These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Organic Grain

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, a Canadian Wheat Board director recently admitted that organic grain producers could be exempted from the Canadian Wheat Board. The Wheat Board does not even market organic grains, but instead the Wheat Board makes a quick buck off organic grain producers because they are required to buy back their own grain from the board at inflated prices before they can even sell it to their buyers. This is an unnecessary restriction that applies only to western Canada.

When will the Liberal government correct this huge problem and give organic producers on the prairies the same choice as eastern farmers have?

Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of being out across the prairies during the last break talking to farmers. I can tell the member that the farmer owned Wheat Board--10 of the 15 directors are directly elected by farmers--have control of the management of the board. They are doing an exceptionally good job, and they will make the decision on this issue in consultation with their brethren.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it does not even sound like the minister knows what he is talking about either, because of the very issue I am talking about. In order to make the appearance that the Canadian Wheat Board is getting a good price for the farmers' wheat that it markets, it adds $10 per tonne to the price paid, but later it deducts an extra $10 in freight from the pool account.

In 2002-03 this amounted to about $86 million that was taken out of the wheat pool account and $57 million that was taken from the durum pool. This was done after the grain was taken from the board's possession.

Why were farmers made to pay an extra $10 to $15 for--

The Speaker: The hon. the President of the Treasury Board.

Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, thanks to the progressive actions by the current Minister of Finance, when he was minister responsible for the Wheat Board, management of the board has been given over entirely to farmers. Farmers are making these decisions on behalf of farmers. They are managing the board. They have just gone through quite a modernization of the management of the board.

Frankly, when I was talking to farmers across western Canada, they by and large were very pleased with the changes in the board. Why does he not trust farmers to manage their own business?