October 28, 2011
Hundreds of farmers, politicians, labour activists and others demonstrated in front of the Canadian Wheat Board’s (CWB) office in Winnipeg on October 28. They were protesting the Harper government’s legislation that would end the Board’s role as the sole seller of wheat and barley produced by Canadian farmers, a move that would destroy the Canadian Wheat Board. NDP and Liberal MPs say the wheat board is important for keeping prices fair for farmers.
Among the speakers at the rally was Maude Barlow (above right), National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. The MFL was also well represented at the rally, including by President Kevin Rebeck (below left).
One of the major complaints of the demonstrators is that the government is proceeding with their plan to dismantle the board without a vote among Prairie farmers. A vote conducted by the Wheat Board revealed that more than 60 per cent of farmers favour keeping the Board as it has existed since the 1930s. Many see this fight as not just about the CWB, but about the future of Canadian democracy.
The CWB and eight of its farmer directors have filed a lawsuit challenging Harper’s legislation. They say the way the government of proceeding is illegal because the it failed to give farmers an opportunity to vote on the issue.