Thursday, August 11, 2011

The last stand

Glen McGregor breaks a bigger story than he seems to realize, as the Harper Cons are now quite explicitly declaring their intention to take a wrecking ball to the Canadian Wheat Board:
Anyone doubting the government’s commitment to shutting down the Canadian Wheat Board is instructed to take a look at this notice posted on the procurement site, MERX.

It announces the government intends to seek an auditor to check the books and “provide reasonable assurance of the total financial impact of the repeal of the Canadian Wheat Board Act and the dissolution or winding up of the CWB after the final pooling periods (expected to be July 31, 2012).”

The contract value is projected at $500,000 to $1 million and only pre-approved accountants are eligible to bid on the work.

After a contested plebiscite and the firing of the board’s president, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced in May the government’s intention to shutter the single-desk marketing agency by August of next year.
Now, to correct where McGregor seems to have missed the significance of the Cons' new action: it isn't true that Ritz has ever been honest enough to declare that the Cons would "shutter" the Wheat Board.

Instead, the Cons have pretended that removal of single-desk authority wouldn't have any impact whatsoever on the Wheat Board's operations - or at least not one which would substantially affect its ability to market grain. And it's the Board's defenders who have pointed out that there's no realistic prospect of survival without either single-desk status, or regulated access to storage and handling facilities.

Now, without coming clean about their intentions, the Cons have let it slip that they're planning for the Wheat Board to be rubble by this time next year. And that leaves no room for doubt that anybody wanting the CWB to survive will need to take every opportunity this fall to force the Cons to change their mind.

[Edit: fixed wording.]

1 comment:

  1. "<span>Security Requirements</span>
    There are ‘Secret’ security provisions under the resulting contract."

    What could be secret about closing down some expensive, socialist organization that nobody (important) wants?

    They aren't going to try and conceal information about all the negative financial impacts by declaring it 'Cabinet Confidence', are they?

    Gee, I sure hope this doesn't turn into some sort of billion-dollar boondoggle with the Federal Government covering up the true expense. Have they even performed a true cost-benefit analysis?! Western farmers deserve better.