Blame the People Who Didn’t Vote in the CWB Plebiscite

The CWB’s plebiscite has resulted in a marginal victory for the single desk die hards as John Depape expected on RealAgriculture last week.  The next events in this saga will produce predictable outcomes as well in my opinion.

Now that the CWB has a form (subject to debate) of approval from farmers they will begin a strong and expensive campaign to try and disrupt the federal governments plans to end the single desk on wheat and barley.  Gerry Ritz is going to show the ultimate level of resolve and the pro single desk group is going to not go away quietly.  My concern through this whole period has not changed.  Not voting in the plebiscite was a real mistake for the pro-market choice side.  This is because the CWB feels that it now has the signal from farmers to spend whatever it takes to save the single desk.  Guess where that money is going to come from?  If you said the pool account you are correct.

As a friend of mine said to me yesterday, “if you didn’t vote don’t bitch.”  I don’t want to hear one person that did not vote start to tell me that the CWB shouldn’t be  able to spend money out of the pool account to fight the government on this issue.  What did you think was going to happen?  Did you think the CWB was just going to take a pro-single desk vote and say, “i told you so.”

Please do not leave comments below saying that the plebiscite was not legitimate.  You are missing the point.  This plebiscite, no matter its legitimacy was a great opportunity for the pro-market choice side to bury this issue and force the hand of the CWB to take their bat and ball and go home.  Now we have to read stories in the Globe and Mail about  how the federal conservatives are ripping marketing power from farmers.  Even though the plebiscite results are non-binding, the CWB is going to use the numbers to try and lure the non-farmers in Canada to believe what farmers really want.

Just like most of you, I am getting tired of the single desk issue but in this case I really think the pro-marketing choice side has created some of their own frustration.

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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9 Comments

Carrie Butterwick

While I totally agree with you – and told my husband this – he did vote buy the way-many of his friends/peers did not. Their ‘theory’ is that they are counting on the federal government to follow through with their pledge. I do think that it is going to cost them some money though – good point! Well written!

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WES FROESE

Can we also blame the retired farmers or landlords who also voted? Why would someone who has quit farming feel they have the right to vote about young farmers’ future?

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John De Pape

I understand the argument about voting or not voting. But I sincerely doubt that the pro open market vote could have overcome the single desk vote. Partly because the voters list is skewed and partly because the CWB surveys also support the single desk. The last survey asking the two-way question showed 63% support for the status quo on wheat. You sure you could get enough to over come that based on the skewed list?
I sincerely doubt it.
The results were pre-ordained.

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Wayne

Why are we still having this debate? Surely Gerry can get an act passed that allows farmers to opt out of the CWB and do their own thing. If the CWB survives then good for them. If we pull the plug then how much more are we going to loose thru compensation. If they can’t survive then so be it!!

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Rob H

Good article…appreciate your opinion and

My take…if you don’t vote when you have the opportunity (even if the vote is viewed as non-binding by some), then don’t complain about the outcome.

I hope in the end of all this uncertainty and banter back and forth, that farmers end up with more choices in how and where they sell thier grain and an improved marketing system (CWB or otherwise).

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Aaron Hargreaves

Why should anyone else have the right to even vote on how I sell the grain I produce on my farm? We do all the work, put up the cash to put the crop in and take all the risk. If some of you want to sell wheat to the board you can, it’s still going to be there. If the CWB wants to come to my farm and put the crop in they can have the grain. Otherwise it should be mine to do with as I please. Our farm is 14000 acres and we get one vote. So that’s seven families and one vote. My grandfather in law, who is retired, cancelled our vote with his. Does nobody in the media see a problem with this. The CWB is an absolute joke imo. All this talk about the monopolies power. What monopoly? The CWB competes everyday with hundreds of countries and companies to sell wheat. The only place they have a monopoly is here where they can buy it real cheap cause they are the only choice.

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Harry Siemens

This time Shawn you are a little off the mark. If what you say is true, then we would have elected pro-choice directors way back when. I don’t blame them for not voting. It is a non issue. It was decided on May 2. It is the CWB people with egg on their faces because they are letting it crash and burn. I would have said the same last week, but hearing PM Harper’s comments today makes it so sweet.
“The wheat board gets to pick its own voters, Mr. Harper said. “I guess if they could do that over there, the Liberal Party could even win an election in the West. The fact of the matter is, western farmers voted for marketing freedom and that is what they are going to get.”
Read it here ….. http://www.siemenssays.com/blog/6086.html
Again – The fact of the matter is, western farmers voted for marketing freedom and that is what they are going to get. The Prime Minister of Canada.
PS: If the wheat board people cared at all about the CWB, or the people that have followed them fearlessly, they’d have a proposal in place to serve those people.

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