Eduard Hiebert

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After the all candidate CWB forum held in Portage la Prairie, the following day I released the following information on how both Chuck Fossay and Bill Toews were advancing a "pennies on the dollar" federal government pay-out of the financial guarantees Paul Martin's Liberal's signed away at the WTO accord.

Below is also segments of Senate transcripts (with full public link) of how Bill Toews as shown that he is prepared to "go along with the Liberals" even when it means shooting farmers in the foot.  At the all-candidates forum, it was my best assessment that Bill Toews was repeating this pattern of behaviour.

Reading between the lines of the November 11 FIW issue provides further public support of capturing what Bill said at the Portage meeting and how far along he has moved along the path of once again "going along to get along" with his hidden loyalties to the federal liberals.

Now the material I released on November 11.


November 11, 2004 A.D.

Most farmers are very upset that the Federal Liberals' agreed to give up the Federal financial guarantees to the Canadian Wheat Board at the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) talks.  At the CWB all candidate forum just held in Portage la Prairie, the audience learned that Bill Toews is willing to "go along" with this.

Toews went out of his way to accept the Liberal Government's faint-hearted capitulation in the recent WTO talks and took the old Liberal position of "compensation to farmers if necessary, but not necessarily compensation." Losing this guarantee will take millions and millions of dollars directly away from farmers and place the CWB at the mercy of the banking cartel for financing.  The other alternative is to take more money out of farmers' pockets to establish a contingency fund. Either way farmers lose and the CWB is left more fragile than before.

Hiebert said he would fight the loss of the guarantee tooth and nail. Should the Liberals plow ahead and capitulate to the private trade, Hiebert added "nothing less than full compensation is acceptable" and it is too bad that the other pro-CWB candidates are so weak on this.


Each of the 4 candidates took a different position regarding the Liberal's recent signing of the Cancun WTO accord.  Chuck Fossay, up first at the mike did not want to see the price guarantee go, but "if it had to go" Fossay advocated asking for "some" compensation for farmers.

Jack Froese demonstrated his "without question" allegiance of "going along" with the multi-national agri-businesses control of the world market place when in relation to a question on GMO, he advocated plowing ahead with a full research program (paid for by farmers or the Federal Government?) and then tabling the investment until market acceptance was achieved.  This he explained would put Canadian farmers in the position of using this technology to becoming the world's least cost volume grain producer.  A position totally at odds with our established practice of aiming our production and marketing at the high quality, premium price end of the wheat market. With Froese's one-time opt out option being the equivalent of giving every single farmer the power to dismantle the single desk against the will of all others, Froese's proposal would be the final nail in the coffin of farmers as price makers, and would reduce farmers to price takers.  Hiebert received approving laughter when he stated that none in Froese's nuclear family including brother-in-law Harry Siemen would allow a spouse to "opt out" of their marriage and continue calling it a marriage with any fidelity. By now most farmers know that a "pro dual market" is a dishonest position. Likewise, Hiebert added that Froese's "opt out" from the single desk would by definition destroy the fidelity of the single desk and is no more honest than advancing the lie of a "dual market".

The signed WTO accord in chapter 18 states:  "The following will be eliminated by the end date to be agreed:... Trade distorting practices with respect to exporting STEs (CWB) INCLUDING ELIMINATING export subsidies provided to or by them, GOVERNMENT FINANCING, and THE UNDERWRITING OF LOSSES. The issue of the future use of monopoly powers will be subject to further negotiation (emphasis added)."

Eduard Hiebert stressed this decision must be fought tooth and nail and if the Martin Liberals still go ahead, we must expect "full compensation" for the government to give something away that was neither a subsidy nor trade distorting as none of the dozen or so US trade challenges against the CWB have ever found the CWB to be a subsidy.  Hiebert also pointed out that in 1998 Toews was caught on government transcripts endorsing the then proposed CWB act while the majority of pro CWB farmers did not.  (See below for details and link to the government transcripts.)

When Bill Toews answered the question on how to deal with the price guarantee issue, in his view he stated the federal government's initial CWB price guarantee "was more than likely history" or a "decision cast in stone" and on the question of compensation he sided with Chuck Fossay's formulation saying "farmers should receive 'some' compensation" and cited the pennies on the dollar Crow "by-out" as a model.

This is not Toews' first conversion to supporting  partisan Liberal policy. In 1996 he eventually came on board with the ad-hoc steering committee that organized the rally to save the Wheat Board.  In 1998 the past committee members considered the question of coming up with a submission to the Senate seeking input into the then proposed CWB ACT so that we now have directors etc.

