The Canadian Wheat Board

The Canadian Wheat Board

November 11, 2011 12:12 ET

CWB Chair Responds to Minister's Slanderous Comments

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Nov. 11, 2011) - The chair of the CWB's farmer-controlled board of directors today issued the following statement in response to comments made yesterday by Minister Gerry Ritz, which were circulated to media by the Minister's director of communications.

"Irresponsible statements made yesterday by Minister Ritz, directly accusing me of 'stealing' farmers' money, are clearly slanderous and unworthy of a cabinet minister. I call on the Minister to retract those statements. Unless he does so, I am personally considering whether to take legal action. His accusation is a serious one.

"This is another glaring example of the bullying tactics that this government consistently employs. My sole motivation is to act in the best interests of the farmers of Western Canada -- of which I am one. The Minister has grossly twisted this by issuing a defamatory statement to serve his own political agenda.

"More important than my personal reputation is what the statements say about Minister Ritz and the Harper government's attitude towards Prairie farmers on the issue of the Canadian Wheat Board. They have shown nothing but contempt for farmers and their elected board members, including myself, which has made it exceedingly difficult to work collaboratively with government on a path forward. The Minister's heavy-handed rhetoric cannot disguise the fact that he is destroying the CWB against farmers' wishes, and he knows it.

"All we want is for farmers to be allowed to decide the future of the CWB, through a fair process that is set out by law. Instead, the government is bent on steamrolling over farmers' rights and the Parliamentary process in order to get its way. Now, the Minister is resorting to the worst sort of personal attacks. Canadians should be very alarmed that this is the way their government does business."

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