Thank you, Bob. It's nice to see you again in your capacity with the FNA.
Let me state at the beginning—and I'm sure you probably agree—that this whole process is a travesty. It's a sham. It's a farce to think that a standing committee can deal with such a comprehensive, sweeping piece of legislation in two short evening meetings. Here is something you may not know. Even the clause-by-clause analysis of this bill has been limited to one evening session. No party is allowed to speak for more than five minutes on any clause, even if there are ten amendments on that cause. It's limited to five minutes per party, per clause. And if we're not finished by midnight, we'll be deemed to be finished and this bill will be over.
We're dealing with a done deal, so I can accept.... Even though I know you're a friend of the Canadian Wheat Board traditionally, and have been for probably your entire professional life, I understand why you're coming here with a presentation with ideas for how farmers might cope with the predictable consequences of this piece of legislation.
We're being asked to buy a pig in a poke here, Bob. We're being asked on the whim of the minister to accept this notion that the government says everything will be better for farmers if we get rid of the Wheat Board. They've never presented a single piece of documentary evidence or a single business plan. There has been no cost-benefit analysis, no studies, nothing to prove their case.
Yet their whole focus has been that they want to fast-track this to provide certainty, stability, and predictability in the marketplace. Wouldn't you agree that the best way to ensure stability, predictability, and certainly in the marketplace, in uncertain economic times internationally, would be to do nothing at all? Don't pull the rug out from under the Canadian Wheat Board. At least don't do it now, not this year, when we're just trying to recover from the global international crisis and possibly going into round two of a global international crisis. Why pull the rug out from underneath the rural prairie farm economy like this?
My question to you would be, as a veteran of this industry for many years, why now? Why the hurry? Can you see any rhyme or reason in this, other than the whim and the notion of an obsessed minister and his equally obsessed parliamentary secretary?