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.
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.