Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have such a knowledgeable audience in the House this evening. I will attempt to meet their expectations and then some.
Let me comment first on the material I was able to obtain on the Canadian Wheat Board. There are three basic pillars of the wheat board marketing system: single desk selling, there is a power in marketing in this particular approach which I have not heard discussed in comparison to a dual marketing process; price pooling; and a farmer-government relationship which, as the previous speaker mentioned, has served since back in the teens but became much more supported by western farmers from the 1930s on.
Also we need to mention the fact that there is a feeling by members opposite that the committee that has been put in place is lacking in credibility, is lacking in honesty in terms of how it has conducted its hearings and its processes. I wish to comment on that point.
The hon. member for Lisgar-Marquette mentioned that he took exception to the fact that there were closed sessions and that this therefore jeopardized the entire process. I do not feel that way whatsoever. One of the strengths of the wheat board has been that it will be coming forward with a report. The report will include information from those sessions which some of the presenters wished to present in private.
I will focus to some extent on the committee itself and will discuss very quickly, briefly and succinctly the fact that this panel is blue chip. It comes to the problem of marketing with impressive credentials. I support this assembly of people.
The panel is comprised of a chairman and eight individuals who represent virtually every perspective on grain marketing from one end of the spectrum to the other. Two of the panellists were drawn from the ranks of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association. I know members opposite and some on our side have read some of the articles which have been put forward from associations which they represent. Four of the panellists are active farmers and one works in the milling industry. Three are from Saskatchewan, three from Alberta, two from Manitoba and one from Quebec.
The minister took great care in appointing this panel to ensure that the members represented a broad cross-section of backgrounds. If I may, I would like to review their qualifications for the House. I am sure members will agree they are well qualified for the job.
The chief panellist, Mr. Thomas Malloy of Saskatoon, distinguished himself prior to this appointment as chief negotiator for the Government of Canada in land claim negotiations with the Inuit of northern Quebec and for the First Nations of British Columbia. He was also legal counsel for western Canada to the Royal Commission on the Marketing of Beef in Canada.
Mr. Bill Duke is a former president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association. He farms 2,000 acres near Redvers, Saskatchewan, just across the line from where I live, an area which is well represented by the member for Souris-Moose Mountain. He has served on the Sectoral Advisory Group on International Trade and has participated on the Producer Payment Panel and the 1990 Canadian Wheat Board review panel.
Mr. Jack Gorr of Three Hills, Alberta is vice-president of the WCWGA, a former member of the Alberta Grain Commission and a former member of the Alberta Wheat pool. He participated on the Gilson Task Force on Transportation some years ago.
Mr. James Leibfried of Winnipeg is a former commissioner of the Canadian Wheat Board and has extensive experience in the grains and oilseeds industry. He negotiated numerous long term agreements and sales contracts in his career.
Mr. Wally Madill of Calgary is a former CEO of the Alberta Wheat Pool. In addition to his distinguished career with the pool, he has served with numerous companies and associations in the agriculture and energy industries. He has served as chairperson for several agriculture committees, including the Senior Grain Transportation Committee and the Western Grain Elevator Association.
Mr. John Neufeld of Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec is director of Canadian operations for Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Milling Company and has extensive experience in the agri-processing industry, including flour milling, wheat starch manufacturing, canola crushing and brewing. He is vice-chairman of the Canadian National Millers Association and a member of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange.
Mr. John Pearson of Calgary is first vice-president of the Alberta Wheat Pool as well as vice-chairman of Prairie Pools Inc. and Western Co-operative Fertilizers. He is also a director of Prairie Sun Grains and Pool Insurance. He operates a 1,700 acre grain farm at Donalda, Alberta.
Mr. Avery Sahl of Mossbank, Saskatchewan has been active in the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and represents numerous organizations including the Grain Standards Committee, XCAN Grain and Prairie Pools. Mr. Sahl also served on the Canadian Wheat Board Advisory Committee for 15 years as its chairman.
Mr. Owen McAuley of McAuley, Manitoba, served on the executive of the Keystone Agricultural Producers and is a member of the Grains and Oilseeds Safety Net Committee which worked to
develop the gross revenue insurance plan and the net income stabilization account.
These nine panellists have handled the entire process and have done so with integrity. I sat in on one of their hearings in Brandon. I thought it was conducted in an open and honest fashion.
Since January the panel has conducted a number of hearings across the country. The hearings took place in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Regina. There were 80 submissions from a wide variety of farm groups. Submissions from these groups will show that there is a common consensus, a willingness to come forward with, hopefully, a unanimous report. If it is not, it will have some integrity on why there are some dissenting comments.
I hope that the report with its observations and conclusions will be based on the views of the producers. The grain companies and other stakeholders of course will have an important voice as well. We look forward to constructive suggestions on how to move forward.
The wheat board has served us well. As any man-made organization, it is not beyond or above approach. I am sensing that the minister will take the recommendations and put them in place as quickly as possible.