House of Commons

Canadian Wheat Board




SELECTED QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS IN THE HOUSE
(not  a complete list...)



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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 052

Monday, September 25, 2006

ORAL QUESTIONS

Canadian Wheat Board

 

Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Wheat Board is under attack. The minister has begun the systematic destruction of an internationally recognized Canadian success story. His parliamentary secretary has already told farmers it is their right to have a vote, but “the final decision will be made by the minister”. The legislation clearly states that changes to the structure of the Board must be approved by the farmers.

    Will the minister allow the 85,000 farmers, who use the Wheat Board, to vote on its future, or does he intend to break the law?


Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, this is an exciting time for prairie farmers who know they have a government on this side of the House that finally believes they should maximize their returns and maximize their choice.

    We are moving ahead, as promised during the election campaign. We are moving ahead with consultations with farmers. I appointed a task force last week that will give us some of the technical details on what a voluntary but strong Wheat Board will look like going forward. I look forward to the report in a month or so.

     We will continue to make changes to ensure that farmers get the most they can from their production.
 

Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP) 
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP has uncovered documents that prove this so-called support is nothing more than professional spin doctors from the disgraced Devine government posing as farmers.

    In this email, from Charlton Communications to three anti-Wheat Board lobby groups, it says that having farmers sign letters they write would “get us into the propaganda game”. The email was also copied to a current member of the minister's Wheat Board killing task force.

    Is the minister aware of this campaign? Is his department paying for it? What is he going to do to stop it?
 

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, I do not have the faintest idea what the hon. member is talking about. It is not the first time that I do not have the faintest idea what members of the NDP are talking about. However, in this case, I really do not know to which campaign the hon. member is referring.

    I do know that farmers from coast to coast, particularly on the prairies on this issue, have said that they want to receive more value from their farms and they want to have more choice.

    Maximizing the choice and maximizing return for farmers comes about in part by having a voluntary marketing choice Wheat Board, something that farmers can choose to use, but are not compelled to use.


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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 054

CONTENTS

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ORAL QUESTIONS

Agriculture

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.)
    On Monday, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food attempted to deny knowledge of a fake letter-writing propaganda campaign on behalf of government and government MPs for the purpose of undermining the Canadian Wheat Board.

    Will the minister come clean today and inform the House of which government MPs and officials and whether he or his parliamentary secretary were involved in this blatant and unscrupulous effort to manipulate public opinion and, in the process, violate the laws of Canada?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is good to see the member for Malpeque up on his hind legs talking about agriculture, sort of.

    As I told the member the other day, no one on this side of the House has a clue what they are talking about over there. No one over here has ever approached any company to write letters.

    Farmers are able to get their point across to governments and members of Parliament. I encourage them to do that. Farmers do not need a consultant to do that.

    On this side of the House we are listening. Farmers can be assured after 13 years of being ignored that this side of the House is paying attention to what they are saying.

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.)
    Mr. Speaker, grain producers will not be impressed by that answer.

    My question is for the acting prime minister. This minister, adding to yesterday's $20 million cut, is proposing to undermine the Wheat Board which will reduce collectively western grain incomes by $265 million a year. It is another attack on Canadian farmers.

    Worse is using fake letters, manipulating the media, stacked government task forces and circumventing the laws of Canada. Is this the Prime Minister's definition of ethics and democracy?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC) 
    Mr. Speaker, I am surprised the member could say that without wearing his tinfoil hat on a grassy knoll.

    What we do know is that this government has not cut $20 million. The government has added $1.5 billion to the agriculture department.

    The government continues to work with farmers to make sure the programming that was brought in by the Liberal government, such as an improperly brought in CAIS program, lack of a green cover crop program, lack of facilities for farmers from coast to coast in science and technology; after 13 years of neglect, finally this side of the House, this new government is getting the job done for farmers, notwithstanding the scare tactics of the member opposite.



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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 060

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Canadian Wheat Board


Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the government has clearly stated its intention to cut out the Wheat Board's legs from under it. It has appointed a minister who opposes the mandate of the Wheat Board and has done everything in his power to systematically destroy this Canadian institution, with sham round tables, closed door meetings and whisper campaigns.

