Wheat Board Plebiscite Results
Yesterdayâ€™s Tyee article by Horner and Orchard provides a good historical overview of the Wheat Board, but does not mention the recent plebiscite based on which the ConservativesÂ propose to remove the Boardâ€™s barley monopoly. It is worth explaining why this flawed plebiscite does not giveÂ the ConservativesÂ much of a democratic mandate, rather than ignoring the plebiscite altogether.
Of 80,000 ballots sent to barley farmers, only 29,000 were returned. As I had suggested, none of the three ballot options received majority support (50%+1) among those who voted:
38% – maintain single-desk marketing for barley
14% – get the Board out of barley marketing
48% – have the Board market barley and allow others to do so
Also as predicted, the Conservatives have added the votes for options 2 and 3 together to manufacture a mandate for ending single-desk marketing of barley. Of course, leaving out the misleading “compromise” option, nearly three times as many barley farmersÂ voted to maintain single-desk marketing as voted to eliminate it.