccement that it is going to end single desk marketing at the Canadian Wheat Board. The announcement threatens the livelihood of thousands of prairie farmers. It threatens 500 jobs at the Wheat Board's head office in Winnipeg. It also threatens the Port of Churchill, as virtually all the shipments through the Port are from the Wheat Board.
The Federal government's announcement is the height of political arrogance. It was made only days after the Federal election. The Wheat Board and farmers have said they believe farmers should vote directly on the future of the Wheat Board . The fact is that farmers have consistently voted in Wheat Board elections to support single desk candidates.
Agriculture minister Gerry Ritz has said that farmers voted on the issue when the Conservatives were elected in early May.
This is not true. Never once did they raise this as an election issue in our riding and many other ridings across Western Canada.
Not allowing farmers to vote directly on what happens to the board removes their democratic rights. As one farmer pointed out, "One of the things we fought for was farmers' rights to make our own decisions on this and the government's taken that right." This is an important issue for everyone in Western Canada. It is about farmers' democratic rights and economic return, 500 jobs and the future of the Port of Churchill. It reminds me of when the Mulroney Conservatives shafted the West in the 1980's over the CF18s.
My message to the Conservative governement is clear. You have no right to gut an institution that has served us well for nearly 80 years.
Western Canadians will fight to save our Wheat Board and our Port of Churchill.