The Group of 8 Refuses to Show A Vision for the Future of the CWB

Today’s Canadian corporations are held accountable by their shareholders and a solid corporate governance structure. No doubt one might think the CWB as a corporation is a responsible corporate citizen in Canada. It has a policy to which all its directors sign yearly to uphold standards of governance where fiduciary duties are to work in the best interests of the corporation come first. Duty of care, duty of loyalty, sound ethics and the ability to distance one’s self from special interests groups and political lobbying are all part of the CWB’s governance structure.

It has been long debated with the CWB as to who owns it? As a former director with the CWB, that question has been asked internally as well, and it has been repeatedly understood that ultimately the Government of Canada is the owner. With that and recognizing the supremacy of Parliament we have acknowledged that any changes to the CWB Act. must be followed and respected by its directors.


Most recently that was made clear to the current board in a directive (given under section 18 of the CWB Act) on Oct 18 the same day as the introduction of the “Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act”. That directive states “it should avoid extraordinary actions or commitments that would be contrary to the best interest of the CWB”. This was best describe to the board as a sharp reminder that while it may consider the interests of various stakeholders, its obligations is to act in the best interests of the CWB as a corporation whether it is with or without the single desk. In my opinion, the group of 8 has violated this directive, and is clearly acting in their own self interests and not in the best interest of the corporation.

In trying to interfere farmers future, whereby we as producers can continue to use the CWB as a voluntary entity, goes against any sound judgment. In my opinion, the group of 8 has cast a shadow of disrespect upon employees of the CWB, and to the reputation the CWB has with western Canadian farmers along with its domestic and international customers.

If they truly were working in the best interest of the corporation and farmers, they would be respecting the views of producers from years of CWB surveys that show no support for the single desk for barley, decreasing support of wheat producers and a strong lack of support from farmers under the age of 45. Question needs to be asked? Where is their vision for the future? Clearly there is none. This goes once more the total disrespect for the declaration these directors signed regarding the CWB’s code of conduct and conflict

This post is the opinion of Jeff Nielsen and not of or its sponsors. 

2 thoughts on “The Group of 8 Refuses to Show A Vision for the Future of the CWB

  1. Over the past six weeks I have wondered why ministr Ritz has not read the riot act to these directors let alone not removed them.
    He has given them the opportunity to show their inability to look forward, they are too ocupied with the past.
    I definitely agree with Jeff.

  2. What a load of of organic waste! If Jeff had used this type of behavior while sitting on the board of any other Canadian business he would have been shown the door.
    Pro-board or anti-board,the explanations being given in defence of one’s reasoning have become more and more ludicrous.With the involvement of the state in this battle I wouldn’t be surprised that Biblical references are next and we might get the church involved.
    The philosophies driving this debate are so deeply entrenched that a middle ground will never be possible.Farmers in general are just tired of hearing all this crap.If you made money growing wheat and barley in a CWB environment,chances are you’ll make $’s after the board is gone.If you couldn’t make money in a board environment,your profitability isn’t likely to improve dramatically.
    For those that predicted nirvana after the removal of the Crow rate explain to the swine and beef industries why predictions cannot be entirely helpful to grow and sustain an industry.Disease and trade issues trumped any economic benefit of cheap feedgrains.
    Here’s the thing that saddens me.The state uses undemocractic principles under the veil of protecting freedom of choice/speech to forward their agenda and those that align themselves with the govt. of the day.Where’s the the collective power of the farmer? It’s split right up the middle.
    Why can’t farmers get along? Those of us that have invested in producer seedcleaning plants;in producer owned elevators and terminals;in local feedlot initiatives;in local farm machinery joint ventures know the power and strength that cooperation gives back to an individual.
    The rest of us just want to look out for # 1.
    For those that are anticipating meaningful railway reform;something that truly would benefit Western Can. farmers, it probably won’t happen in this generation’s lifetime.Because we as farmer’s can’t get past our special interest groups.
    So will Gerry attack supply management next?They may be our neighbors,but I could use their land anyway.And most of them live in the East.
    The legacy of Gerry Ritz? I don’t care.
    I”ve aways voted to improve the lot of the Western Canadian Farmer.
    I’ve aways voted for this administration.
    But,I didn’t authorize in any spirit or intent the tactics employed by this govt. in this case.

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