Regarding the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act
December 16, 2011

Our government believes that the recent court case does not represent the best interest of all grain farmers, both the farmers asking for change, and the farmers preferring to continue with the single desk.

The judgment does not call into question the validity of Bill C-18 or the ability of Parliament to pass this legislation. This declaration is not binding and even the CWB's lawyer said that all they can hope for is that the government will "reconsider".

We will not "reconsider" giving farmers the right to make their own marketing choices.

A fundamental feature of democracy provides Members of Parliament as elected representatives the supremacy to enact, amend or repeal any piece of
legislation.

Not only is our government convinced that we have the right to change legislation; we also believe we have a responsibility to deliver on our promises and give farmers in Western Canada the right to market their own grain.

As the Government has outlined, the monopoly held by Canadian Wheat Board on wheat and barley will be removed by August 1, 2012. Farmers should continue to plan on having a choice in their wheat and barley marketing in 2012.

Some people comment that this move is an ideological one. This point is mute. On behalf of farmers, organizations including the Western Canadian Wheat Growers, Grain Growers of Canada, and others have been calling on the federal government to change the open up the grain marketing system for decades.

Therefore, this move to open up grain marketing is not an ideological decision, but rather, one prompted by farmers. Our government is making this change for the financial betterment of grain farms across Western Canada.

We have been clear that we see a strong, voluntary CWB as an important marketing option for farmers going forward.

Regarding Section 47-1, we remain convinced that this section simply covers the commodities sold by the Board under the existing monopoly, not the existence of the single-desk monopoly itself. The Harper government remains focused on doing what is best for our economy, and that means creating a stronger agricultural sector.

To do that, the Harper government has made it very clear that marketing freedom has been a cornerstone of our platforms. We already know that marketing freedom and an open market will attract investments, encourage innovation, and create value-added jobs in the Prairies.

Western Canadian farmers deserve the freedom to choose the timing, the buyer and the price that suits their bottom line. We will give Western Canadian farmers the same rights as all other producers in Canada.

Our government will continue to work with those at the Wheat Board who are focused on the future and the best interests of Western Canadian farmers and the economy overall.

On November 28th, approximately 60 farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture industry from Western Canada came to Ottawa to watch the afternoon proceedings in the House of Commons. They came to watch the Act to End the Canadian Wheat Board pass Report stage in the House of Commons after 68 years of single-desk marketing. It was a time of celebration, a time where these 60 people wanted to witness the occasion.