Goodbye to all that


The Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly ends today. The Prime Minister is in Kindersley to celebrate. Ralph Goodale laments.

Farmers’ costs will go up, for such things as administering cash advances and financing grain payments on delivery. Farmers will also have to pick up part of the tab for initial payment guarantees. Logistically, without the Wheat Board as a watchdog, grain companies and the railways are now in full control of the handling and transportation system. They have no incentive to service farmer-owned terminals, community-based short-lines or producer-loaded rail cars. There’s no one in the system with either the will or the clout to challenge excessive rates or charges.

Internationally, without the Board, Canada’s distinctive “brand” in world grain markets is slashed. This is compounded by the totally predictable sell-off of domestic firms like Viterra to foreign commodity traders like Glencore. With the Wheat Board out of the way, global grain buyers expect they’ll get Canadian grain at cheaper prices. Value-added processers expect the same. Railways and grain companies expect to extract higher margins. If that’s all true, you can imagine who gets stuck with the short-end of the stick.


Goodbye to all that

  1. Bet Aaron voted Liberal

    • zzzzzzzzzz…huh? Wuzzat? Oh – nothing.

  2. Adam Smith ~ Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.

  3. Note that Harper promised five years of public money to quiet down the farmers who are going to get shafted.

    Farmers were never brave free marketers or cowardly socialists. Like all businesspersons, they want the highest price for their product and don’t care ’bout much else. Some hope to make a killing from the new arrangements, some fear basic economic laws will apply and that they will be forced to compete with each other leading to a fall in prices.

  4. Looks like the ROC will be able to spend the next few years watching the west fight amongst themselves over the spoils in a primary resource economy. Potash, oil, wheat, lumber…..

    • Hehe, ya probably. Meanwhile out East you’ll be fighting over scraps instead of spoils. Enjoy!

      • Yawn. Ont is 40% of Canada’s GDP…..Alberta is 6%.

        And by the time you all get through fighting with each other, you won’t even have that….because Albertans have apparently never learned basic business practices much less how to build anything…

        Just don’t come whining to us for help again.

        • Hmmm….. you’re an “economist”, I’d think you could do better than that.

          While Ontario produces 37.70% (not quite 40, but I’ll let it slide) of GDP, it also has 38.4% of the population. Meanwhile, Alberta produces 16.22% of GDP (now where did you get that 6%? You wouldn’t be intentionally lying, would you?) it’s also home to 10.9% of the countries population.

          Now, I’m no “economist”, but I know which province is outperforming which. Do you? Alberta’s a net contributor to equalization, Ontario is a net receiver of equalization. Even an “economist” who graduated from the School of EmilyOne should know which province is in a more enviable position.

          But rest assured, I’m sure those numbers will one day start turning in Ontario’s favour after Ontarians start fleeing the province for Alberta.

          • I don’t argue with trolls…Ciao Ricky.

  5. Good, we farmers finally get the freedom to market our wheat and malt barley as we market all other crops. You cannot claim that a private agency works for farmers if you are forced to do business with them, and you cannot claim that the Wheat Board is needed for one crop, when farmers grow and market all the others themselves. Every argument as to why you should or shouldn’t need the Wheat Board should apply to all other grains and oilseeds. Given that everyone is just fine not marketing all their other grains through a single desk, why not assume that the propaganda from that agency that forces farmers to do business with them is lying to protect that agency and their jobs?

    That’s the thing that GFMD and all the other urban lefties who like to tell us how the ag industry works can’t explain. If we don’t need the Wheat Board for marketing our other grains, which we often grow in greater acreage than wheat, then why do we need the CWB?

    • And by that same logic, we don’t need supply management either, and yet you as a farmer would seem to gladly defend that.

      I call bull$&!/ – there’s no underlying principle of economic freedom here, just whatever happens to suit the ag lobby best.

      • Actually, we in the west are largely in favour of ending supply management because we are largely locked out of the dairy, egg and poultry industries that are largely concentrated in the eastern provinces.

        But you are also getting your rants skewed. The left is claiming that the CWB is something that distorts the market in favour of Canadian Farmers, and is in effect a form of supply management. We both know better, in that we know that the CWB is largely a parasitic bureaucracy that can’t really affect global export markets and that grain farmers don’t have the same tariffs and exclusive control over supplying the Canadian domestic market that those in the quota system do.

        So no, I don’t think I want to lose control over how and to who I sell wheat and malt barley to, nor suffer the resulting crippling of domestic secondary industries related to wheat and malt barley, nor cut a cheque to people whose services provide no appreciable benefit. I do not think that that the supply management perks given to QUEBEC farmers are worth left wing supporters in Winnipeg leeching off me here in Saskatchewan.

        • “we in the west are largely in favour of ending supply management”
          If you are, you do nothing but pay lip service to it. Grain farmers will defy the law and truck grain to Montana, but where is the western farmer who defies supply management and sells mik roadside? (Answer: there isn’t one, and if there was, Harper would be silent when they were thrown in jail, as he was in the case of Michael Schmidt from Ontario)
          I am in favour of ending the CWB, although I would use less inflammatory language than you have – this is not a right vs left issue, nor a Quebec vs West issue (which is an extremely parochial way to look at the matter). Free markets benefit everyone, consumer and producer.
          I am also in favour of ending supply management, and if the West is too, I suggest they pursue that with the same vigour they did with the CWB. Otherwise, as I say, it is not a case of economic principle at play, but economic self-interest.

          • Well, being hauled into court, fined thousands of dollars, and possibly having your property seized as being part of an illegal operation can have a chilling effect on protest. It isn’t like being a student protester, where you largely can flaunt authority because your livelihood isn’t on the line.

            But there is a bright spot to ending supply management. As it becomes more and more faddish to “grow local”, “grow organic” and “get back to the land and embrace a lifestyle of self-sufficiency” there are lefties moving on to acreages and discovering that everything they want to do is pretty much illegal due to decades of accumulating regulations, programs, defunct agricultural policy, and agri-business lobbying. There is even a book about that: http://www.amazon.ca/Everything-Want-To-Do-Illegal/dp/0963810952

            So as the left moves into the hobby of farming, there will be challengers who might take on the quota system without having to lose their livelihoods (because they are hobbyist ex-urbanites on acreages) that can use some of their activism to help the rest of us.

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