Friday, June 06, 2008

Farmers Support Canadian Wheat Board

A large survey of farmers was released by the Canadian Wheat Board today. I watched Question Period today, and to hear the Conservatives, this survey shows complete vindication for their initiatives. I looked at the survey PDF, and not surprising, the government selectively uses the data. What is entirely clear, farmers overwhelming support the Canadian Wheat Board, want any decision making left to their own elected Board, not the government, and believe the CWB brings better prices.

On who best represents farmers views:
Are the views of __________ very close, somewhat close, not very close or not close at all to your own?

Canadian Wheat Board 31%, 33%, 16%, 19%

Federal Government 11%, 38%, 23%, 26%

Agriculture Minister Ritz 12%, 32%, 19%, 27%

64% believe the CWB shares the same views, while only 49% say the same about the government, 44% for Minister Ritz.

Supporting the CWB:
Do you support or oppose the Canadian Wheat Board?

Strongly support 39%, Somewhat support 26%, Somewhat oppose 13%, Strongly oppose 19%
65%-32% support

On the future of the CWB, farmers clearly want their ELECTED representatives to decide, not the Conservatives:
Who should determine the future of the CWB – the farmer elected directors of the CWB or the federal government?

Directors strongly 64%
Directors somewhat 13%
Government somewhat 5%
Government strongly 12%

By a staggering 77%-17%, farmers want their ELECTED directors to decide their fate, not a bunch of ideologues. Many of us who have defended the CWB have always pointed to the simple fact, if farmers wanted change, they have their own democratic mechanism to bring that about. Clearly, farmers feel they can decide their own path, thank-you very much.

More on government intervention:
The Federal Court of Appeal confirmed the lower court decision that stopped the federal government from removing the single desk for barley without introducing legislation to do so. Now that the court has ruled, would you have preferred that the government:

Introduce leg strongly 27%

Introduce leg somewhat 8%

Drop the issue somewhat 13%

Drop the issue strongly 47%

60%-35% want the government to drop the issue. Hello Mr. Ritz- strange to have the Conservatives, the supposed anti-government interference party, forcing themselves on farmers, when they prefer they get out of the way.

To be fair, when farmers are asked about opening up the barley market, they endorse a dual system:
Marketing Barley?

Sole CWB 27%
Dual market 41%
Open market 26%

It is debatable whether or not farmers can truly have both, but when asked a clear question, unlike the Conservatives dishonest phrasing, farmers do choose the open market:
Marketing Barley?

Sole CWB 40%
Open Market 52%

Farmers want an open market, so we should see them elect Directors who share their perspective.

A different result for wheat:
Marketing Wheat?

Sole CWB 42%
Dual market 45%
Open market 12%

When asked the clear question:
Marketing Wheat?

Solely CWB 57%
Open Market 39%

When it comes to wheat, opinion is much different. Again, based on the other findings, farmers will ELECT their own representation, that best represents their preference.

The Conservative study allowed for manipulation of the numbers, by asking a direct question, the results are much clearer. Farmers want an open barley market, prefer a monopoly on wheat, but don't want the government telling them what to do.

One more thing which I found interesting. Given the battle between the Conservatives and the CWB the past two years, it is noteworthy that farmers have a better impression of the CWB now, than they did before this government took office:
When asked if their impression of the CWB has improved in the last two years (since the Conservatives took power), 42% say more favorable, 14% less, 43% unchanged


Let the farmer decide their own fate, under the direction of the Canadian Wheat Board, a board they have confidence in. Stop the jihad Mr. Harper!


Johnathon said...

The farmers in Alberta are not happy with the Wheat Board.

Not you understand the bullshit poll questions.

Harper is worried about Alberta as much or more than the leftist loons are worried about Ontario.

Why did the poll not mention anything specific to Alberta?

Why is that?

Steve V said...

Actually it did break it down by province, if you want to look at the link.

Steve V said...

