Over 17,000 letters sent to MPs in first week of campaign, supporting
the Canadian wheat farmers
WINNIPEG, Nov. 10, 2011 /CNW/ - Thousands of Canadians this week, from
all parts of the country are standing up to the Harper government, and
standing up for farmers. By sending over 17,000 texts and emails, they
are sending a powerful message to the government that its attempt to
steamroll legislation that will devastate the livelihoods of hundreds
of Canadian farmers is simply wrong, illegal and unethical.
The new campaign, Stop the Steamroller, launched last week by the Canadian Wheat Board, is encouraging
Canadians to speak out against the proposed legislation to dismantle
the wheat board by Christmas even though the majority of farmers oppose
the decision. Through a mix of social media and traditional media, the
campaign continues to grow exponentially, and is now generating an
impressive over 2,000 letters a day.
"To get this kind of response in the first week of our campaign is
incredible," said Allen Oberg, Chair of the Canadian Wheat Board.
"Canadians are clearly saying to the Harper government, enough is
enough and sending a clear message that our farmers deserve better
treatment. Whichever side of the debate a farmer is on, this is a
momentous decision and all farmers have the right to be heard. The
reality is, the Harper government should be ashamed of how it's
treating our farmers and our goal is to force them to reconsider how
they're going about this. "
The campaign, which includes print, radio, TV, a microsite and online
advertising, asks Canadians to visit www.stopthesteamroller.ca or text FARMER to 24680 to show their support. The text generates a
letter to MPs opposing the decision to dismantle the Wheat Board by the
end of the year.
'Stop the Steamroller' Campaign facts:
Why are the government's actions illegal?
Despite the fact that the law requires the government to consult with
farmers on any changes to the CWB, the government has steadfastly
refused to hold a vote among farmers and says it will ignore the vote
conducted by the CWB. Not only is the decision illegal, it's also the
opposite of what the farmers themselves want: a recent plebiscite
among wheat and barley famers showed that 62 per cent want to keep the
Why does the CWB matter to farmers?
The CWB has been working for wheat and barley farmers for over 75 years
to ensure that they get the best possible price for their crops.
The CWB is paid for and run by the farmers it benefits - it receives no
Studies have proved that the CWB puts hundreds of millions of additional
dollars into farmers' pockets every year.
The United States government has tried 13 times to convince the world
trading authorities that the CWB gives Canadian farmers an unfair trade
advantage. They have failed every time but are still seeking to
eliminate the CWB in the current round of WTO trade negotiations.
The CWB is all about farmers working together to sell their wheat and
barley in a marketplace controlled by a handful of giant American food
conglomerates rather than competing with each other in a race to the
bottom - think of it as a trade union for wheat and barley sales.
Those same conglomerates control the rest of the world's grain trade;
Canadian wheat and barley is the only exception to that rule. This
means that the wheat and barley industry in Canada will go from being
run by Canadians to being run by foreign interests.
Farmers will be left to negotiate their own prices with these companies
- some of them will do well but far more will be worse off. This
decision could be the beginning of the end for many family farms that
form the backbone of Canadian agriculture.
Many small communities in western Canada will also be hurt by the
fallout from this decision.
The government has not put forward any business case on why the CWB
should be eliminated.
In 1998 farmers were promised that they would be entitled to vote on the
future of the CWB. That promise has been repeated by the Harper
government but they're breaking that promise.
This is the most significant agricultural policy decision of the century
and the government is refusing to listen to the voices of people who
will be the most affected by it. That's wrong.
More information is available www.stopthesteamroller.ca
SOURCE CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD
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