Wayne Easter: “Mr. Ritz is Dreaming in Technicolor.”

Earlier this week we spoke to Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz about why he thinks the elimination of the single desk will be beneficial to farmers and why he is so passionate about that position.

Not everyone shares the exuberance Minister Ritz has over the new marketing landscape for wheat in Western Canada. One of those people is P.E.I. Liberal MP and Liberal Party of Canada Ag-Critic Mr. Wayne Easter. He sees a number of problems with the new landscape that he feels will put producers at a disadvantage, especially when it comes to the areas of short line railroads and producer cars.

I spoke to Mr. Easter about his concerns regarding the new system when I reached him at his office in P.E.I..  I had several questions for Mr. Easter:

  • Why do you feel that Gerry Ritz is so mistaken?
  • Why shouldn’t farmers have marketing freedom like they enjoy in all other crops?
  • Can the CWB survive without the single desk?
  • Why is there no value being put on the intellectual capital that the CWB’s staff represents?
  • Would a voluntary pool not work in Western Canada like it does in Ontario?
  • Why is the Ontario example and historical example not applicable in your opinion?

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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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5 Comments

Andy

My big question is this:

If the dual market is truly a myth, why did the CWB offer it as an option on all of their past producer surveys for a choice for farmers to pick?

Other observations:
Regarding the OWPMB, it was brought in by farmers, not government. The single desk was brought in by a 2/3rd majority vote by farmers, not the government. They now have come together with corn and soybean pools to form the GFO.

The AWB owned port/transport facilities. The CWB does not. The AWB allowed domestic sales. The CWB does not. How can there be any comparison at all???

Doesn’t Viterra, Richardson and Paterson put peas and canola into ships without the CWB? Seems Mr. Easter doesn’t think that it is possible without the CWBs guidance.

Reply
Andy

I agree. Good interview Shaun.

Run it like the GFO does. A certain signup period with an end date (like the Series A this year!). Then they know all the grain in the pool, get it graded and shop it out to the big guys with their ports (or Churchill). Load it on producer cars. Ship it when they need it to fill ships at the coast with the grain from the terminals. It will lessen lines at the terminals, but they will be able to get all the grain there on time. Do the same with non-board grains too, but without the hassle of blending.

The same number of ships are going to come for the same amount of grain. They will all have to be filled, and no one at the other end cares where that grain comes from as long as the ships are loaded in a timely manner.

Reply
Wayne

Mr. Easter spoke of demurrage, has he forgotten about all the money that we paid in the past in demurrage. Maybe he should reimburse us for past CWB blunders.

Reply
Jeff Nielsen

thanks Shaun, great interview. In all the times I’ve met Wayne I have admired his convictions to his beliefs, a strong NFU background for sure. It does amaze one with his comments on several fronts, grain quality, delivery, dual markets and one I find most interesting is farmers want the CWB.
The Liberals and NDP seem to turn a blind eye to what democracy is, sure there was an expensive survey done by the CWB, it didn’t fallow the letter of the Act then so it was not a plebiscite, If anyone can believe that choosing your own voters list constructs a valid democratic vote is just nuts.
Will the CWB survive in a new era? I believe it can, it has the stills and knowledge of international markets, contacts and if it wants to the ability to work more fairly with the current grain handling system we have in place. Therefore the quality, quantity of product will hit those ships and meet the sales contracts on time and when needed.
Should have asked Wayne, why has the CWB continued to ask the dual marketing question in its producer surveys? year after year it has shown the CWB that farmers want a dual market, and by saying that, farmers know that means a voluntary CWB – we expect respect for that.
thanks
Jeff

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