Farmers “duped” by Harper Conservatives vow to fight against Wheat Board legislation

Despite news that the Conservative government is tabling legislation, Tuesday, to end the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly over Western Canada's wheat and barley farmers, supporters of the Board say they're not going down without a fight.

Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz said the government wants to ensure the bill clears Parliament before the end of the year, saying both farmers and commodities markets need clarity to plan for the future.

Manitoba farmer Andrew Dennis, however, says the government has no legal authority to nix the current system because of Section 47.1of the Canadian Wheat Board Act which guarantees farmers right to vote on changes to the CWB's marketing structure.

"They should be democratic about the way do this, that's always been the expectation," Dennis told Yahoo! Canada News.

"Even during the last election I talked to farmers that voted Conservative. They're not happy with their government right now because they voted Conservative knowing that the choice was always going to be the farmers (that) it would take 50 per cent plus one to dismantle the Wheat Board and they felt that was safe. And then they found out we're not going to have a vote at all. They kind of got duped ."

Dennis spent the summer travelling across the Prairies to raise money and awareness for a Friends of the Wheat Board court challenge to quash the federal government's efforts to make changes. To date he's raised approximately $66,000.

On Monday, Allen Oberg, Chair of the CWB, told a press conference in Winnipeg that contrary to what Stephen Harper and Ritz have said the fight over the Wheat Board's monopoly has a long way to go.

"This government's reckless approach will throw Canada's grain industry into disarray. It will jeopardize a $5 billion export sector," the Winnipeg Free-Press reports him as saying.

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