Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, at the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, the president and CEO of the Wheat Board and the chair of the Wheat Board made some interesting statements to which I believe the House would like to have a response.
The first statement was made by the CEO, Mr. Adrian Measner. He states:
The government's actions are also going to cost farmers money. You cannot make wholesale changes to the board of directors of a corporation with $4 to $5 billion worth of sales, gut its management team and restructure the grain-handling system without causing major upheavals and concern throughout the grain trade and most notably among buyers. I want to echo Ken [Ritter]'s comments about process and how it is most unfortunate that the government has chosen this precise moment—when some prosperity is finally returning to the grain sector—to create this degree of chaos and uncertainty both domestically and in the international marketplace.
Mr. Ken Ritter, the chair, said:
Western Canadian grain producers have just been through what could easily be called a “perfect storm”: a cycle of low commodity prices, severely curtailed crops and high input prices. We are just rounding the corner. The 2006 crop, for the most part, was favourable both in terms of quality and quantity and prices have rebounded.
As a grain producer myself, I can say clearly and unequivocally: now is not the time to foist major changes on our industry. We need to catch our breath, we need to recover from the crisis we've just been through, we need to make sure that in growing and improving our industry, we do not take a step back into the abyss.
I would ask--