These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Initial Grain Prices

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this year's initial prices for wheat, durum and barley have been set by cabinet and are well below last year's. In fact, they are well below the prices that were recommended by the Canadian Wheat Board directors.

Farmers are already suffering from the mad cow fallout, including an inadequate and inequitable recovery program. Why does the government add insult to injury by offering initial prices on board grains that are well below farmers' production costs?

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 initial payment at August 1 of every year is set in relation to the level of world prices at the time. As the crop year unfolds and as the marketing season progresses, if the market conditions improve then it is possible for the Canadian Wheat Board to recommend increases, which the government ultimately responds to.

Recommendations have been made by the Canadian Wheat Board and they will be given very careful attention, bearing in mind the needs of farmers and the fiscal responsibility of the government.