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Wheat Board retaliates against Harper government's anti-democratic processes

Large American food conglomerates to profit from dismantling of CWB, to the detriment of Canadian family farmers.

Oberg: Harper acting ruthlessly, unethically, illegally; Canadian farmers risk losing livelihoods.WINNIPEG, MB, November 2, 2011: The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) has launched a mass advertising campaign urging Canadians to stand up to the Harper government and its plan to dismantle the board by Christmas despite a majority of farmers opposing the decision.

The campaign, which includes print, radio, TV, a microsite and online advertising, asks Canadians to text FARMER to 24680. The text generates a letter to MPs, opposing the decision to dismantle the wheat board in support of Canadian wheat and barley farmers.

"We're asking Canadians to help us send a clear message to the Harper Government that we will not be steamrolled by their anti-democratic processes," said Allen Oberg, Chair of the Canadian Wheat Board. "Today, it's wheat farmers. What about tomorrow? The Harper government is acting ruthlessly, unethically and illegally and the outcome is that Canadian farmers are at risk of losing their livelihood."

  "We still have not seen any business case on why the CWB should be eliminated."

Despite the fact that the law requires the government to let farmers decide on major changes to the CWB, the government refused to hold a vote among farmers and says it will ignore the vote conducted by the CWB. Not only is the decision illegal, it's also the opposite of what the farmers themselves want: a recent plebiscite among and wheat and barley famers showed that 62 percent want to keep the CWB.

What happens to Canadian farmers without the CWB?

•Small farmers will be left to negotiate their own prices with giant American food conglomerates 7#8212; this will mean the beginning of the end of the small family farms that form the backbone of Canadian agriculture.

•Farms that have been in families for generations may be bought out by American and multinational companies.

•Farmers will have to compete not only against each other but also against much larger companies that can afford to set their prices lower because they have such great volume of grain.

•The hundreds of millions of dollars that the CWB makes for prairie farmers will instead go to private grain company profits. The CWB is paid for and run by the farmers themselves — it receives no public subsidies.

•The wheat and barley industry will go from being run by Canadians to being run by Americans.

•Beyond farmers, the elimination of the CWB will hurt many small communities throughout Western Canada economically.

"This campaign is about standing up to a bully government that is acting recklessly," said Oberg. "To date, we still have not seen any business case on why the CWB should be eliminated and no plan for its future. No farmers have been consulted and this legislation is against their wishes. It's time to stop the Harper government from steamrolling Canadian farmers."

Related individuals, organizations and significant events
More information is available at www.stopthesteamroller.ca.

Links and sources
  Canadian wheat farmers stand up to Harper with new advertising campaign

Posted: November 02, 2011

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