These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

10% Levy on Grain Imports

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, when the Canadian Wheat Board minister is not jailing farmers he is failing farmers.

On Friday the U.S. imposed a 10% levy on all Canadian grain imports. The minister says that Canadian farmers will not be immediately impacted and “that the practical impact at the moment is very small. It is largely in the category of a hypothetical problem”.

A 10% loss of income and a potential one half billion dollar loss of markets is not a hypothetical problem to prairie producers, especially after last year. When will the government move to fix this looming disaster for Canadian farmers?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are very disappointed that further duties will be applied to Canadian wheat entering the United States. We are monitoring anti-dumping investigations very closely to ensure that Canada's international trade rights are being fully respected.

Marketing systems are policy decisions that are made domestically and will continue to be made in Canada. I find it particularly hypocritical that the United States subsidizes wheat at $108 per tonne, whereas we only subsidize it at $31 per tonne. That is the reality.

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, farmers are continually disappointed by the government. After years of denying western farmers marketing choice, and defending the system that is at the heart of the U.S. trade challenge, the Canadian Wheat Board minister changed his tune Friday when he said in the House:

...the government defends the rights of farmers to make their own marketing decisions...

There is a simple solution to this latest trade challenge. Will the minister and the government end the U.S. trade challenge by opening up the Canadian Wheat Board, allow westerners the right to make their own marketing decisions, and give western Canadian producers a chance to compete in a market that both wants and needs our grain?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I say and as my colleague has said time and again, these decisions are decisions that are made in Canada by Canadians, but what western farmers would appreciate at this moment is that the opposition join us in recognizing that the OECD study acknowledged that the Americans subsidize wheat at $108 per tonne and we subsidize it at only $31 per tonne. The opposition should join us in supporting Canadian farmers who are being punitively attacked by the quotas at this moment.