Madam Speaker, it is very interesting on this day, which is a sad day, as I mentioned earlier, for western Canada and especially sad for the wheat board itself, that this instrument, this act and this potential that we have to meet the demands of the new western Canada simply is not being addressed. The same old monopoly, the same old act which makes the people of western Canada hewers of wood and drawers of water is still there.
It is a very sad day for the wheat board. There are no fundamental changes. This bill will be passed in its present form which will mean that the wheat board will self-destruct. There is no question about it.
When the wheat board initiated a survey to see how it was doing, it received the answer that it was doing very well. That was on February 5. A former agriculture and economics professor at the University of Manitoba said this: “There is no question that producers will pocket more cash under a dual market system”.
Why do we never listen to economists outside the wheat board?
This same chap went on to say: “There is one world price out there and I don't believe the board fetches a higher price, but I do believe there is a lot of efficiencies associated with the current arrangement”.
Every one of my Reform colleagues, in every speech we have made, has attempted to save the fundamental principles of the wheat board. Hon. members opposite are so devoted to destroying something they will not even listen to one amendment.
It is a sad day for our farmers. Many of our young farmers want to get into private enterprise so they can use the grain products presently under the control of the board. They will not be allowed to develop those businesses on the prairies under the current arrangement.
I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Yellowhead; however, I would like to make one further comment.
In my constituency we have three big projects going on. I want to mention the largest one. There is a group of farmers who grow the world's best durum. Naturally the best durum makes the best pasta. They are taking thousands upon thousands of dollars from their pockets to conduct a survey with respect to making available a closed co-op. These durum producers are doing that so they will be able to grow their own grain and deliver it to their own plant. But, no, the long arm of the Ottawa wheat board thinks that is a business which should be here in eastern Canada and it will not allow them to do that.
I hope that the people of my constituency will see how this vote goes tonight. If the bill is passed and the wheat board maintains its current legal monopoly, it will have to stand very soon and tell those people “No, you cannot proceed with that because you do not own your grain”. It is an absolute farce. It is a terrible thing to do.
I want these members to tell me and the people of the Souris—Moose Mountain constituency that my farmers cannot go into business for themselves growing their own grain. Let them answer that question. Let them tell the people why, when they want to mill organic grain, the wheat board reaches over and says “No. You can do it. But we want this”. We cannot even have a small mill in Saskatchewan to send the organically grown grain to to be made into flour without the heavy hand of the wheat board.
This is 1998. It is time hon. members opposite said “Let's free the west. Let's let them do what they are doing in eastern Canada. Let them develop their own industries there with the products they grow”.
Shame on this government if it prevents one of the potential industries from being developed in my constituency. If the government does that it will hear from more than just my constituents' representative in this House.
It is a crying shame. It is totally out of date. We should defeat this bill, take it back to the drawing board and make it relevant to 1998.