LETHBRIDGE: Parliamentary Secretary David Anderson stopped at a farm outside of Lethbridge Tuesday, following the passing of bill C-18 at second reading Monday night in the House of Commons.
He stated that once it passes third reading, the bill would end the Canadian Wheat Boards monopoly over Western Canadian wheat and barley. That would mean farmers would no longer be forced to use the wheat board after August 1st of 2012.
Anderson stated that farmers in Eastern Canada and the rest of the world don't have the same restrictions, so why should those who farm the land in the Western part of our country.
He went on to say that the new legislation will give farmers the freedom to decide how they market their crop, when they sell it, who they sell it to, and at what price.
Meanwhile, local farmers are talking about what it will mean if the wheat board bill goes through.
Stephen Vandervalk, is president of the Grain Growers of Canada who also owns a farm in Fort Macleod. He's for the changes, saying they'll make western products more competitive. "Instead of having the wheat board as one buyer that buys all your grain, you're going to have six or seven - maybe as many as 20 buyers competing for your business," he said. "So I think the pricing will be more competitive in a good way.
But Lynn Jacobson, a Southern Alberta farmer who heads the Alberta Soft Wheat Producers Commission has concerns about the other services, like transportation options, that will be lost with the new wheat board monopoly. "It's going to take the power away from farmers. They're not going to have any say in western Canada commercial organizations or transportation," said Jacobson. He added the government's plan goes against a recent vote where 63 per cent of farmers wanted to keep the wheat board as is.