Jeff Nielsen and Henry Vos

December 15, 2011 16:46 ET

Former CWB Directors Nielsen and Vos Say It's Time to Move on

OLDS, ALBERTA and FAIRVIEW, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 15, 2011) - As former elected directors of the Canadian Wheat Board we are greatly disappointed with the latest actions of the remaining farmer elected directors. This group of 8 along with the Liberal party of Canada, and the NDP, continue to disenfranchise themselves from the majority of grain producers who want and expect this government to fulfill their commitment to marketing choice.

Basing all their plans to scuttle Bill C-18 on a flawed plebiscite of producers, which included about 18,000 retired farmers, land owners, and estates, this group of 8 are holding out false hope for maintaining the status quo. Since 1999, yearly CWB producer surveys have not shown support for the monopoly marketing barley and a continual decline in support by wheat producers. Results also have shown growing opposition of the single desk by the majority of farmers under the age of 45, and farmers with more than 2500 acres. Add to that the most ignored fact of the surveys, when asked a question on a voluntary CWB a clear majority of farmers have always favoured a dual market, a choice where producers know that the CWB would operate in a competitive open market.

This group of monopoly directors has failed farmers year after year in not paying heed to the internal CWB producer surveys. Instead these directors have spent money trying to educate the opponents, persuade them, cajole them and in some cases intimidate them or openly fought with them but these directors still have not convinced them because last June's survey, the results were worse than ever.

So why has this same group of directors suddenly seen the light. Suddenly had a brain wave that they would honour the results of a plebiscite. This group of monopoly directors have ignored or berated the wishes of farmers who wanted change for years but suddenly they are going to respect them? More likely they have finally recognized the end of the road is here and this is their last grasp at power. There is a famous quotation, "absolute power corrupts absolutely". We think we are close here, especially when you can spend other people's money.

For those who have read the CWB Act, a plebiscite is only necessary for the extension or deletion of a grain, not for making the CWB voluntary. No vote is needed; farmers in general have moved on and simply want clarity on the future.

The CWB has the strength and ability to make the transition to a voluntary entity. They will offer viable options to farmers in an open market. We find the message that Mr. Oberg and the 7 other directors who can't accept change a discredit to us all. That message was clear in their most recent press conference; they have no plans for the future and they have no plans for prosperity and growth for wheat and barley producers let alone the entire industry - what a great disappointment.

It's time to move on.

Contact Information

    Jeff Nielsen

    Henry Vos