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Feds’ rush to pass legislation smells like a Third World rubber stamp

There are many words that could be used to describe the Conservative government decision to rush through Parliament momentous legislation to end the Canadian Wheat Board single desk.

‘Efficient’ comes to mind, ‘decisive’ perhaps or ‘determined’.‘Democracy’ and ‘due process’ are not among them.

Considering the importance of the issue for prairie farmers, the amount of debating time it has taken over almost four decades and the irreversible consequences of ending the single desk, the legislation is moving through Parliament at unprecedented speed.

The bill was introduced Oct. 18, debate at approval-in-principle stage was limited to three parliamentary days and then it was sent to committee for two evenings of public hearings during which supporters of the bill dominated the witness list as voted by the Conservative majority.

One evening of limited clause-by-clause discussion took place and presto, it is back to the House of Commons for a few more days of debate and then off to the Senate for quick passage.

It seems certain the bill will be through the Senate and proclaimed into law by the time Parliament rises for a six-week Christmas break Dec. 15.

That will be less than two months of parliamentary time from start to finish for what is a historic change in agricultural policy.MORE

Op Ed: Forcing choice takes it away:The Battle River Railway could be a victim to Ottawa's imposition of its idea of liberty

Last week, Engine 5353 pulled another train of grain cars collected from places like Alliance and Forestburg in the picturesque blue-and-gold landscape of east-central Alberta. It's been a spectacular fall for harvest, at least in this part of the prairies; the crop is a good one. But the mood is nowhere near as sunny as you'd expect.

In about the same short time it takes for those grain cars to arrive at a West Coast terminal, Parliament will pass a government bill to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB). The railroad metaphor is an apt one. So are the dark clouds on the horizon. They represent much more than the approach of another winter.

By now, it's a challenge to say afresh why the debate about the CWB's future matters to Canadians. Most people in this very urban country tuned out long ago. The subject is too complex, too polarized, too "rural-retro;" it seems to matter too much to too few people. You could fit all of Western Canada's active grain farmers - even the 80-year-olds - inside three or four of our largest hockey arenas or, indeed, inside a single federal constituency.

That's not just proof of a significant demographic shift. It also exposes the political red herring that western farmers must be getting what they voted for in the last federal election when the Harper Conservatives made no secret of their intentions with respect to the CWB. Doubtless, many farmers voted Conservative, others didn't, and for an assortment of reasons; but the truth is that the shrinking "farm vote" was not decisive outside of one or two prairie constituencies.MORE

Grain growers and State Opposition want answers

About 140 grain growers have attended a meeting at Tailem Bend to put questions to officials of the grain handling business, Viterra.

Many who delivered grain to the Tailem Bend silos last month think their harvest was undervalued because of the grading techniques used by Viterra. They are also angry there were long delays to unload grain.

Leighton Huxtable from Karoonda was unimpressed with Viterra's responses to farmers' concerns.
"It just goes to show that when a company has got a monopoly like they have and they will treat growers as they have his year and they will continue to treat growers like that until we do something about it," he said.

Viterra says it had broadened its post-harvest review in response to farmers' concerns.
The meeting discussed a possible class action against Viterra over the payments farmers received.

{video} Grain Transport costs hurting growers in Australia

with thanks to anonymous.
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