Main menu:

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

  • A critical look at BC’s new tax breaks and subsidies for LNG May 7, 2019
    The BC government has offered much more to the LNG industry than the previous government. Read the report by senior economist Marc Lee.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver April 30, 2019
    The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver is $19.50/hour. This is the amount needed for a family of four with each of two parents working full-time at this hourly rate to pay for necessities, support the healthy development of their children, escape severe financial stress and participate in the social, civic and cultural lives of […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Time to regulate gas prices in BC and stop industry gouging April 29, 2019
    Drivers in Metro Vancouver are reeling from record high gas prices, and many commentators are blaming taxes. But it’s not taxes causing pain at the pump — it’s industry gouging. Our latest research shows that gas prices have gone up by 55 cents per litre since 2016 — and the vast majority of that increase […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA welcomes Randy Robinson as new Ontario Director March 27, 2019
    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is pleased to announce the appointment of Randy Robinson as the new Director of our Ontario Office.  Randy’s areas of expertise include public sector finance, the gendered rise of precarious work, neoliberalism, and labour rights. He has extensive experience in communications and research, and has been engaged in Ontario’s […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Budget hints at priorities for upcoming […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Progressive Bloggers


Recent Blog Posts

Posts by Author

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Wheat Board Plebiscite

Yesterday, the Conservatives announced three ballot options for an upcoming mail-in vote on the Canadian Wheat Board’s marketing of barley: (1) maintain single-desk marketing, (2) end the Board’s marketing of barley, or (3) have the Board market barley without its monopoly.

In effect, Board elections have always been plebiscites on the organization’s role and supporters of single-desk marketing have always won. Earlier this month, the Government of Manitoba held an explicit plebiscite. The vote in favour of the Board was 70% for wheat and 62% for barley. Given that the Conservatives are inclined to dismantle the Board, but most western farmers clearly support single-desk marketing, two aspects of the Conservative strategy stand out.

First, by presenting three options, the federal plebiscite reduces the likelihood of majority (50%+1) support for any one option. If options 2 and 3 together garner more votes than option 1, the result could be interpreted as a democratic mandate to remove the Board’s monopoly. This scenario seems probable given that option 3 misleadingly appears to be the “compromise” choice. In fact, the real issue is whether or not to deploy the market power of a monopoly on behalf of western farmers selling grain into volatile world markets.

Second, the federal plebiscite focuses on barley, which is mainly sold within Canada rather than exported through the Board. Single-desk marketing is less relevant to barley than to wheat. As the Manitoba vote revealed, support for single-desk marketing is stronger for wheat than for barley.  Perhaps more importantly, whereas wheat production is concentrated in Saskatchewan, barley production is concentrated in Alberta, the province least supportive of single-desk marketing.

I hope that the Board’s supporters will be able to mobilize a majority of barley producers to vote for option 1. Otherwise, this three-option barley plebiscite may be the thin edge of the wedge, allowing Conservatives to chip away at the Board even though most western farmers support single-desk marketing.

Enjoy and share:


Comment from Greg
Time: July 26, 2007, 12:39 pm

What is the difference between the 12 farmers from southern Alberta who controvened the CWB Act and Strahl (who has done the same)? What was there jail time? I forget now.

Write a comment

Related articles