POLITICS

Wheat board vote results coming Monday

09/09/2011 06:51 EDT | Updated 11/09/2011 05:12 EST

Results of a non-binding vote on the future of the Canadian Wheat Board will be announced Monday, officials counting ballots say.

The plebiscite was organized by the CWB which says farmers should have a say on whether the board's export monopoly for wheat produced in Western Canada should continue. Results were expected Friday but the accounting firm counting ballots said the process would not be finished until Sept. 12.

The federal government has announced that it plans to have the board's monopoly end in 2012.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Friday that the results of the CWB vote will not affect his plans, adding he believes many farmers want the export monopoly to end.

"I'd be happy to share with you press releases from the major farm groups affiliated in Western Canada that all call this plebiscite irrelevant," Ritz said. "I certainly take that to heart. At the end of the day I can assure you that we will give marketing freedom to western Canadian farmers."

The board has said western farmers benefit from a single desk system for marketing.

The CWB plebiscite was held via a mail-in ballot provided to about 68,000 western farmers.

The Canadian government created the board in 1935 when plummeting grain prices threatened to destroy wheat farmers during the Great Depression. It gained monopoly powers in the early 1940s.