    I have a simple question for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. Will he allow, as the law states, the 85,000 farmers who use the Wheat Board a vote on its future, yes or no?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, what we have done is taken steps to follow through on our campaign promise. Campaign promises are something the Liberals are not used to. We said we were moving to marketing choice. We said we would appoint a task force to give us some of the details on the marketing choice.

    However, I always find it a little passing strange when my critic from the NDP or my critic from the Liberals, who do not have to live under the Wheat Board, tell the rest of Canada how they have to market their products.

Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP)
    Mr. Speaker, that reminds us of the shameful softwood lumber agreement. I asked a very simple question. Does he intend to allow the 85,000 farmers who use the Wheat Board a democratic vote?

    There should be no more talk about choice. The only choice is whether the government will follow the law or break the law, extend the rights of farmers or deny them, support democracy or suffocate it. Which is it? Will farmers get a say, yes or no?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, so far we have appointed a task force. That task force is to report to me in about three or four weeks. It is going to give some of the details about what a corporate structure of a voluntary wheat board might look like.

    We are determined to have a strong, voluntary wheat board and a marketing choice. That is all we have done. There have been no other proposals on the table. There has been discussion. Right now there is nothing to even have a plebiscite about.

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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 064

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Canadian Wheat Board


Hon. Bill Graham (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. It is about farmers and their families. It is about democracy. It is about the rule of law.

    In 1998 Parliament voted to give control of the Wheat Board to farmers. They have a right to vote on changes to their board. The Prime Minister is ignoring the law and their rights by trying to destroy the Wheat Board without a proper, open and democratic vote among all producers.

    Will the Prime Minister reverse his anti-democratic actions and permit a fair vote among producers on the future of our Canadian Wheat Board?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, the premise of the hon. member's question is that we are or are going to do something and it is going to violate the law. Nothing could be further from the truth. What we in this party are going to do is defend the rights of western Canadian farmers, something which that party has never stood for in its entire history.

Hon. Bill Graham (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.)
    Mr. Speaker, as one Conservative member of the House learned today, the Prime Minister just cannot cope with anyone who disagrees with him, constructively or not, and that includes Canadian farmers.

    Will the Prime Minister stop the gag orders on anyone in the Wheat Board who disagrees with him? Will he stop trying to cook the voters list? Will he allow farmers who do not share his ideology to vote? Will the Prime Minister uphold the rule of law, uphold democracy, and put this issue to a fair vote among all producers and not just those who agree with him?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, years ago the Liberal Party took away from western Canadian farmers the right to market their own wheat. Then a leader of the Liberal Party came along, having monopolized that privilege, and said “Why should we sell your wheat for you?” We in this party are going to make sure that our farmers are never subject to that kind of arbitrary behaviour by a future Liberal government.

[Translation]

Hon. Bill Graham (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.):  
    That is all well and good, Mr. Speaker, but this government has shown that it does not care about farmers and their preferences.

    In the west, our farmers chose the Canadian Wheat Board. In Quebec and across the country, they chose the supply management system. The Prime Minister, however, chose to impose his ideology at the expense of our farmers' well-being.

    Why does the Prime Minister insist on attacking the choices of our farming communities?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, this government defends the decision of farmers who chose supply management. We defended this decision here and internationally.

[English]

    Western Canadian wheat farmers do not have supply management. They are looking for options. This government will always respect their choices and make sure the choices are available to our farmers.

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Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, earlier in the House the Prime Minister, as is his way, attempted to confuse Canadians on what the Canadian Wheat Board Act is about.

    The act empowers farmers as opposed to them being at the mercy of the grain trade. Farmers under that act have rights and one of those rights is, by vote, to determine their marketing institution's powers.

    Will the Prime Minister do the right thing, obey the law and give them a vote on single desk selling?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, the government will do what farmers have always wanted, which is to have a range of marketing choices, including the Wheat Board.

    We are never going to be afraid to consult western farmers. The last time we did it, like so many times when we have done it, they did not return a single Liberal MP, and they never will.


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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 066

Friday, October 20, 2006

Canadian Wheat Board 


Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the shift in the Canadian Wheat Board election process is becoming more confusing to the farmers, but that is not all. Legitimately nominated director candidates may no longer be eligible because those who nominated them are ineligible to vote. In other words, perfectly legitimate candidates could be unfairly disqualified.

    Will the minister give his word today that any candidate nominated since the election process began will be eligible for election, regardless of the minister having changed the rules halfway through the election process, yes or no?

