Reader questions decision to cover wheat board meeting

It’s been nearly four years since the Canadian Wheat Board lost its single desk marketing powers, but recent news of a possible revival sparked a flurry of social media activity on The Western Producer’s website.

Robert Arnason, one of our Manitoba reporters, wrote about a meeting in Swan River, Man., Feb. 10 that saw a former CWB director, other board supporters and about 50 producers call upon the federal government to re-establish the CWB single desk.

His story, posted to our site following the long weekend, sure got readers talking.

“Don’t miss the CWB and never will,” wrote one reader named Tyler.

“They must have bused in every NFU member in Western Canada for the meeting. In my part of the country, you wouldn’t get a soul to attend a CWB meeting,” wrote another reader named Bruce.

While most of the comments tended to support the government’s decision to shutter the CWB, that was not exclusively the case.

“With the loss of the CWB and Stats Canada reporting a record $90 billion farm debt, rural Canada faces a perilous future,” wrote Brendan Sigurdson.

One reader questioned the WP’s decision to even cover such a meeting.

“50 producers eh? They should accurately represent the 80 to 90,000 of us farmers in Western Canada. Shoddy and lazy reporting on this story. I’m sure I could round up a few hundred that would love to never hear of the CWB again,” wrote a reader calling himself Dusty.

For the record, Dusty, our news editor, Terry Fries, quarterbacks all our news coverage, and it was in consultation with Arnason that the decision was made to cover this meeting.

Covering agriculture — all aspects of it — is what we do. That 50 people got together in a room and passed a motion on something that was once as important as the CWB is worthy of reporting. So, too, is the Liberal government’s comment issued the following week that it will not be revisiting this issue.

Incidentally, the follow-up story containing the government’s comments, done by Regina reporter Karen Briere, was also a wildly popular read on our website and generated its own storm of commentary via readers on social media.

“The CWB may have had its time and place — when the horses pulled plows. Today marketing is at your fingertips. Get over it already,” said a reader who identified himself as Dayton.

“Some farmers and their obsession with the CWB are similar to lovelorn people on the Dr. Phil show who send money to a romantic interest in Nigeria. When Dr. Phil shows them absolute proof it’s a scam ,they still believe,” wrote Stephen Daniels.

No matter your position, I hope you’ll agree — it’s always better to report on these things and let the readers have their say than to never report them at all.

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