Thursday, 01 December 2011 11:02

Federal agriculture minister responds to Prairie Post commentary

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Re: University professor begging senators to stop CWB decision

After reading Dr. Jim Pulfer’s letter (Prairie Post, Nov. 18) I encourage him to spend less time on campus and more time on the farm. I wonder what Mr. Pulfer would think of a “Professors Board.”  Mr. Pulfer would not be allowed to teach unless he followed the rules of the board. The board’s rules would include the arbitrarily time, topics and payment of his teaching. He would be forbidden from publishing papers or contributing academia outside the board’s jurisdiction.

Would he be OK with receiving his paycheck

18 months after each lecture? I suspect this doesn’t sound very appealing.

Well, western Canadian grain farmers agree and the time has come for change.

Mr. Pulfer’s suggestion the majority of western Canadian farmers do not have the capacity to market their own wheat and barley is simply insulting. Perhaps Mr. Pulfer was told this at a Saskatchewan Liberal candidate training session, but the fact is western farmers are more than capable to market their own grain, just as they market their other crops such as canola and peas.  The CWB, year after year, short changes western Canadian grain farmers who want to opportunity to sell their grain on an open market.

Mr. Pulfer also needs to check his facts on the Australian Wheat Board. 

Australian Trade Minister Dr. Craig Emerson was in Saskatoon recently and confirmed Australian wheat farmers have greatly benefited from the diversification and more competitive trading environment brought by marketing freedom. He confirmed Australia now sells wheat to 41 markets, more than double the number they sold to under their wheat board. He said the only thing Australian farmer’s regret is not moving to an open market sooner.

Mr. Pulfer wrongfully assumes production of Canadian wheat will cease in an open market. 

Dr. Emerson said Australia’s farmers now produce 30 per cent more wheat. With the world’s population recently reaching seven billion, the demand for top-quality Canadian grains is only likely to rise. He wrongfully compares the CWB to CANPOTEX — whereas the Board is mandatory and markets within Canada, CANPOTEX is voluntary and does not market continentally.

As a teacher of our young people, Mr. Pulfer should be more focused on the facts.

Our Government will not waiver on our commitment to give western Canadian grain farmers the marketing freedom they want and deserve.

 Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz

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