These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Naber Seed & Grain

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, in June of last year, Naber Seed & Grain went bankrupt. The federal government's system for bonding licensed grain dealers was supposed to protect farmers but clearly failed. More than 100 farmers were owed money and will now receive only 52˘ on the dollar.

The government is so quick to regulate but so slow to take responsibility. Does the Minister of Agriculture accept responsibility for this fiasco? What is he doing to remedy the situation?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, one of the jobs of the Canadian Grain Commission is to see that handlers and buyers of seed and grain in western Canada are bonded. It does that on a frequent basis to try to ensure that there is sufficient bonding in order to cover the liabilities it would have, but I have to say that it does not do it every month because of the costs of doing that and the administration there. It was anticipated that it would have sufficient coverage, but it is working with the farmers and with the company in order to do the best that it can.

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the facts surrounding the case are clear. If the government had monitored its own financial guidelines, these prairie producers would have been paid in full for their grain. Instead, the licensing system, which is supposed to protect farmers, failed.

Even though the shortcomings of this system were well known long before the Naber Seed bankruptcy, the government did nothing to fix the situation. Will the Minister of Agriculture admit that his failure to act early left farmers on the hook and out of money?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I repeat that in the view of the Canadian Grain Commission, in conjunction with the monitoring of the actions and the economic activity of the Naber Seed & Grain Company, it was viewed to have sufficient bonding. However, there was a situation that occurred such that the assets of the company, for a short period of time, did exceed its bonding, and unfortunately it was not all covered.