These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Wheat Sales Targeted

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the government's incompetence on the trade front has resulted in our largest trading partner, the United States, targeting the wheat sales of prairie farmers. The Americans are alleging that the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly results in subsidized exports and dumping. Thousands of wheat farmers on the Prairies do not even want the monopoly because it results in them receiving lower prices for their wheat along with lost marketing opportunities.

Why does the government not give prairie farmers freedom of marketing choice like it does in the rest of Canada?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the same export rules apply everywhere in Canada. The same export permits are required in every case. The authority over the Canadian Wheat Board is vested in the hands of farmers themselves through a producer-elected board.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the minister knows very well that in fact the Wheat Board is not run by farmers; it is run by government appointed people. The minister also knows that farmers in the rest of Canada do not have to go through a buyback.

I am asking the minister directly, should farmers in Ontario have to go through the buyback through the Canadian Wheat Board?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, farmers in all parts of Canada, whether in Ontario or the west, have the ultimate control over the situation through a democratically elected system.

Let me make one point. The government stands for farmers. Not like the opposition whose previous leader went to Washington, stood on the steps of the U.S. capitol, joined hands with Newt Gingrich, and sided with the United States.