Manitoba launches campaign to save CWB

by World Grain Staff
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WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — Manitobans will see and hear new television, print and radio spots supporting the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) and the ability of farmers to have the right to decide the future of their own grain marketing agency, Premier Greg Selinger announced on June 13 at the CWB’s head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The campaign was launched following the federal government’s indication that it will dismantle the CWB in 2012.

The new campaign will focus on highlighting the importance of the CWB to farmers and the provincial economy. It will run for three weeks.

“The CWB is important to so many Manitobans, providing grain growers with an effective and reliable way to sell their grains along with employing hundreds of people in Winnipeg,” said Selinger. “We’re very concerned with the message the federal government is sending to farmers and we won’t just let them pull the plug on the CWB.”

“As farmers, we have the right to determine the future of our marketing agency,” said Allen Oberg, a producer who chairs the CWB board of directors. “We pay for the CWB, we run it, we should decide what happens to it. We are grateful for the leadership being demonstrated by the Manitoba government on this issue. Manitoba farmers can be assured that their provincial government is standing up for their rights.”

The CWB head office employs over 400 people in Winnipeg and supports 2,000 indirect jobs in the city, said Selinger. Last year, CWB gross revenues were among the highest in its history at C$5.2 billion. It also is the single-biggest user of the Port of Churchill, shipping 600,000 tonnes of wheat last year alone.

“It’s not only the farmers who will take a hit. Losing a proven and successful grain-marketing system would mean our provincial economy will see job losses that will affect many communities,” the premier said. “It’s time for all members of the legislature to stand up for the CWB, for farmers and for jobs. We need to push the federal government to reverse its decision immediately.”

Manitobans can sign a petition to support the provincial government to urge the federal government to reverse its decision, the premier added. The petition is available at all Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives GO offices and online at www.gov.mb.ca.
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