Canadian Wheat Board (B)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the hon. member for Peace River. I have spoken privately to the hon. member about this very heated debate. Clearly, farmers are on both sides of the issue.

I am quite taken with the fact that a very conservative economic expert publication, The Economist magazine, has put forward that removing the Wheat Board, as the government proposes to do, would have a devastating impact “devastating small prairie towns, whose economies depend on individual farmers with disposable income”.

I know that there are sincere differences of opinion in the House, but I would appreciate the hon. member’s view of this particular expert opinion.

Mr. Chris Warkentin: Mr. Speaker, this is an important point. Small farmers in my constituency, especially small farmers who are young, innovative and want to create a unique product, in many cases an organic product, cannot do it under the Canadian Wheat Board. Currently, the Wheat Board takes that quality, unique niche product, that someone has spent a significant portion of time getting their land to organic quality producing an organic wheat, and takes that crop and pools it in with all the other farmers’ crops so that farmer has no opportunity to market a quality, unique niche crop.

I would urge the Green Party to consider changing its policy because the Green candidate in my constituency opposed the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly simply for this reason. There were candidates for the Green Party who were opposing the stated position of the Green Party and one was in my constituency because this is an assault on young farmers, including the young farmer who ran against me for the Green Party. If the member wants to support the Green candidate in my constituency, I urge the hon. member to stand in her place and support this legislation.