The views of the committee members were so divergent that they agreed not to make a joint report, but individuals could do so on their own.

Based on the transcripts committee members Andy Baker and Brad Mroz did just that, voicing their preference not to pass the bill, but if passed added further honest pro CWB choices.

Toews, in contradiction to the above appeared before the Senate claiming to represent all of the farmer's who participated at the rally as well as urging that the legislative bill be passed quickly

The full transcripts are available by clicking here 

An extract of some of the key statements follow below.

Eduard Hiebert

Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry 
Issue 10 - Evidence - Afternoon sitting

WINNIPEG, Thursday, April 2, 1998

Mr. Bill Toews, Chair, Concerned Farmers Saving the Wheat Board: My name is Bill Toews. With me today are Keith Ryan and Tim Groening.

After listening to a fair amount of the discussion up until now, I have decided to change my presentation slightly. I will not be sticking strictly to the presentation I have prepared. It was interesting to hear how the numbers of farmers in Western Canada is growing quickly. I suppose I could come in front of you and suggest that I represent 70,000 farmers across Western Canada. I will not do that.

Senator Spivak: How could we check it out?

Mr. Toews: How could you check it out?

The Chairman: How long has your association been formed?

Mr. Toews: We formed it in 1996. I would like to give you a bit of a preview. I was being a bit facetious since the last panel of witnesses apparently represent me as well.

When various groups throw numbers around, there is a certain amount of caution that should be required, whether it is the Manitoba Canola Growers Association or a coalition.

There has been no method, for example, in the Canola Growers Association, to determine what the opinion of canola growers really is on this issue. I want to back away from that, though, and give you an overview of what we are going to present.

Our written presentation describes who we are. There is a preamble on the Canadian Wheat Board marketing system. There are some suggestions about Bill C-4, about things that we have concerns about, on governance, on the contingency fund, on operational flexibility and on the inclusion and exclusion clauses.....

It is important to pass this bill. There are factions of opinion on both sides of the issue, but the concerns about the inclusion clauses are a bit of a red herring. The threat of having another commodity in this type of an organization has always been there in the sense that it just required Parliament to make that happen. It is not as if that threat were not there before. The so-called threat to the industry is not nearly as huge as certain groups may like, however I return to the idea that things change....

At the back of my brief you will see printed the results of motions made at our Grain Days meetings to seek withdrawal of Bill C-4. These are the meetings held by the Canadian Wheat Board where farmers vote on various matters. You will see that the motions against Bill C-4 were passed by a large majority at most of the meetings. I will also point out that the meetings were supportive of the Canadian Wheat Board in many cases.

In conclusion, many organizations have requested a major overhaul of this legislation and have been ignored. Very few changes have been made. History tells us that when government makes such fundamental changes to the nature of a marketing agency, they conduct a plebiscite with producers to determine what they think and what they feel. I believe that this is a fundamental change.

I know Mr. Whelan used to conduct votes to determine if farmers wanted a certain marketing plan. I believe this is a fundamental change that should require a plebiscite.

I believe the trade policy and deregulation of transportation will continue to undermine the Canadian Wheat Board. The Senate has a responsibility to see that the Canadian Wheat Board, which is envied by other countries' farmers, is not undermined by this legislature. Bill C-4 is flawed legislation that really should be withdrawn.

Mr. Baker: ...

I did not want to be the one to come here and say that I am against change, that we should scrap the bill and to ask what was wrong with the way the board was operating....

It is plain and simple. Why are we spending all this energy arguing over things that we can settle by doing just one or two things? We can either leave the board the way it is now -- and it is operating just fine; they are returning a heck of a pile to my pocket -- or we can make the changes to the board of the directors....

I did not come here to say scrap the bill, but everybody else seems to be saying that, so maybe it is not such a bad thing to scrap it. Personally I do not think it will happen. We will see some change in the way farmers are elected to the board. Then let us do that. Why are we arguing about inclusion and exclusion and a contingency fund? Let us elect the board. They  will decide whether we need a contingency fund. They will decide what gets included. If there are enough farmers there to vote to include something, we will include it. If there are enough farmers to get rid of wheat from the board, we will get rid of wheat from the board.

Mr. Mroz: ...

I support the issue of the inclusion clause. In a democratic way, it would be the only way for farmers to decide which crops should be marketed through the Canadian Wheat Board. The Canadian Wheat Board is their marketing agency, and those producers elected should have the right, when representing farmers properly, to use the inclusion clause to include crops if they so wish. Without that inclusion clause, I do not think this legislation would provide a fair way to go about making changes.


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