Our Conservative government’s top priority is completing Canada’s economic recovery from the global recession. We have received a strong mandate to give Western Canadian grain producers the freedom to market their own wheat and barley on the open market. This has been one of our major election campaign promises for many years. Western grain farmers should be able to participate voluntarily in the Canadian Wheat Board.
As you will know, Bill C-18 Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act has passed Third Reading in the House of Commons and will now proceed to the Senate. We know that Canadian grain farmers have what it takes to succeed in an open market, as demonstrated by the staggering growth in recent years of the canola and pulses industries. Marketing freedom will unleash the true economic potential and entrepreneurial energy of the western Canadian grain sector. Bill C-18 will attract investment, encourage innovation, create value-added jobs, and build a stronger economy.
Once passed, this bill will allow prairie farmers to seek their own contracts for their grains through an open market beginning in the 2011-12 crop year. The Canadian Wheat Board will remain as a voluntary pooling option for those farmers who wish to pool their grains.
Every farmer must have the ability to choose how to market their grain, whether it’s individually or through a voluntary pooling entity. All Canadian farmers deserve the freedom to make their own business decisions. Bill C-18 will give farmers new opportunities, especially in the development and promotion of new varieties of niche grain markets which have been extremely limited by the Board in the past.
Our government is committed to enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency and reliability of the entire rail freight supply chain. Our government is building on recent commercial initiatives to improve relationships across the supply chain. We will appoint a facilitator to bring shippers, railways and other stakeholders together to develop a template service agreement and a commercial dispute resolution process.
The CWB monopoly has no bearing on access to producer cars and our Government will continue to protect producers’ access to them. Producer cars are allocated by the Canadian Grain Commission and the usage of producer cars is protected by the Canada Grains Act, not the Canadian Wheat Board
Our Conservative government is providing Western farmers with the same freedom and opportunity that farmers in the rest of Canada already enjoy. That is what Bill C-18 has accomplished. This bill will allow prairie farmers to seek their own contracts for their own grains through an open market beginning in the 2011-12 crop year – or continue to sell through the Canadian Wheat Board. I encourage all my grain producers in Crowfoot to get ready to take advantage of all the opportunities that are opening up for us.