Mr. David Anderson (Parliamentary Secretary (for the Canadian Wheat Board) to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, hysteria and hyperbole seem to be part of the NDP's way of dealing with this issue. In the House the other day the leader of the NDP brought up this issue in a way that I am sure he knew was not accurate.

    The minister has said that we will deliver balance to the producers who have delivered grain over the last two years. Any other person who has an interest in grain can file a statutory declaration and they then can vote in these elections and participate in them.


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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 067

Monday, October 23, 2006

Canadian Wheat Board 


Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.):  
    On October 17 the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said that he suggested to the Canadian Wheat Board that the board review the voters list and he claimed that the board agreed with him. There was no suggestion; the minister instructed and the board had no option but to comply. As a result 16,000 producers have been disenfranchised of their democratic right, most due to lost crop.

    Will the government stop at nothing to destroy the board? Will the minister come clean today, table his instructions and apologize for misleading the House?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC): previous intervention next intervention
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite has got me dead to rights. I did ask the Wheat Board to make sure that people who were actually voting in the director elections should actually be producers of grain products.

    I am sorry but it seems to me that when we have people who are voting on the future of the Wheat Board, on the directors list, they should be people who are actually producing. If the member thinks they should just be people out of the Winnipeg phone book, he should say so.

Canadian Wheat Board 


Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, last week in the other place, in response to a series of questions from a series of senators, the Leader of the Government in the Senate held open the possibility that there would indeed be a democratic plebiscite among farmers having to do with the future of the Canadian Wheat Board.

    I wonder if the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food could today formally confirm, and emphatically so, that if the Canadian Wheat Board is to be changed, farmers will have the democratic right to vote on it in advance.

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, we have put together a task force to frame what kind of a Wheat Board we could have and of a strong, independent, voluntary Wheat Board in a marketing choice world. That task force should report to me hopefully later this week or next week at the latest. When that task force comes back, we will look at the suggestions that it makes and take whatever steps are necessary following that task force report.




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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 069

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Canadian Wheat Board 


Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP):
    Mr. Speaker, when it comes to free speech, it turns out that the Prime Minister seems to have a double standard: free speech for people he agrees with and gag orders for people that he does not agree with.

    The best example is the Wheat Board. So far the government has changed the rules half way through on the election, imposed a gag order and arbitrarily struck thousands of farmers off the voters list.

    Will the Prime Minister stop bullying Canadian farmers and commit to the House that there will be a free and fair vote on the Canadian Wheat Board?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):  next intervention
    Mr. Speaker, in the upcoming Wheat Board elections, which I think is what the member is referring to, the recommendation I made to the Canadian Wheat Board was exactly consistent with what the Wheat Board's own election panel recommended one year ago in November. It said that actual producers should vote for the directors, not just someone who had a permit book.

    We continue to listen to Canadian farmers. They have the right to vote in this upcoming directors election, and we are giving them that right.

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP) 
     Mr. Speaker, the government is taking away the rights of farmers who leave their fields fallow, who run other crops, who hold their wheat for the next year to get a better price, who have bad rain, who have bad drought. That is what it is doing to the farmers across the country. Killing the Wheat Board will produce serious financial loss for everyday grain producers.

    Thank goodness, Gary Doer's government is standing up and is going to hold a referendum. Thank goodness the Government of Saskatchewan is going to take the federal government to court, if need be, to get it to do the right thing.

    My question is for the Prime Minister. Will there be a free and fair vote for farmers on the Wheat Board, yes or no?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, this party and this government will never be afraid of the voices of western farmers. That is why we represent virtually every rural seat in western Canada.

    I know the leader of the NDP and ourselves disagree on marketing choice for western Canadian farmers. However, I think what we hopefully do agree on is, whether people are for or against the Wheat Board or want the Wheat Board the same or changed, that they have a right to know what the Wheat Board is doing.

    We put the Wheat Board under access to information in the accountability act. The unelected Liberal Senate took it out. That is a disgrace. The Wheat Board should be subject to access to information.


Canadian Wheat Board 


Hon. Raymond Simard (Saint Boniface, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the minority Conservative government is showing blatant contempt toward farmers.

