Debates of the Senate  
1st Session, 41st Parliament,Volume 148, Issue 32
  Wednesday, November 23, 2011
 
Orders of the Day

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Bill

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, I find it quite amazing that we are having a debate and things are relatively quiet. However, the moment that letters from individual farmers are read aloud, honourable senators opposite go ballistic. Why is it that they do not want to hear what the actual farmers have said to us in their letters and their emails? I thought democracy was about listening to what people have to say. Clearly, they do not want to listen. They can roll their eyes and shake their heads all they want, but farmers have a right to be heard. This is unbelievable.

Please, these people want to be heard. I was not planning to read any letters but I will do so. I am sorry, Senator Tkachuk. This letter is from Saskatchewan; these are all from Saskatchewan.

Dear Senator:

In spite of the fact that I have often voted Conservative, I feel I must speak out against this government's shabby treatment of the Canadian Wheat Board and ask those of us who wish to retain the Canadian Wheat Board in its present form. In their crusade to dismantle the single desk marketing structure, the Harper administration pretends to represent the majority of farmers . . .

Maybe I should repeat that:

In their crusade to dismantle the single desk marketing structure, the Harper administration pretends to represent the majority of farmers, but the evidence belies that claim.

Just because honourable senators opposite say it is so, does not mean it is true.

I will continue the letter:

Over the years, western Canadian farmers have consistently chosen single desk advocates to represent them on the Canadian Wheat Board Advisory Committee. In a recent Canadian Wheat Board producer plebiscite, the majority voted to retain the single desk. From the time the Harper Conservatives came to power, they have worked tirelessly to scuttle the single desk. In so doing, not only have they refused to respect the wishes of the majority of western Canadian farmers but have seemingly employed every dirty trick in the book, including deception, slander and bullying, to promote their political agenda. If the average Canadian citizen conducted himself in that fashion, he would be in danger of being tarred and feathered. I deeply resent my federal leaders limiting parliamentary debate on a piece of legislation which adversely affects my livelihood as well as that of my friends and neighbours in the false pretense that they speak for the majority and know what is best for us. What arrogance.

You in the Senate are our last hope. Farmers have been denied a say on a subject which affects them profoundly; yet the law of the land requires a farmer plebiscite before anyone is permitted to tamper with the Canadian Wheat Board. Given the fact that this government does not speak for the majority of western Canadian farmers and is running roughshod over the legal right to a plebiscite, I urge you to put the current legislation on the back burner until this government obeys its own laws and farmers have had a chance to express their views.