Farmers fretting over Wheat Board's future
Doug Chorney's devotion to the Conservative Party runs deep enough that he spent last winter hammering campaign signs into the frozen prairie on behalf of the local Tory candidate.
But Mr. Chorney, a 41-year-old grain farmer, believes the federal government is about to make an enormous mistake by dismantling the monopoly power of the Canadian Wheat Board.
"They've never properly explained how you can have a strong and viable Canadian Wheat Board in a dual market," Mr. Chorney says. "In fact, every credible voice on the subject says it's not possible."
"They're really floundering on this issue," he says.
"If we just get a vote, we'll have no trouble showing that farmers want the CWB to stay," Mr. Chorney says. "We're not scared of a vote, and the other side is. That speaks volumes."
Mr. Strahl wouldn't commit to a plebiscite, he says in an interview.
"All this task force is doing is answering technical questions on what would be necessary to move from a monopoly position to a marketing-choice position," Mr. Strahl says. "You don't need a plebiscite on that."Tories' plan to end Canadian Wheat Board monopoly has political risks
Alan Skardal has voted for the federal Conservatives for more than 30 years, but insists the ballot he cast for them last Jan. 23 was his last.
The grain and cattle farmer from Baldur, Man., says his commitment never wavered despite Tory-supported agriculture policies that cost him and his neighbours thousands of dollars through the years - from elimination of a grain transportation subsidy to support for meat packers during the mad cow crisis.
But the party's decision to look at ending the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on western wheat and barley exports before letting farmers vote on it is the last straw.
"I don't know who I will vote for in the next federal election, but I do know who it won't be. I will never vote Conservative again," Skardal, 50, wrote this month in a letter to the editor of the Farmers Independent Weekly.
And for more on the Wheat Board check out fellow Albertan and Progressive Blogger Buckdog.
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