These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Illegal Licensing Costs

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board has been notified of illegal activities at the Canadian Wheat Board in regard to licensing costs.

Legislation clearly prohibits the Canadian Wheat Board from paying all export licensing costs out of the wheat sales of western Canadian farmers, yet the board has done it anyway.

How long has the minister known that this is happening and why has he not corrected the problem?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman alleges that I have been informed of something. Quite frankly, I have not been informed of it. If there are facts to be discovered here I will find them out and I will take the appropriate action, but he should make no allegation that I have not acted upon information that has been known to me, because it has not been.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the minister should read his mail.

The Canadian Wheat Board Act states that the minister "may...direct the Corporation with respect to the manner in which any of its operations... shall be conducted...", so clearly the minister has a responsibility for licensing.

In addition to this, the buyback that farmers are forced to go through does not have a legislative requirement. This has become like an extra fee for Prairie farmers only. Ontario and Quebec do not have to buy back their grain in order to export or process it. Why will the minister not correct this problem as well?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is a matter that falls within the purview of the management of the Canadian Wheat Board. That management is responsible to the directors of the Canadian Wheat Board and the directors are two-thirds elected directly by western Canadian farmers. As long as I have been minister, I have never given the Canadian Wheat Board a direction. I believe its authority should rest with farmers.