A southern Ontario Tory MP proposes to allow Prairie wheat and barley growers to “opt out” of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single-desk marketing system for at least two years at a time.
Bruce Stanton, the MP for the Orillia-area riding of Simcoe North, recently tabled his own private member’s bill to amend the federal CWB Act. Stanton’s Bill C-619 would permit Prairie growers to opt out of CWB marketing activities if they give notice within a specific three-month period each year, between Jan. 1 and April 1. The CWB would then be required to grant a licence, free of charge, to such growers for the length of time laid out in their notice.
Such a provision would allow predictability and stability for farmers who choose to remain in the CWB pool, Stanton said in a release. “This bill strikes a balance — by retaining all the mechanisms of the statutory marketing authority and offering the alternative of marketing outside of the CWB,” he said.
The bill, seconded in the Commons by Alberta MP Brian Storseth, went through first reading. “The barley and wheat that is produced by the hard-working farmers of Western Canada is a product of their own labour and investment on their own land,” Stanton said. “Yet, they have no say as to how it is marketed or at what price. This is fundamentally unfair to today’s western farmers who have never had the freedom to market their product as they wish.”
A Conservative MP since January 2006, Stanton has a background in hotel management and previously operated Bayview-Wildwood Resorts Limited and The Cottages at Port Stanton on Sparrow Lake, north of Orillia. Before entering federal politics, he served as a councillor in the township of Severn, northwest of Orillia, from 1999 to 2003. In the Commons, he has chaired the standing committee on Aboriginal affairs and northern development since 2009 and is listed as an “associate member” of over 20 standing committees including agriculture and agri-food.