WINNIPEG — Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has dismissed the results of the Canadian Wheat Board vote, where 60 per cent of wheat growers and 51 per cent of barley growers voted in favour of maintaining the Board’s monopoly.“No expensive survey can trump the individual right of farmers to market their own grain,” Ritz said in a statement.
The controversy concerning the future of the Wheat Board monopoly has been hotly debated for months. The Winnipeg-based Wheat Board, with the support of the Manitoba government, believes farmers have the right to decide the Board’s future. Opponents, including minister Ritz, reason that in an open market, farmers should choose how they market their grain.
Meanwhile, Peter Phillips, a public policy professor at the University of Saskatchewan, notes that the Wheat Board could survive even if the monopoly ends. “Sixty per cent of the producers say they like the Board, so that’s a pretty good client base right there,” he was quoted as saying by CBC News.
Ritz is hoping to eliminate the monopoly as early as next August.