The present situation re grain movement was predictable and preventable. This bottleneck will continue to undermine grain values payable to farmers for years to come. What a lovely legacy Stephen Harper and Gerry Ritz have left us.
When academics point out that farmers are not getting their fair share of the value of grain at port, it is painfully obvious that farmers would be much better off with a single desk Canadian Wheat Board. Through the Board’s own referendum, farmers showed support for the CWB as a single desk marketing agency. But they voted in droves for Stephen Harper, the man who has cost them billions of dollars. Why? That will be a question for the history books.
A major contribution of the CWB monopoly was orderly marketing. Moving grain in such a way that everyone had a chance to sell it. Coordinating loading at port. Ensuring that our best customers were best served, and holding the rail lines to account when they failed, even taking them to court on behalf of farmers. Stephen Harper and his henchmen, Gerry Ritz and David Anderson, have murdered orderly marketing. Especially galling is Anderson’s whining that in the new regime loaders of producer cars and users of shortlines are being left behind.
I asked Gerry Ritz about his hurry to be rid of the single desk before the functions of the CWB could be carried on by someone else. There was no answer. There still isn’t. Those who wanted to eliminate the CWB’s single desk are reaping what they sowed. Sadly, they aren’t alone. Those who understood the role of the CWB's single desk, and fought to save it, are being equally short-changed, with rail lines and grain companies taking what once belonged to farmers.
It reminds me of a button I saw at the Liberal convention in Montreal, “Don’t blame me, I voted Liberal”.
Duane Filson - Woodrow