Takeover of Canadian Wheat Board – We are becoming strangers in our own land
Once there was a Canadian Wheat Board that was truly Canadian-owned and based, and whose job was to market the grain of Canadian farmers, especially in the West.
Since coming to power in 2006, the Harper government has waged an all-out war on the Wheat Board as a public enterprise, purging its farmer directors and replacing them with government appointees, overturning legislation in place for decades, refusing to recognize the vote of its farmer members, and putting the organization on the road to complete privatization.
Well, the Harper government has finally got its way. The announcement has been made. As of July 2015, the Canadian Wheat Board will now be majority owned by a giant privately-owned company, G3 Global Grain Group.
But there is a huge irony here. While the Harper government is rabidly hostile to the concept of state-owned enterprises in Canada, it is allowing a foreign state-owned company to be a major partner in taking over the Canadian Wheat Board.
And just who might own that state-owned company? None other than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, the G3 Global Grain Group is a partnership between SALIC Canada Limited, which is 100% owned by the Saudi government, and Bunge Canada, which is a subsidiary of the global agri-business Bunge Limited.
The global agri-business companies have always had a problem with the Canadian Wheat Board. They didn’t like all those farmers banding together in a common front. Now they have finally triumphed – with huge help from the Harper government.
What chance will independent Canadian farmers have now to get a fair price when they are under the thumb of a giant company backed by the oil-rich Saudi government and other global agri-business oligarchs?
This is just one more indication that we no longer have a national government. Indeed, it is a government of the global oligarchs, by the global oligarchs and for the global oligarchs.
We need nation-building in Canada, not nation-looting.
Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org