Following Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to halt Canadian grain imports, union demands government action
By Kate Ayers
The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) demands that the feds buy the former Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) back from G3 Global Grain Group.
G3 is a joint venture between Bunge Canada (Bunge) and SALIC Canada Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC), the G3 website said.
This call follows Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to stop buying Canadian grain shipments, a UCTE release said on Aug. 23.
“Saudi’s statements, if we take them as fact, is that it wants to get out of the economy of Canada,” Dave Clark, national president of UCTE, said to Farm.com.
G3 purchased 50.1 per cent of the Canadian Wheat Board for $250 million, and renamed it to G3 Canada Ltd. The government said the remaining 49.9 per cent was to be kept for grain farmers, although G3 could own 100 per cent of the former Canadian Wheat Board by 2022, Clark said.
“We have a minute time to decide if we are going to have this control in Saudi hands or to give it back to farmers. … If they are not buying our product, then they should not be in charge of our product,” Clark said.
Many farmers and ag groups across Canada have voiced their concerns to the government about foreign interests in the Canadian grain industry.
The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance believes that the previous Conservative government made a mistake when it privatized the board and sold it to G3, the release said. The union agrees.
Buying the CWB from G3 “would place the wheat board back in farmers’ hands – the people who grow it and invest in it,” Clark said.
“The board today has one farmer on it. This is the farmers’ product, and this is the marketing bureau of grains from Canada.”
The union will write to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling for the federal government to return the Canadian Wheat Board to Canadian farmers.
The UCTE represents workers in Churchill, Man. at the port, Transport Canada and the Marine Tank the release said.
Previous Farm.com coverage on Saudi Arabia’s decision to halt Canadian grain imports can be found here.
UPDATED Aug. 31, 2018