     Earlier this month the Prime Minister, whose disdain for the Canadian Wheat Board is legendary, slapped the Wheat Board with a gag order, preventing it from advocating for its single desk selling. When he was president of the National Citizens Coalition, the Prime Minister said, “gag laws are unconstitutional and unenforceable”.

    Is the Prime Minister not doing today what he found so distasteful not that long ago?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, of course there is no such thing. The directors of the Wheat Board are speaking out, as they should and as they are allowed to. Farmers across the country are talking to me and to others about what they think the future of the Wheat Board should look like.

     However, that is not the real question. The big question today is why the unelected Senate voted to remove the right of farmers to access information and to access the Canadian Wheat Board. I do not know which is worse, the fact that the Liberals do not think farmers should know what is going on or the fact that farmers lost their right to know by an unelected Senate.

Hon. Raymond Simard (Saint Boniface, Lib.)
    Mr. Speaker, I know it is hard to believe but the government is showing even more contempt for farmers. Western producers have been demanding a plebiscite. The Canadian Wheat Board clearly states that a vote should be held. Both Manitoba and Saskatchewan have indicated that they would hold a vote if the federal government fails to fulfill its responsibilities.

    When will the government do the democratic and lawful thing and put the question to a vote by farmers?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC): previous intervention 
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is presupposing that he knows what is in the task force report, which should be delivered shortly. When that task force report is tabled with me I will make it public. It will aid in the discussion and in the debate that is already taking place on the Prairies. However, again, that is not the issue.

    The issue is this. Why do the Liberals not want western Canadian farmers to know what is going on at the Wheat Board? Why did the unelected Senate take the right of farmers to know away? What is wrong? What are they afraid of?

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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 070

CONTENTS

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Canadian Wheat Board


Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said that the government had put the Wheat Board under access to information. Actually, the government was advised by its legal counsel not to include the Canadian Wheat Board because it was not a government agency and the government did not.

    Access to information was squeezed in by the NDP member for Winnipeg Centre during his convenient love affair with the Conservatives.

    Is it the intent of the government to include all grain companies, such as Cargill and Agricore, under access to information or does the Prime Minister just want to give multinationals an advantage over the farm owned farmers marketing institution?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the government is not involved in a financial way with Cargill. We do not force farmers to deal with Cargill if they do not want to.

    Since there is a monopoly situation on the Prairies and only western Canadian producers need to deal with the Canadian Wheat Board and since there is government money involved, farmers should have access to information and access to the Wheat Board so they can find out where their money is being spent.

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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 072

Monday, October 30, 2006

Canadian Wheat Board


Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture has indicated that his stacked task force has tabled a report with him on the Canadian Wheat Board.

    Will the minister at least confirm to the House that whatever recommendations are considered will not happen unless and until the farmers have a vote on a clear question as related to that report?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada's new government is committed to marketing choice for farmers and we are also committed to a strong voluntary Wheat Board, something that farmers want and something that this side of the House is very determined to make happen.

    I was very pleased that I could make the task force report public today. I am sure farmers and other industry experts, perhaps even the member for Malpeque, will find something interesting in there. I look forward to contributions as we examine that report.

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Statements by Members

Agriculture


Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP)
    Mr. Speaker, what is happening to our Canada? The future of our country is slowly being decided behind closed doors in secret meetings, with no public input and no reporting to the press.

    The security and prosperity partnership of North America was launched in 2005 to fast track the deep integration of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Secret meetings have been held as lately as September this year.

    The emerging pattern is disturbing. We have bowed to U.S. pressure to sign a bad softwood lumber deal. Our troops are now in a U.S. led search and kill mission in Afghanistan and the Conservative government is doing something the Americans have been trying to do for a long time: to dismantle our farmer run Canadian Wheat Board.

    The future of agriculture and our rural way of life is being dictated by big government without a vote by farmers. In essence, a very blatant attempt is being made to transform Canadian society. We must not let this happen.

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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 073

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Canadian Wheat Board 

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Conservatives finally revealed their agenda to hurt farm families and to kill jobs on the Prairies.

    The Wheat Board belongs to the farmers, yet the hand-picked panel of the Prime Minister came out with a recommendation that the CEO and the board should be dismissed without even a vote by the farmers who own the Wheat Board.

    Now we have Saskatchewan joining with Manitoba, and rightly, in calling for the voice of farmers to be heard through a fair vote on the question of the future of the Wheat Board. Even the Conservatives in Manitoba go along with this idea.

