Thursday, May 25, 2006

End the Wheat Monopoly

The National Citizens Coalition is running a campaign opposing the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly.

For those who are not aware of how this monopoly operates think of it as a “Little Kremlin on the Prairie.”

Under the law, western farmers are forced to sell their crop to the Wheat Board even if they can get a better price elsewhere.

Some farmers have even been jailed for the “crime” of selling their wheat across the border.

The bottom line is the Wheat Board monopoly denies farmers their right to economic choice.

It’s time to shut it down.


Miles Lunn said...

I have no problem with the Canadian Wheat Board continuing to exist if it is voluntary and it is run by the farmers not the government. The Liberals to their credit planned to have all fifteen board members chosen by the farmers.

In Ontario, they use a dual marketing system, so that is the way to go. While some claim the Wheat Board works better than selling on the open market, if it works so great, they have nothing to fear and most farmers will stay in it. But if it doesn't work well they will go elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time to kill the Wheat Board. Open up the markets and let the farmers get the best price for their blood, sweat and tears.

Since when has "monopoly" equated to "best business practice"?

Miles Lunn said...

I would say make the Wheat Board optional. Those farmers who wish to use it can do so, so long as they don't force others too. Lets remember even if the government no longer controls the Wheat Board, the farmers can still privately set up a marketing board.

Anonymous said...

Miles, I think your intentions are good but your option is simply a derivative of the basic choice. The choice is this:

government intervention

Even by your suggestion of allowing both choices:
Private or Crown Corp Wheat Board,
the very fact the Crown Corp is a government interventionist player means that it is distorting the free market. That distortion makes it harder for the farmer to decide to go into the private market against the powerful market distorting government interventionist player.

I offer that simply as an ideological debate, I admit that I don’t have much knowledge about how the Wheat Board works. I simply distrust market distortions by the government. Should we let the farmers have a referendum? (just kidding)


Miles Lunn said...

Actually the Canadian Wheat Board isn't a crown corporation. Rather it is a marketing board. I should note even if the government got rid of it, there is nothing to stop the farmers from coming together and forming a voluntary wheat board. The Ontario Wheat marketing board is totally private, yet operates the same way as the Canadian Wheat Board.

Anonymous said...

I would challenge anyone to tell me how you can have a strong CWB and a open market at the same time? Comparing the CWB to the Ontario Wheat Marketing Board is no comparision at all. The truth of the matter is the CWB will be regulated to the status of a grain broker buying at port or be turned into a grain company with no assets. The benefits that the CWB provides are not only international but domestic as well. Producer need to educate themselves on issues such as car allocation, tendering, blending gains and many others that directly benefit producers but will disappear into grain company and railway pockets. Saying it should be my choice and changing the CWB without a producer plebisite is no choice. Real choice is when all the producers of Western Canada have a vote on changes to the CWB.