The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) are calling on the federal government to buy back the Canadian Wheat Board from a Saudi consortium.
UCTE represents the workers at the port, Transport Canada and the Marine Tank Farm in Churchill, Manitoba. Dave Clark, National President of UCTE, said that the latest actions by Saudi Arabia to punish Canadians are clear evidence that they can no longer be trusted to put the interests of grain farmers first. “Their actions to stop buying Canadian wheat and barley should be the final nail in the coffin. Having a foreign interest managing such an important asset is wrong and should be immediately reversed.”
This call by the union comes after many farmers and farm organizations from across Canada have made their concerns about their treatment by the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) and the consortium they lead, G3 Canada Limited, known to the government and the media. 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 says the former Conservative government made a mistake when it privatized the board and sold it to the G3 Global Grain Group. The union 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,” said Clark. “Now we have foreign interests threatening our suppliers and Canadian jobs.”
The union will be writing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ask for his immediate action to protect Canadian producers by restoring the Canadian Wheat Board to Canadian farmers.