     Why will the government not stop force-feeding its ideology to farmers here in Canada and give the farmers a fair vote on the future of the Wheat Board?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, as the leader of the NDP is aware, the Conservative Party of Canada supports marketing choice for western Canadian farmers. That is one of the reasons why we won virtually every rural seat in western Canada in the last federal election campaign.

    As I have said repeatedly, this government never fears to consult with western farmers. We look forward to hearing their views.

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)
    Mr. Speaker, it is that kind of arrogance that is going to turn people off. We will see what happens in the next election.

    The Prime Minister says he wants to consult with farmers and then takes a third of them off the voters list of the Wheat Board.

     The fact is that it is going to kill jobs if the government kills the Wheat Board. It is not just going to hurt the farmers. It will take jobs away from communities. The mayor of Churchill pointed out that if he loses the port of Churchill, it is going to cost jobs. There will be all kinds of dependent jobs lost as well.

    Despite the cackling from the peanut gallery over there, whose members have no interest in listening to farmers, my question is this. They wanted in and I guess they wanted farmers in the unemployment line. Will we get a fair vote or not for farmers--

The Speaker: \
    The hon. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, of course the government has consistently campaigned on and promised a marketing choice for western Canadian grain farmers. We continue to ask for western Canadian grain farmers what all farmers in the rest of Canada have, which is an option to market their products as they see fit.

    We see a strong, viable Canadian Wheat Board. The task force report that I tabled yesterday charts a path forward. We welcome debate on that task force report. It does, for the first time, block out how that might happen. We of course look forward to farmers' input on that task force report. We are always interested in what they have to say.

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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 074

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Agriculture  


Mr. André Bellavance (Richmond—Arthabaska, BQ):  
    Mr. Speaker, the president of the Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec said he is very worried about the attitude of the government, which, along with the Europeans and the Americans, is questioning the very existence of the Canadian Wheat Board. He said he is dismayed that farmers are having their collective marketing tools taken away from them.

    Will the minister admit that this attack on the Canadian Wheat Board leaves the door wide open to another similar attack on supply management?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, what we are doing, of course, is moving ahead with our campaign promise to a allow marketing choice for western Canadian farmers who want to have a chance to market their own products in a marketing choice world. That was a campaign promise, as was our support for the supply management system. We supported it during the campaign; we supported it at Geneva and international conferences. It receives the full support of this government.

Mr. André Bellavance (Richmond—Arthabaska, BQ)
    Mr. Speaker, I invite the minister to read the latest editorial in La Terre de chez nous to get some idea of our concerns in Quebec.

    The Canadian Wheat Board and supply management are based on the same principle. They are both collective marketing strategies.

    I would like the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to explain to me how he can say he does not question supply management, while he does question the existence of the Canadian Wheat Board.

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC)
    Mr. Speaker, what we will be asking western Canadian farmers in this plebiscite is whether they want the same freedom of choice that Quebec farmers have to market their grain. It is no different. We are not going to ask them to do something we would not ask of or is not already available for farmers in Quebec. It will be a clear question on barley. We think farmers want to have that question put to them. There was certainly a demand by the opposition. We will have a plebiscite on that. I hope that farmers will decide to move forward on marketing choice on barley.

    We said during the election that we would give them choice. We said that we would move on behalf of them. We are moving on behalf of farm families in Canada.

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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 075

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Canadian Wheat Board 

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.):  next intervention
    Mr. Speaker, the minister's discredited task force has failed by every measure, except that it will give the corporate U.S. grain sector what it wants: more economic power at our farmers' expense. Look at the report. There is not a single reference to gains for farmers, absolutely none.

    How can the minister defend an action that has its strongest support in the U.S.? Popping champagne in U.S. boardrooms, heartbreak for Canadian farm families. Does the Prime Minister just not care about Canadian farmers?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):  next intervention
    Mr. Speaker, we campaigned during the last election campaign on behalf of farmers who wanted marketing choice. They wanted a strong, independent, voluntary Canadian Wheat Board in a marketing choice world.

    After we had this task force report, it delivered a very good report on how that transition might take place. Its first recommendation was to move on barley. We are going to have a plebiscite on barley in the new year.

