These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Farmers Cannot Sell Wheat

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills - Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I am a prairie grain farmer. I can grow wheat, but I cannot sell it. Federal law makes it illegal for any prairie farmer to market wheat without a licence from the Canadian Wheat Board.

I would like to market my own wheat. I can market canola. I can market oats. I can market lentils, canary seed, flax and rye, but not wheat.

I have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in land and machinery. Each year I purchase thousands of dollars worth of fuel and fertilizer to see my wheat seeded, harvested and stored in my grain bins, but once it is there I cannot sell it.

I can log on to the Internet and buy or sell items of any kind. I can trade my vehicle, buy a horse, get a loan, or purchase land, but I cannot sell my wheat.

I can travel around the world in a leaky air balloon, risk my life in extreme sports, gamble away my assets in a casino, engage in high risk business deals or try my luck on the stock market, but I cannot sell my wheat.

I am free to choose which political party I will belong to and which religion I will adhere to. I can quit working, quit taking my medication or even quit eating, but I am not allowed to sell my wheat.

Mr. Rick Casson (Lethbridge, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, a travesty of justice is taking place, not in some third world country, not in a communist dictatorship, not under some oppressive regime, but right here in Canada.

A group of farmers, the very same people who grow the food we eat, have been sentenced to go to jail for selling the wheat they grow on their own land. This unjust situation exists only in western Canada and could not happen in Quebec, Ontario or the Maritimes.

This is due to the monopoly of the western Canadian Wheat Board, supported by the Liberal government, the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Public Works. The claims the government makes to have the best interests of farmers at heart ring hollow as 14 farm families prepare to face the reality of their breadwinners being incarcerated. These farmers should not be going to jail for doing what farmers in the rest of Canada can do legally.

I call on the government to end this insanity, to end this extremely tragic situation, and to bring an end to the monopoly of the western Canadian Wheat Board. After all, are not all Canadians equal?