Prairie farmers could have a bumper crop of names to choose from when
they fill out ballots in this fall’s election of Canadian Wheat Board
As of last week, 23 farmers had asked the organization running the
election to send them candidate information packages.
However, it remains to be seen how many will actually end up on the
In the last election in 2000, 27 packages were sent out, but in the end
only 15 candidates took the plunge and filed nomination papers.
“Who knows how many people have asked for the packages just to see
them?” said election co-ordinator Peter Eckersley of the consulting
firm Meyers Norris Penny in Brandon.
By the end of last week, only two farmers had filed nomination papers
and officially become candidates – incumbent director Bill Nicholson of
Shoal Lake and challenger Jim Downey of Melita, both running in
Manitoba’s District 9.
Twelve others have publicly stated their intention to run. Based on
those declarations, here’s how the five district races are shaping up:
District 1 – Incumbent Art Macklin of Debolt, Alta., is being
challenged by Brian Trueblood of Dapp, Alta., and Albert Wagner of
Stony Plain, Alta. Two other candidate information packages have been
sent out, but Eckersley declined to identify the recipients.
District 3 – Incumbent Larry Hill of Swift Current, Sask., will square
off against Buck Spencer of Lethbridge, Alta., and Con Johnson of
District 5 – Greg Porozni of Vegreville, Alta., is the only person who
has declared an intention to run. Eight other candidate information
packages have been sent out.
Porozni said that with incumbent John Clair not seeking re-election, it
should be a wide-open race.
“I think it will be a real crap shoot because of that,” he said. “I
expect we’ll have more candidates than any district.”
District 7 – Incumbent Mike Halyk of Melville, Sask., is running along
with challengers Dwayne Anderson of Fosston, Sask., Brad Hanmer of
Govan, Sask., and Bill Rusk of Nipawin, Sask.
District 9 – Don Dewar of Dauphin, Man., has declared his intention to
run against Nicholson and Downey.
The deadline for candidates to file nomination papers is noon on Oct.
All four incumbents are supporters of the board’s single desk marketing
authority, as is Dewar.
The other eight declared candidates, running under the banner of the
organization CARE, want to scrap the single desk and allow grain
companies and individual farmers to sell export wheat and barley in
competition with the board.
In Districts 1, 3, and 7 the vote is shaping up as an incumbent single
desk supporter against two or three dual market candidates.
District 7 candidate Hanmer said he, Anderson and Rusk agreed that
running a group of dual market candidates would boost their chances for
victory over incumbent Halyk.
Three candidates working together will be better able to get their
views across at candidates meetings and through advertising, he said,
and should be able to take advantage of the preferential ballot.
A joint effort is needed because incumbents always have a big
advantage, especially in the CWB elections.
“We’re trying to even the playing field somewhat,” he said.
District 3 incumbent Hill, who could face two dual market challengers,
said there’s no question that the more candidates there are espousing a
particular viewpoint, the more it will be heard by voters.
“You have multiplier effect on the message,” he said, adding that a
group of candidates can “gang up” on their opponent at public meetings.
Also, if each of those candidates brings with him or her a group of
local supporters who might not otherwise vote, that can affect the
“Having said all that, I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from
running for whatever reason,” he said.