Mr. Speaker, I have given notice seeking an emergency debate on an urgent matter relating to the Canadian Wheat Board.
The Minister of Agriculture has taken measures in his attempt to undermine the Canadian Wheat Board and the consequences of his actions are serious. He has set out on a course of action which has not been sanctioned by western grain farmers as is their democratic right under the Canadian Wheat Board Act, an act of Parliament the minister has a responsibility for respecting.
The minister has engaged in a secretive process, beginning with a by invitation only closed door meeting in July at which the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba were excluded due to their support for the Canadian Wheat Board.
In September the minister convened a task force whose objective was to undermine the board and take away single desk selling. That task force has been holding discussions with undisclosed parties at undisclosed locations. The task force is stacked with people who are strongly opposed to the Wheat Board and some representatives from the grain trade.
Also in September it came to light that a communications firm in Regina, in response apparently to contacts from government, MPs and others, was asked to assist in developing a propaganda campaign against the Wheat Board. On the list of recipients of that email was a member of the minister's task force which calls into question the integrity of that process.
Last week the government, in an effort to further intimidate the Wheat Board, issued an unprecedented order in council instructing the Wheat Board and those affiliated with it not to engage in any activity advocating for the Wheat Board.
Finally, the minister has refused to state at any time that it is his intention to respect the Canadian Wheat Board Act and allow producers the right to the vote they are entitled to. In fact, he did not answer that question today during question period. The government has demonstrated a willingness to advance to the very line of legality in its ideological effort to destroy the Wheat Board.
Any of these measures in themselves demand immediate repudiation, but given the haste with which the government is moving, I believe the matter constitutes the need for an emergency debate.