Agriculture and Forestry (December 8, 2011)
The committee met to review the government’s bill to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s marketing monopoly. Allen Oberg, chair of the agency’s board of directors, opened the meeting with a plea for Bill C-18 to be rejected, especially in light of the ruling that was handed down the day before the meeting. A Federal Court judge ruled that Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz had breached the Canadian Wheat Board Act by introducing the bill without holding a plebiscite among farmers. The Conservative government has said that it plans to appeal the decision.
Senators then raised concerns that continuing the meeting would place them in contempt of court and the proceedings were suspended.
Committee members resumed the meeting after confirming that the court ruling could not impede their review of the legislation. Allen Oberg, CWB director Stewart Wells, former director Ian McCreary, and former chair Larry Hill called for the Senate to suspend the legislation until there was a vote among farmers.
Cliff Bell, a representative of the Inland Terminal Association of Canada, and Earl Geddes, executive director of the Canadian International Grains Institute, then discussed the impact of the legislation on their organizations.
UPDATE: Bill C-18 received royal assent on December 15.