While our NDP government in Manitoba continues to impede the removal of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly, Manitoba-based business interests are stepping into the field and building up competitive companies and head office jobs in Winnipeg. This week, Richardson International took the step to become a leading grain handling business in Canada and the leading independent oat processing company in North America.
As a farmer, I welcome this transaction because for the most part, it increase the competition for my trade. The addition of Glencore into the western Canadian grain trade is welcome. While the transaction presents some questions on the farm inputs side of the business, open trade with suppliers in the USA may fix that problem.
There is a concept in the free enterprise system that creative destruction produces results over the medium and long term. For the very talented marketing people who worked in the wheat board, I have a feeling they are about so see their pay increased as their unique marketing skills become in high demand among competing companies.
Once this process has moved forward, I hope that we can look back on other monopolies in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and ask if they might be able to become world class operations and much larger under a different form of governance and ownership. Would MPI or SGI be able to grow instead of being limited to local markets? What about Manitoba Hydro or Sask Power? Would they too become much larger companies if they were not limited to their provincial mandate.
With foreign ownership restrictions dropped, is it time to chart a larger mandate for SaskTel in partnership with foreign investors?
We have very talented people working in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in all of these organizations. Why have we shackled them to the limited local market instead of allowing them to become world class players?
We need to remember that Potash Corp in Sask and Cameco also used to be small, provincial crown corporations. Today, as private companies, both are world leading competitors in their respective businesses. Let’s repeat that model again and again.