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): previous intervention next intervention
    Mr. Speaker, the only farmers the minister is listening to live in North Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska. In giving the United States its way, the minister's undemocratic acts are getting worse. Now he is initiating a Stalinist purge, firing a pro-board director and inserting an anti-Wheat Board activist.

    How can he expect such a director to act in good faith with a view to the best interests of the corporation and farmers, or is he just attempting to destroy the board from the inside?

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC): previous intervention next intervention
    Mr. Speaker, I guess the real issue is, after days and days the member would not wait for the task force report, but it came and it delivered the goods. For days the member opposite said, “Please, please, give us a plebiscite for the farmers of western Canada”.

    We are not only going to represent the farmers from coast to coast, we are going to have a plebiscite which that member asked for. Why does he not get on board and listen to the farmers for a change?

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39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 075

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Canadian Wheat Board


Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, every time the minister makes a Wheat Board decision, he steps in what prairie folk politely call a cow pie.

    The minister has denied wheat farmers the right to vote on the board's future. He set up a sham task force with the sole goal of dismantling the single desk.

    Does the minister want to wipe some of that meadow muffin off his shoes and announce today that he will hold a fair vote on the future of the Wheat Board and that wheat farmers will also have a vote?


Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):

    Mr. Speaker, what we anticipate is a very strong voluntary Wheat Board in a marketing choice world. We are taking steps to ensure that happens. We will consult with farmers, as we have been doing all along.

    In fact, we will be having a plebiscite in the new year. We are going to be talking about barley at that time. We are going to have a very broad voter base and obviously, a very clear and fair question.

     I encourage all farmers to participate in that vote.

Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP):  

    Mr. Speaker, not only does the government want to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board, but the Conservatives have also abandoned Quebec's grain farmers. For years they have fought unassisted against American dumping.

    In the spring, the Canada Border Services Agency concluded that the losses caused by dumping warranted a penalty against corn imported from the United States.

    Why does the government not appeal to the WTO? Why has the government abandoned Quebec farmers?

Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, foreign producers did take this issue to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, using an argument that American producers were dumping corn improperly. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal did not support that point of view. There are rumours out there that corn producers may want to go this route again.

     More properly, what we are doing is designing programming that will help farmers directly. We are working on things like biofuels and biomass enterprises and investment to ensure that farmers have more options and better prices. Thankfully, the price of corn is coming up. It is at a 10-year high.

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39th Parliament 1st Session
Unofficial Version • NUMBER 90
Monday, December 4, 2006




Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP) :
Mr. Speaker, the President and CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board, Adrian Measner, has been fired by the Minister of Agriculture.

Mr. Measner was democratically chosen by the elected board of directors. He has performed in an excellent manner on behalf of this organization.

In an emergency teleconference Friday, the Wheat Board directors passed a motion calling on the minister to reconsider.

Will the minister agree today to listen to the CWB board of directors and reconsider this foolish decision?

*   *   *

Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC) :

Mr. Speaker, what we are doing of course is moving toward marketing choice in an orderly and transparent way.

I would again ask the Wheat Board, as I have done repeatedly, to concentrate on what their mandate is, which is to market grain on behalf of western Canadian farmers.

We are going to have a plebiscite in the new year. Every time they get away from their core role and their core duty, which is to market grain on behalf of farmers, they are losing the support of farmers.

They should get at the job at hand. There is lots of wheat to sell. Let us get at it and leave the other issues for politicians.

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Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP) :
The fact is, Mr. Speaker, this Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has demonstrated a blatant contempt: July, the minister's hand-picked Wheat Board opponents to plot strategy; September, a sham task force is charged with dismantling single desk; October, outright interference with the director elections; now in December, loyalty to single desk is a firing offence.

This is getting out of hand. He must reinstate the president and CEO. He must stop acting like a dictator. When will the minister learn the Wheat Board works just fine without him and reverse all the negative decisions made to date?

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Hon. Chuck Strahl (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC) :
Mr. Speaker, what we have done is campaigned in the last federal election on marketing choice for farmers. We are moving toward that in a transparent and open way. We have a planned staged transition so we can move toward marketing choice.

The first step of that will take place in a barley plebiscite in January and February. I urge all farmers who are actual producers to get involved in that plebiscite. I look forward to having their input. We are consistently moving in a way that we campaigned on and we look forward again to working with western Canadian farmers.






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