Farmers Receive Pardons from Harper for Transporting Grain into the U.S


Farmers Convicted in the 1990s Receive Pardons over a Decade Later
By Jean-Paul McDonald,

Stephen Harper spoke to a crowd of grain farmers in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, yesterday alongside Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz at an event dubbed ?marketing freedom day?, which officially recognized the end of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly on Western Canadian grain marketing.

Under the old CWB, grain farmers in Western Canada had no choice but to sell their crops through the Board, which caused strife with some farmers as they were denied the ability to make their own marketing choices. Several farmers were charged and convicted in the 1990s for transporting Western Canadian grain across the border into the United States in rebellious defiance.

After more than a decade, the Harper government announced that they will officially pardon farmers who were convicted of illegally transporting grain across the border into the United States in the 1990s."These people were not criminals. They were our fellow citizens," said Harper, to a crowd of cheering farmers who supported the changes at CWB. "Never, never, never again will western farmers ? and only western farmers ? growing their own wheat on their own land be told how they can and can't market their products," Harper added.

To many farmers, the end of the CWB monopoly is seen as a victory and the beginning of a new era of marketing freedom. However, not all western grain farmers agree that this is a good thing. "By destroying the world's largest marketer of wheat and barley, Stephen Harper has transferred a tremendous amount of wealth and influence away from farmers," said the group Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board Chair Stewart Wells.

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