THUNDER BAY – The federal Conservatives are working to make good on a promise that started with the Reform Party continued with the Canadian Alliance and has remained with the Conservatives. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz reiterated today, “The importance of providing marketing freedom to Western Canadian wheat and barley farmers. As evidenced by the tremendous growth in the canola and pulse industries, today’s entrepreneurial farmers are proving over and over that they have what it takes to succeed when they are in control of all aspects of their farming business. The Harper Government intends to table legislation in Parliament on Tuesday”.
“The Harper Government is committed to delivering on its long-standing promise to give Western Canadian grain farmers the same marketing freedom as farmers have in other parts of Canada and around the world,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Western Canadian grain farmers have the entrepreneurial know-how to successfully market their canola, pulses, oats, wheat and barley, and farmers deserve the same right and opportunity to market their own crops.”
Ritz says that “The Harper Government has consulted with stakeholders from across the value chain, including commodity groups, associations and Canadian businesses, who all see opportunities for growth when marketing freedom is implemented. Most importantly, the Government has listened to individual farmers who just want the chance to succeed by being able to sell their wheat, durum and barley at the time and to the buyer of their choice. The Governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, representing farmers who produce approximately 80% of wheat and 90% of barley in Western Canada, support the move to marketing freedom”.
“The grain industry in Western Canada needs solutions, not the status quo,” said Minister Ritz. “Our Government will offer an inclusive and progressive way forward that provides farmers with the opportunity for increased growth and profitability, ultimately strengthening the entire value chain from gate to plate.”
The Harper Government is committed to providing farmers with choice in how they market their grain, including the choice to continue using marketing options provided by the Canadian Wheat Board. This will allow farmers to individually choose to either compete directly in a strong global marketplace for Canadian grain or market though a voluntary Canadian Wheat Board.
The issue may not be one all western farmers agree on, but it is one where an Ontario grain farmer has the choice of where they sell their product, whereas the western grain farmer does not.
“An open market attracts investment, encourages innovation, creates value-added jobs as well as opportunity for growth and a stronger economy”, concluded Ritz.