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Monday, January 01, 2007 

New York Times Does Feature on Canadian Wheat Board Fight

In the January 1st, 2007 edition of the New York Times, there is an article in the World Business section concening the fight over the Canadian Wheat Board.

In his article entitled, The Sleepy Subject of Canada’s Grain Exports Perks Up, Times reporter, Ian Austen does a good job of identifying the nature of the dispute and provides a number of interesting observations on how well the single desk approach has benefitted Canadian farmer's bottom line.

"There is absolutely no doubt that part of the reason the Conservative government is pushing as hard as it is pushing is, I suspect, that they are feeling pressure from the Americans,” said Murray Fulton, an agriculture economist who directs a center for the study of cooperatives at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

The wheat board concept is simple. In exchange for its monopoly over wheat destined for export from Canada’s three prairie provinces, as well as a small part of British Columbia, it pays every farmer the same average sale price. Overall, Professor Fulton said, price averaging has provided most farmers with greater stability and higher prices than they would have obtained in an open market.

A study commissioned by the wheat board on barley prices released in December gives more specifics. The report, by Richard S. Gray of the University of Saskatchewan, Andrew Schmitz of the University of Florida and Troy G. Schmitz at Arizona State University, concluded that farmers’ barley revenue from the wheat board was 59 million Canadian dollars higher from 1995 to 2004 than it would have been in an open market system."

Ian Austen Article


Photo courtesy New York Times.

Like much of the CPoC platform (stated or not), their attitude towards the Wheat Board is ideology, not the public good. (In this case, the farmers)

I suspect there's a couple of things afoot here:

1. By dismantling the Wheat Board, Harper opens the door further for US corporate agriculture interests to move in.

2. It's another piece in a long range game of deep integration with the US. Remember this?

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