March 27, 2007 19:26 ET

KPMG's Status Update on the 2007 Barley Plebiscite

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 27, 2007) - KPMG LLP today provided an update on the progress of the 2007 Barley Plebiscite in its role as vote administrator.

On Friday, March 23 KPMG completed procedures to verify the eligibility of farming entities that had returned self-declarations to KPMG in accordance with the vote instructions.

Throughout the verification process the confidentiality of ballot selections was maintained. The KPMG personnel who handled and processed ballots were separate from those who processed and verified declarations.

Verification procedures included comparing farming entity information to federal Canadian Agriculture Income Stabilization ("CAIS") and Grain and Oilseeds Payment Program ("GOPP") data, provincial Production Insurance ("PI") data, and making direct inquiries with producers. The nature of the inquiries was to verify the eligibility of farming entities and to assist the producer in confirming they had not inadvertently submitted more declarations than the eligibility criteria permitted.

Producers were selected for telephone inquiries based on several criteria including a random sample of all declarations, multiple declarations submitted from a single address and declarations with the same name submitted from different addresses. No information from outside of the submitted declarations, federal CAIS and GOPP data and provincial PI data was used to select declarations for verification. Affiliation with farm interest groups, political parties and other organizations was not considered in selecting declarations for verification.

In no instance was a producer asked any questions regarding their voting preference.

KPMG staff responsible for performing the verification procedures did not have access to ballots and had no knowledge of the ballot choices of those farming entities selected for verification.

On Saturday, March 24, 2007, KPMG opened the secrecy envelopes containing the ballots in the presence of scrutineers and performed a manual count of the ballots. All ballots were counted twice by different KPMG personnel.

The counting of ballots was performed in the presence of senior municipal elections officials from the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba who acted as scrutineers during the count. The scrutineers observed the opening of the sealed secrecy envelopes, the sorting of the ballots, and the counting of the ballots. All potentially spoiled ballots were adjudicated in the presence of the scrutineers and there were no objections to the final determinations made. The scrutineers also observed the sealing of counted ballots and producer declarations. One of the scrutineers signed the security seals on ballots and declarations and will observe the breaking of those seals and the destruction of the ballots and declarations subsequent to the federal government's reporting of the results.

Each of the scrutineers confirmed in writing that they witnessed the entire ballot count and that they were satisfied that the tabulation process was conducted in an independent and objective manner.

KPMG has finalized the tabulation of results and is submitting a final report to the federal government.

For more information on the 2007 Western Canadian Barley Plebiscite...

Call: 1-888-3BARLEY (1-888-322-7539)
Fax: 1-877-6BARLEY (1-877-622-7539)
PO Box 2580
Station Main
Winnipeg, MB
R3C 4B3

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