Mr. Speaker, tonight's adjournment debate relates to a question I raised on October 23. The question related to the fact that respect for the law is a core fundamental Canadian principle, and the Prime Minister violated that principle when last July the government was found guilty by the Federal Court of attempting to illegally take farmers' marketing rights through the Canadian Wheat Board away.
I referred in my question to the contemptuous response of the Prime Minister to the ruling of the Federal Court of Canada, which found in its ruling that the government had attempted to illegally undermine the Canadian Wheat Board through the use of regulations. Instead of the Prime Minister stating that the Government of Canada would abide by the decision, he stated, “We should make it clear that does not change the determination of the Government of Canada to see a dual market for Canadian farmers”. This veiled threat, coupled with the statement that change will occur “one way or another”, demonstrates absolute contempt for the courts.
We have a Prime Minister who talks about law and order, but only laws that suit his personal purposes. The bottom line is that the Prime Minister has shown contempt for the courts and he has shown contempt for the decisions of Parliament, which, by motions in this House, requested the government to ask an honest question, but, of course, the government overrode Parliament and asked a fraudulent question.
On October 16 in the Speech from the Throne the government went further and stated that it “will recognize the views of farmers, as expressed in the recent plebiscite on barley, by enacting marketing choice”.
There are two facts. Fact number one is that the plebiscite was fraudulent with three questions asked and then the government added two together to promote its discredited position. In fact, the government only managed 13.8% support to destroy the board. Fact number two is if the government attempts to amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act, it will have to conduct a binding, legitimate and honest plebiscite. The act is reasonably specific and the minister has failed to meet those obligations.
As well, the former Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food acknowledged on not one but two occasions last year that the plebiscite that he had devised was “not binding or legally binding on the government”. Worse yet, the Government of Canada failed to do any analysis in terms of the economic impact that its decision would have on farmers themselves.
Before the Federal Court, the director general of marketing policy for Agriculture Canada when questioned if any economic analysis had been done, said no. Asked by the lawyers if anybody was retained to analyze the recent past, he said no.
The government failed to do an analysis and put forward a fraudulent question. Will the government admit that it failed to do due diligence in this case in terms of the financial returns of farmers? Will the government commit to a proper plebiscite if it attempts to introduce legislation to further undermine the board?