Tuesday, 15 November 2011

CBC Radio Explores the History of the Embattled Canadian Wheat Board (Podcast)

Wheat.  It is the most important cereal grain in the world and, along with fur trapping and the railroad, it made Canada.

We are one of the largest wheat exporters on the planet, about 19 thousand tons a year, more than any other crop. There are some 75,000 farmers across the Prairies who make their livelihood from it. And to sell their wheat, they have depended for generations on the Canadian Wheat Board.




 
The Wheat Board, as we know it today, was established in 1935 to control prices, so as to benefit farmers in the Great Depression.

Now, however, the Wheat Board could be gone by Christmas. The Conservative government has been promising to get rid of it for years, and with its majority in parliament, is making good on that promise.

It's hard to say what it will mean to farmers and the rest of us. If anybody has an idea, it is John Herd Thompson, who has documented the history of the Wheat Board. Winnipeg born-and-bred, he earned his PhD at Queen's University and has taught at McGill, Simon Fraser and the University of Alberta.  For more than two decades, he has been Professor of History at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  He joins us from a studio there.


Click here, then scroll to the last half of Hour Three.

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