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Democratic rights

While I respect the Saskatchewan Party’s right to support an end to the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk, I cannot agree with their support of having western Canadian farmers’ democratic rights stripped away.

In the first instance, it is a simple and accepted principle in Canadian society to have, and express, a view on a topic.

In the second instance, however, it is a failure of elected officials to act in the interests of the citizens who elected them, and who expect them to stand up for their rights and freedoms.

Saskatchewan agriculture minister Bob Bjornerud’s statements last week endorsed the federal government’s decision to prohibit farmers from voting in a plebiscite to decide on their marketing structure.

As well, deputy minister Ken Krawetz addressed a meeting at the Farm Progress Show last week, and made a similar declaration.

It must be realized that, as federal legislation now exists, farmers must be consulted in a plebiscite before any changes are made to the marketing structure that now exists in western Canada, and to approve those changes.

In order to forbid farmers that existing legal right, Harper’s Conservatives have promised to discard the legislation that ensures producers’ ability to choose their marketing system, and to replace it with a law that transfers that power exclusively to the federal government.

In short, the Harper government will use Parliament to strip farmers of their democratic rights.… They must know that the majority of farmers do not support their position on this issue.

Rather than let producers make their views known, the federal government will abuse the law to gag farmers in the same way that they gagged the CWB in 2006.

According to the statements that were made (recently) by two of its top ministers, the Saskatchewan Party seems to agree with this abuse of democratic procedure.

Unless farmers are willing to be treated as government property, they are going to have to speak out in defense of the right to decide their own fate.

Cam Goff,

Elected director, CWB District 6

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