These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Pooling Accounts

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, each year the federal government guarantees the initial price of grain sold by western Canadian farmers. Each grade and pool of grain has a separate account. The Canadian Wheat Board is then supposed to market that grain at a higher price. This did not happen last year. In 2002-03 we had a complete marketing disaster. Canadian taxpayers are left on the hook for any shortfalls.

My question for the minister is, how many of the pool accounts are in deficit and what is the total amount of that deficit?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, obviously the accounting work for the last crop year is not yet completed. When that accounting work is completed, all of the information will be made public in the normal manner.

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it does not add up. We are three months past the end of the crop year and farmers still do not know what their final 2002-03 prices are.

Farmers are actually beginning to suspect that this year's crop and this year's money is being used to finance last year's deficit and last year's marketing failure.

I am going to ask the minister this, has the Canadian Wheat Board been illegally using this year's grain sales to bring last year's pool accounts out of the hole?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman clearly does not know the rules that apply to the Canadian Wheat Board, the accounting practices of the Wheat Board, the manner in which one crop year is brought to an end, and how the marketing of a new crop year is undertaken. All of that is clearly within the rules that are established under the Canadian Wheat Board Act and the regulations.

In terms of the day-to-day administration, that is the responsibility of the duly elected directors of the Canadian Wheat Board.