Mr. Speaker, I am seeking, again, under provisions of Standing Order 52, leave for an emergency debate concerning the impact recent actions and decisions taken by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food have had on the functioning of the Canadian Wheat Board and its reputation abroad.
Mr. Speaker, I believe your previous ruling was, in part, due to the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food coming before you but that report really only deals with the specifics of a question for a plebiscite.
The need for the emergency debate is all the more important today because last night the results of the Canadian Wheat Board director elections were announced and 80%, four out five, of the pro-Wheat Board directors were in fact elected. Later this week, under directive from the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is intending to fire the CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board, a man with some 33 years experience in the grain industry. As was said during question period today, the man was really the chief salesperson for Canadian grain sales abroad. It throws into jeopardy our reputation in the international community and our credibility in grain markets. It is a very serious matter.
Let me conclude my request with a glaring statement made the other day by the CEO himself:
...I have been asked to pledge support for the government's policy of eliminating the single desk, barring which I will be removed from my job. It would seem to me that opposition to the single desk should be far better grounds for my dismissal than unwavering support for the laws of Canada.
Let me put it simply. The CEO has been asked by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, even though pro-Wheat Board directors were elected this weekend and eight out ten of those directors have full confidence in the CEO, to either break the law and keep his job or maintain the law and lose his job. That is no choice. I think this House needs to consider this issue and give direction to the government so that our reputation does not continue to be injured abroad.
The CEO markets some $6 billion worth of grain to some 70 countries around the world. It is a major known institution around the world and one that maintains great credibility for Canada and Canadians abroad.
On that basis, I am making the request for an emergency debate.