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This article was published 21/6/2011 (3543 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — The future of Churchill will be in serious doubt if the government goes ahead with eliminating the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly, the town’s mayor said this morning.
Michael Spence joined an Ottawa press conference by phone today, with the NDP MPs from Manitoba, to press the Conservatives to at least invest in an economic study of the impacts of eliminating the CWB monopoly on Churchill and the Manitoba economy.
The government has pledged to introduce legislation that would allow prairie farmers to choose where to market their grain beginning next year.
Spence said 95 per cent of the shipments through the Port of Churchill come from the CWB and if farmers stop using the CWB that grain will end up being shipped through Vancouver or Thunder Bay instead.
It could mean the loss of 200 jobs in Churchill.
Churchill NDP MP Niki Ashton said it also risks the rail line into Churchill and jobs associated with that in Thompson, Gillam and the Pas.
Several hundred jobs in Winnipeg at the CWB head office as well as the Canadian Grain Commission could be at risk as well, said NDP MP Pat Martin.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s office said last week the government is relying on numerous studies done by the private sector.
Meagan Murdoch said Ritz has also asked officials in his department to meet with the industry stakeholders over the summer to develop a transitional plan to help the CWB become a voluntary marketing entity if that’s what it decides to do after the legislation passes.