The Harper Government has been continuing its efforts to undermine the Canadian Wheat Board, an organization which empowers Canadian farmers. Without the CWB, Canadian farmers would be at the mercy of trans-national agri-business companies. Below are a number of union resolutions and other responses to the Harper Government’s anti-CWB measures. (All information compiled by Charles Boylan.)
Vancouver & District Labour Council passed unanimously the following resolution on October 18, 2011, the day Bill C-18 was introduced into Parliament:
SUBJECT: Canada Wheat Board
BECAUSE the Federal Minister of Agriculture is introducing a bill to liquidate the Canada Wheat Board’s single desk marketing power; and
BECAUSE this bill is a major concession to the anti-union, anti-Canadian grain monopolies; and
BECAUSE 80% of all Canadian grain, valued at $5.5 Billion, is currently exported through the Port of Vancouver; and
BECAUSE elimination of the Wheat Board will threaten the jobs of unionized grain workers, long shore workers, PSAC Canadian Grain Commission workers, the National Farmers’ Union and railroad workers,
THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL call on the Harper government to withdraw the proposed bill to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board, and support actions of VDLC affiliates to retain the Wheat Board and protect the work it provides.
The following materials are from http://www.cpcml.ca/Tmld2011/D41118.HTM#4
Resolutions in Support of Wheat Board
Resolutions against Harper’s nation-wrecking are also being passed by labour councils and other trade union organizations.
Hamilton and District Labour Council
On November 17, the Hamilton and District Labour Council passed a resolution in support of the fight to keep the Wheat Board’s single-desk marketing of barley and wheat, and called on others to take similar action. The resolution read as follows:
“Whereas the Canadian Wheat Board has conducted an internal plebiscite of members that found 62% of farmers in favour of keeping the existing system at the Canadian Wheat Board.
“And whereas the Conservative government has tabled Bill C-18, an act that would include reorganising the Board away from elected producers to government appointees.
“And whereas pre-existing legislation governing the Board stipulates any structural changes must be ratified by a vote by producers.
“Move that Hamilton and District Labour Council call on the CLC and affiliates to: support in words and resources the legal challenge lodged against the government by the Canadian Wheat Board for violating Section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act, work with the CLC and affiliates to mobilise a call for the federal Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz to recognise the rights enshrined in Canadian Wheat Board Act and further call on the Minister to respect the plebiscite results from the Wheat Board announced September 12, 2011.”
Athabasca University Tutors, Academic Experts,
Markers and Lab Instructors
On November 18, at their monthly general meeting in Edmonton, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3911 unanimously passed a resolution against the Harper dictatorship’s attack on the CWB. The local represents over 300 tutors, academic experts, markers and lab instructors employed by Athabasca University, which is located in Alberta. The CUPE 3911 resolution reads:
“BECAUSE the Harper government is introducing a bill to liquidate the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk marketing power; and
“BECAUSE this bill is extremely harmful to the interests of the farmers and to the people and the economy of Canada; and
“BECAUSE this bill is a major concession to the anti-farmer, anti-union, anti-Canadian grain monopolies; and
“BECAUSE grain farming is a very important part of the economy of Alberta; and
“BECAUSE elimination of the Canadian Wheat Board will threaten the livelihood of farmers, grain workers, longshore workers, PSAC Canadian Grain Commission workers, and railroad workers, among other workers; and
“BECAUSE the western grain farmers democratically voted in a fall 2011 plebiscite 62% in favour of retaining the CWB’s single desk marketing power,
“CUPE 3911 calls on the Harper government to withdraw the proposed bill to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board, to retain the Wheat Board, and to protect the benefits that it provides.”
The Business of Supply motion is normally the process used by the government to ask Parliament to appropriate the funds required to meet its financial obligations and to implement programs already approved by Parliament. Opposition Business of Supply motions have precedence over all government Supply motions on days allotted for Business of Supply. Using the Business of Supply, MPs in opposition may propose motions for debate on any matter falling within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada, as well as on committee reports concerning financial estimates.
On October 25, MP Niki Ashton (NDP — Churchill) put forward the following Business of Supply motion:
“That, in the opinion of the House, farmers have a democratic right to determine the future of their own supply management tools and marketing boards; and recognizing this right, the House calls on the government to set aside its legislation abolishing the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) single desk and to conduct a full and free vote by all current members of the CWB to determine their wishes, and calls on the government to agree to honour the outcome of that democratic process.”
Speaking to the motion, Ashton stated: “The government’s agenda on the Wheat Board is profoundly undemocratic. It is ignoring farmers’ voices every step of the way. Where is the respect toward the directors of the Wheat Board, those who were elected by farmers, eight out of ten of whom were elected on a pro single desk position? Where is the respect for the plebiscite which indicated that a majority of farmers support the single desk marketing of wheat and barley? Finally, where is the duty of the government to follow section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act
, which states that any proposed changes to the Wheat Board’s marketing structure ought to be put to farmers for a vote?”
The Enemy Within
In the special legislative committee studying the bill to wreck the wheat board, MP Pat Martin (NDP — Winnipeg Centre) spoke against the government’s irresponsible railroading of the bill. Following up on the three presentations by advocates of the Wheat Board opposing the Harper government’s nation-wrecking legislation, Martin said:
“You have given us so much material in those three very worthy presentations, I can only begin my remarks by saying that it’s a sham and a travesty that we’re limited to one two-hour session to entertain all the things you brought to the table. It’s the first time many of these have been considered, at least by the members of Parliament studying this bill. Some fast-tracking going on here that is tantamount to sabotage. We never crafted the Canadian Wheat Board Act to protect and defend it against an enemy from within. We never thought we’d have to protect ourselves from our own government, or maybe it would have been crafted even more strongly.”
There are also a number of articles including extensive reportage from the parliament found at http://www.cpcml.ca/Tmld2011/D41113.HTM#6