OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA — The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE), a group that represents the workers at the port, Transport Canada and the Marine Tank Farm in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, on Aug. 23 called on the Canadian government to buy back the Canadian Wheat Board from G3 Canada Ltd.
G3 Canada’s shareholder structure comprises several joint venture members, including G3 Global Grain Group and Farmers Equity Trust.
G3 Global Grain Group is a joint venture between Bunge Canada (Bunge) and SALIC Canada Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC), formed to invest in Canada’s agricultural grain industry by establishing a highly efficient coast–to-coast grain enterprise.
The primary purpose of the Farmers Equity Trust is to own the Class B shares in G3 Canada Ltd. (formerly CWB) which were issued to the Trust on July 31, 2015. These shares represent farmers’ opportunity to have an economic interest in G3 Canada Ltd. The Trust also oversees the allocation and issuing of Trust Units to farmers who have done business with CWB since August 1, 2013, or who continue to do business with G3 Canada Ltd. until the Trust’s equity position is fully allocated or the shares of G3 held by the Trust are sold, as outlined in the Declaration of Trust and the shareholder’s agreement of G3 Canada Limited.
Dave Clark, president of the UCTE, the latest actions by Saudi Arabia have raised concerns among the UCTE’s members. Saudi Arabia’s state wheat buying agency earlier this month said it would no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley.
“Their actions to stop buying Canadian wheat and barley should be the final nail in the coffin,” Clark said. “Having a foreign interest managing such an important asset is wrong and should be immediately reversed.”
G3 Canada Ltd. acquired the Canadian Wheat Board in 2015.
This is not the first time a group has called for changes in Canada. Earlier this year a group of producers from parts of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance (CWBA), called for the federal government to bring back the board and its single desk for selling wheat and barley.
The CWBA said the former government made a mistake when it privatized the board and sold it to the G3 Global Grain Group.
Clark said the UCTE agrees.
“We used to have a fast, efficient and effective means of getting Canadian grain to market using the rail line and ports like Churchill and Thunder Bay,” Clark said. “Now we have foreign interests threatening our suppliers and Canadian jobs.”
The UCTE said it plans to write to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ask for “immediate action” to protect Canadian producers by restoring the Canadian Wheat Board to Canadian farmers.