Madam Speaker, I will see if I can just stick with the facts. I know it upsets the Reform Party but we are just going to stick with the facts.
The sixth recommendation of the grain panel was to allow for pool accounts to be terminated and paid out at any time following closure of the pool. That is in Bill C-4. It is just another fact.
The seventh recommendation of the panel was to allow for the assignment of negotiable producer certificates. That is in Bill C-4 which is just another little fact for the Reform Party members. I know they have trouble listening.
The eighth recommendation of the panel was to clarify the board's authority to utilize risk management tools including futures and options in dealing with the farmers and customers. That is in Bill C-4. That is just another little fact for members of the Reform Party. I know it is difficult for them to absorb.
The recommendations that deal with the powers of the Canadian Wheat Board that came from the Western Grain Marketing Panel are all contained in Bill C-4.
Turning to the governance issue, the panel recommended that the board should be governed by a board of directors of not less than 11 and not more than 15 elected and appointed members. The panel went on to recommend that the board should be composed of a majority of farmers, a minimum of three representatives from the trade and a minimum of two representatives from the federal government.
Bill C-4 follows that pretty closely I would say. There would be 15 directors with a two-thirds majority elected by farmers. There is no requirement in Bill C-4 that the trade be represented on the board of directors as there are a number of groups who are concerned with having individuals with financial interests in the grain trade on the board. But the government would appoint five directors and they could well come from the industry, the financial sector, academia or other backgrounds.
Another recommendation of the panel on governance was that there should be a modern corporate structure under which a chief executive officer would be hired and would be responsible for the overall operations of the board reporting to the board through its chairperson. This recommendation has been largely fulfilled in Bill C-4. There would be a chief executive officer responsible for overall operations and there would be a chairperson of the board. The one difference is that the chief executive officer would be a member of the board of directors itself.
Another recommendation from the panel was to ensure a rapid and smooth transition to the new governance structure. The panel recommended that the first members of the board of directors should be appointed.
This recommendation was followed in C-72. However when the bill did not pass, it was decided that in order to live up to the commitment to have a board of directors with elected members in place by the end of this year, Bill C-4 could dispense with that interim board of fully appointed members. The change in C-4 has been well received.
Another recommendation was that the Canadian Wheat Board Advisory Committee should continue to function until all farmer members of the board are elected. In Bill C-4 the Canadian Wheat Board Advisory Committee would continue until their terms are up, which is expected to be at the same time the new board members would be ready to take office.
Finally there was a recommendation that a mechanism should be established which makes it possible for the Canadian Wheat Board to begin development of a capital base. Bill C-4 goes part way in that direction in that there is a provision for a contingency fund but it is limited to three uses. It could not be used to make investments in facilities but the contingency fund partly goes in the direction of this recommendation.
If we look objectively at the 13 recommendations that were made by the panel with respect to the Canadian Wheat Board, Bill C-4 in many cases follows them exactly and in the other cases follows them quite closely. Those are absolutely the facts. I dare any member of the Reform Party to try to refute those facts.
Where Bill C-4 does not follow the recommendations of the panel is with respect to the recommendations it made on feed barley being placed under an open market system not precluding the Canadian Wheat Board while malt barley would be marketed solely through the Canadian Wheat Board. Another recommendation that was not followed was that unregistered varieties of wheat should be exempt from the jurisdiction of the wheat board.
Those recommendations were not followed up in C-4. The government did not believe that those recommendations were workable. In fact the panel itself had some doubts about the workability of the recommendation on barley. Instead what is in Bill C-4 is the mechanism for farmers to decide themselves, through whom they elect to the board of directors or in some cases through a vote of farmers, to what extent wheat and barley could be covered under the Canadian Wheat Board or in an open market system with or without the participation of the Canadian Wheat Board.
As well there is a provision in the bill that provides a process for farmers to add oats, canola, flax and rye to the jurisdiction of the wheat board with or without the export control provisions.
Let me summarize. With respect to the organization and operational tools of the Canadian Wheat Board, Bill C-4 follows very closely the recommendations of the Western Grain Marketing Panel. With respect to the panel's recommendations on jurisdiction for wheat and barley marketing, the bill puts in place a full democratic process for farmers to make those decisions themselves, and I underline themselves.
As members can see, contrary to what the official opposition has claimed, we have in fact followed the recommendations of the Western Grain Marketing Panel very closely.
Madam Speaker, how much time do I have left?