Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

March 04, 2008 13:14 ET

Minister's Column: Government of Canada Introduces Amendments to the Canadian Wheat Board Act

Message from the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 4, 2008) -

The Government of Canada is working hard to deliver the barley marketing freedom Western Canadian farmers are demanding as they look for new ways to maximize opportunities and make the right business decisions for their operations.

That is why this Government today introduced legislation to make barley marketing freedom a reality in Western Canada.

Western Canadian farmers are the most qualified people to make their own marketing decisions. They are demanding the same marketing freedoms barley producers in the rest of Canada already take for granted. Through this legislation, this Government is delivering the barley marketing freedom that 62 per cent of Western Canadian barley producers voted for in a plebiscite last year.

The proposed legislation would give the Government clear authority to deliver action on farmers' demands and change regulations to give Western Canadian barley producers the freedom and flexibility to sell their own barley to any foreign or domestic buyer, including the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB).

This Government is going even further to protect the rights of farmers by including essential dispute resolution mechanisms in this legislation. This legislation would give Western Canadian farmers access to impartial arbitration when they have concerns about the CWB's commercial behaviour.

From my perspective, Western Canadian barley producers are the most qualified people to make their own marketing decisions and they have every right to expect that they have the same marketing freedom that producers in the rest of Canada take for granted. We have listened to them and are working hard to deliver on giving them what they ask for. We have one message to send to opposition parties: Let's all stand behind our Western Canadian barley farmers and give them the marketing freedom they deserve. Otherwise, get out of the way.

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