Harper marks end of Wheat Board monopoly by announcing pardons

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced full pardons yesterday for western farmers who were convicted for selling wheat to the United states in the 1990s, the Free Press reports.

Speaking from a media event at a farm near Kindersley, Sask., the Prime Minister and agriculture minister Gerry Ritz declared Wednesday “marketing freedom day” and celebrated the new federal legislation which ended the Canadian Wheat Board’s long-held monopoly on western wheat and barley sales.

As of yesterday, western farmers can sell their grain directly to whomever they choose, and no longer need to go through the board.

The pardoned farmers had been convicted of trying to to sell their wheat directly to the United States, without getting export permits from the wheat board. In addition to the pardons, Harper praised the “courageous” farmers, whose illegal sales first raised the monopoly issue in the minds of many Canadians.

“For these courageous farmers, their convictions will no longer tarnish their good names … it is to them that much of this victory is owed,” he said.