These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Jailed Farmers

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills - Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I know farmers who have shown the courage of their convictions. I know farmers who will sacrifice their freedom for the principle of fairness. I know farmers and their families who are paying an incredible price for defending their principles. One week from today the government will be jailing these same people. They too get no compassion from this government. They are here, in Ottawa, today.

I ask this for them and their families. Why are they being locked up for doing what is perfectly legal in the rest of Canada; selling their own wheat?

Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the minister is well aware of legal difficulties that the member describes and we regret that legal circumstances affect producers who oppose marketing laws and regulations.

Let me assure the House, we understand that court proceedings are not very pleasant, but the Minister of Public Works and Government Services has not and will not interfere in court proceedings.

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Wheat Board minister keeps dodging his responsibilities. He is the one who charged farmers under the Canadian Wheat Board Act. He is the one who lost the first court case. He is the one who changed the customs regulations to make these men criminals. He is the one who ignored the Alberta plebiscite.

He is personally responsible for the situation in which these farmers find themselves. When will he and the government quit persecuting prairie farmers and give them the same rights as producers in the rest of Canada?

Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member will well know that two-thirds of the board of directors of the Canadian Wheat Board are elected by western farmers and they are responsible for the policy and strategic direction of the Canadian Wheat Board.

In this regard though, it is totally inappropriate for the minister to interfere in any due process of law.