It was very funny to hear the Prime Minister of Canada imply that the takeover of Viterra by Glencore, already the world’s No. 1 commodities trader, should not be viewed as “not primarily foreign”.
Perhaps geography is not the Prime Minister’s strong suit, but his remarks show he did not do the math either. This $6.1 billion deal will potentially see Glencore sell $1.8 billion of Viterra’s assets to Agrium and Canada’s Richardson International gets $.8 billion of Viterra’s elevators and other assets. These sales may or may not happen after Glencore owns Viterra. In any case if all the sales go through, 58% of Viterra will be in the hands of a Swiss company. So if we take Harper at his word, it looks like Canada is just a province of Switzerland in mind. Decisions affecting Canadian farmers will now be made in a boardroom in Switzerland! Hooray for Market Freedom!
When one looks at Agrium, it may have a head office in Canada but by any standard it is a multinational company. The purely Canadian interest from the Viterra sale will be approximately 13%. Hooray for Market Freedom!
It is ironic that the farmers of the prairies built the prairie pools and united grain growers to combat the predatory grain and commodity traders and now they have been purchased by the very companies they were intended to counter. All in the name of Market Freedom!
It is no coincidence that the demise of the CWB’s single desk has unleashed this buying spree from transnationals who want to come into Canada and make their money off the backs of farmers. The CWB provided fair market access for all producers and levelled the playing field. The transnationals are acting on the fact that will not be the case now and they have a new opportunity to take money from farmers.
Of course the Prime Minister will support the sale as he was the major force behind the legislation which removed the farmers’ elected directors from the CWB, seized farmers’ assets, and ensured the single desk was removed. He wanted farmers to go toe to toe with the multinational grain trade while proclaiming at the top of his lungs market freedom was here. The collateral damage was that the Canadian grain trade would be for sale in Canada.
With the consolidation in the grain and fertilizer industry increasing and with more sales to come I hope farmers remember who gave them the freedom to compete against other Canadian farmers in driving their own prices down so they could have the freedom to deal with two or three multinational commodity traders!