In Alberta, farmers support the CWB by 53%-44%, in Sask 72%-27%, in Man 59%-38%. In other words, all the provinces support the CWB.

Kris said...

I don't know anything about farming, and didn't even know of the CWB until about 2 years ago. Because of the complexity of the debate and the accusations of tilted questions, I was reluctant to take a side, fearing I didn't truly understand the situation. A poll like this is exactly what I was looking for; clear, unambigious.

I struggle to see how Ritz and co. could spin this otherwise, but something tells me they'll try.

Steve V said...

"I struggle to see how Ritz and co. could spin this otherwise, but something tells me they'll try."

You should have heard them in QP today. That's why I went to look for this survey myself. The survey does support the barley component, but even there people want the CWB to navigate, not RITZ.

Mentarch said...

Oh yeah - more spin, truthiness and lies from Harper and his Harpies.

Canada's "New" Government indeed ...


Anonymous said...

If the CWB is so fantastic, why don't all the Ontario farmers abandon their autonomy over their crops and join the CWB as western farmers are forced to do? That would convince me, not some poll with questions designed to skew the outcome.

Steve V said...

"That would convince me, not some poll with questions designed to skew the outcome."

No, that was the one your party put out, this one is a survey of 1300 farmers.

As for Ontario, there is an mechanism in place at the CWB to ELECT representatives, if they want they system changed. This survey clearly shows that is the preferred method of the overwhelming majority, not a bunch of ideologues on their crusade.

Do you have a problem with democracy??

Steve V said...

""That would convince me, not some poll with questions designed to skew the outcome.""

One more thing, let's forget about all these surveys and skewed votes, let's just look at the last round of Director elections for the CWB? Seems to me the single desk candidates won the day, curious that. Is that more believable for you?

Anonymous said...

The question still remains as to why anyone should be forced to market their product through some quasi-governmental agency.
I have no complaint against the wheat board for those who choose to sell their product that way. I do have a problem when some bureaucracy tells a farmer that after he/she has invested ther own money and labour into an enterprise that they must then sell the product of that enterprise to some single source collective instead of taking a risk of their own choosing.
I also don't support some in and out scheme whereby you sell through the collective when prices are depressed but pull out when you see a chance to make a better return. You're either in or out, but the choice should be up to the person who makes the investment.

Anonymous said...

Funny turn around - it was the Tories that set up the CWB in the first place many years ago.

The US asked Australia to dismantle their wheat board - and Howared, former Conservative PM, told the US to rub salt. Why can't Harper stand up to the US mega corporations?

Joe Calgary said...

In Alberta there is a strong sentiment towards independent marketing, especially in Southern Alberta.

Given we are ostensibly a free market economy, a farmer who wishes to market aside from the CWB should not be prohibited, but more importantly, should not go to jail as a result of his desire to "go it alone".

That's what piss' off the Alberta contingent, that our farmers can be jailed for daring to be different.

Eliminate the power of the CWB to jail farmers, and create a mechanism for those who want to go it alone.

Miles Lunn said...

Not totally surprising. Barley farmers have always been more supportive of an open market than wheat farmers. In part because barley is produced primarily in Alberta which tends to be more pro free enterprise than either Saskatchewan or Manitoba. I suspect the Conservatives are also attacking the CWB because the ridings affected by it they won by such astronomical margins, they are unlikely to lose them even if they anger some farmers. The reason they aren't attacking supply management is those ridings (primarily in Ontario and Quebec) they won by much smaller margins and in the case of Quebec many they are hoping to pick up. I myself favour an open market, but I would rather it be decided by the board. In terms of a dual marketing system, a system that might work is require farmers to choose one or the other, but prohibit them from operating in both. Otherwise don't sell on the open market when prices are high and then come back to the Wheat Board when they drop. Under this sytem you stay on the open market 100% of the time. I think those who flip back and forth between the Wheat Board and the open market is more where the problem could arise.