Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's good to be here tonight.
I should maybe lay this out again, because I'm not sure that the members who are here understand the importance of this, because they claim there are no studies backing up the advantages of single desk.
Last night we did hear that there are a number of studies that have been done, I think all of them pointing out the advantage. They include The Economics of Single Desk Selling of Western Canadian Grain, a 1996 study; A Bushel Half Full: Reforming the Canadian Wheat Board, by the C.D. Howe Institute in 2008; Pulling the Plug on Monopoly Power: Reform for the Canadian Wheat Board, also by the C.D. Howe Institute in 2011; Benefits and Costs of a Voluntary Wheat Board for the Province of Alberta, by the George Morris Centre in 2002; The Move to a Voluntary Canadian Wheat Board: What Should Be Expected?, by the George Morris Centre in 2011; and An Open Market for CWB Grain: A study to determine the implications of an open marketplace in western Canadian wheat, durum and barley for farmers, by Informa Economics in 2008. .
Actually, from the Informa study, I believe last night, we read into the record that there will between $400 million and $600 million advantage a year to farmers once this market is opened up.
I want to point out, Mr. Chair, that farmers spend their whole year working toward harvest. They spend their time planting. They spend their time contracting. They go out and seed and maintain their crop through the year. They bring it in just so that they can get that crop in the bin.
I noticed today that the PRO price of red spring 11.5 is $7.50. That's what Canadian farmers can expect on average in the year, if they deliver the grain. Last week in Montana the cash price was $11.50. So to say that we're getting some sort of an advantage from this single desk is misleading people.
The thing that really concerns me is how much money is being spent on this campaign, Mr. Chair. Today in one of the national newspapers that is hardly available in my riding, these gentlemen spent the equivalent of 8,500 bushels, at $7.50 a bushel, of somebody's grain, just by putting that ad in the paper.
I understand the over the time of their survey, when they were trying to get the answer they wanted to their survey, they put the equivalent of 40,000 bushels of farmers' grain down the drain in trying to get their own way.
My question to Mr. Oberg tonight would be, you've already admitting to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to get the answer you wanted on your phony survey. Could you tell me how much money you've committed to fight this bill? What's your budget?