These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

CWB Government Controlled

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, western farmers are not in charge of the Canadian Wheat Board. Western farmers did not get a vote to establish a monopoly. Farmers did not vote on Bill C-4 in 1998. Farmers do not set the initial price. Farmers do not vote on all 15 directors. Farmers do not vote on the appointment of the president. Farmers do not vote on amending the Canadian Wheat Board Act, only politicians can.

How can the minister say that farmers are in charge when he makes all the decisions?

Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Wheat Board is comprised of 15 directors, two-thirds of whom are elected by western Canadian farmers.

The Canadian Wheat Board is not a crown corporation and, contrary to what the member said, the minister does not control the Canadian Wheat Board.

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is worse than that. The board of directors of the Canadian Wheat Board, with this minister's knowledge, has been stealing prairie farmers' money to pay wheat export permits for Ontario and Quebec farmers. This activity actually directly contradicts the minister's own legislation.

The board is breaking the law and working against the interests of prairie farmers. Will the minister continue to allow the board to operate outside the law or will he step in to recover the money stolen from prairie producers who now need protection from the Canadian Wheat Board?

Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member says that the farmers need the protection of the Canadian Wheat Board. What I do not understand is that the Alliance itself came forward with a motion calling for the end of the Canadian Wheat Board. This contradiction should be known by western Canadian farmers.

Western Canadian farmers have the tools to make the necessary changes to the Canadian Wheat Board Act. They have the vote. The government respects the democratic rights of western Canadian farmers.