CABINET DOCUMENT CONTAINED DETAILED PLANS FOR DESTROYING FARMER CONTROL OF WHEAT BOARD!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - National Farmers Union
SECRET CABINET DOCUMENT CONTAINED DETAILED PLANS FOR DESTROYING FARMER CONTROL OF CWB
In a secret Cabinet briefing document dated August 10, 2006, the Harper Government spelled out a methodical, step-by-step plan to destroy the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) single desk for wheat and barley.
The document listed nearly every totalitarian tactic the government subsequently used against the CWB, including: a gag order, an attempt to change the CWB mandate through Cabinet Order, firing CWB CEO Adrian Measner and other appointed Directors and replacing them with Directors who “favour marketing choice,” a plebiscite with a three-part question and “no specified percentage” for victory.
The previously-classified Cabinet document was made public by lawyers representing the CWB during a court hearing in Winnipeg June 16. The six-page document contained several blacked-out portions, but listed a number of “options” the Harper Cabinet could use to circumvent the democratic Parliamentary process.
The document clearly shows the Harper Government had a pre-determined agenda, and was determined not to let democracy or real information get in the way, said National Farmers Union President Stewart Wells. “This document proves the anti-democratic actions of the Harper Government were mapped out in advance. Also, keep in mind that in court documents from the previous case led by the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, the Harper Government admitted that it had done absolutely no financial analysis of the effects of weakening or destroying the CWB.”
Among the “options” contained in the once-secret document are:
1. Set up a “non-binding” vote among wheat and barley producers after implementing a gag order on the CWB to prevent any advocacy for the single desk option. The outcome of the vote would be pre-determined: “Following the vote, the Minister would return to Cabinet with the next steps to end the compulsory aspects of the CWB and to implement marketing choice for producers.”
2. Manipulation of the results of the plebiscite. The document states the government should tabulate the results to suit its objective. “There would be no specified percentage that constitutes sufficient support for a given option.”
3. Replace the appointed directors, “including the CEO, with individuals who favour marketing choice.” The document noted that if the government appointed five directors, and was able to gain “as few as three elected directors who favour marketing choice,” this “would constitute a majority of the board of directors and would be able to use the discretion provided to the CWB by the current legislation to lessen the compulsory aspects of the CWB and provide more choice to producers.”
4. Table legislation aimed at removing the requirement for a vote by producers from the CWB Act. The document admits this option would be unlikely to pass through Parliament until the Conservative Party achieved a majority following a general election.
4. The use of “Orders-in-Council” to force the CWB to “do certain things” to weaken the single desk.
Wells said the Cabinet briefing document is “an incriminating document” that spells out, in the government’s own words, its intention to end farmers’ democratic control of their marketing agency.
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Contact: Stewart Wells, NFU President (306) 773-6852 or (306) 741-7694
Terry Pugh, NFU Executive-Secretary (306) 652-9465
Darrin Qualman, NFU Director of Research (306) 652
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