Lone Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale is calling for an independent group to measure the financial effects of the end of the Canada Wheat Board’s monopoly.
He rightly doesn’t trust the Harper Government’s numbers (if they collect any) and wants to know the effects on the average farmer.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz responds in typical Conservative fashion:
Ritz dismissed Goodale’s call.
"When Mr. Goodale was the Liberal agriculture minister, western Canadian grain farmers were thrown in jail for selling their grain," said Ritz in an emailed statement. "In contrast, our government trusts farmers and knows that farmers do their own cost-benefit analysis of their farm business every day and that is why we have given farmers the freedom to choose how to market their grain."
While sounding like an exaggeration, in 2002, thirteen Alberta farmers were arrested for illegally transporting grains into the USA in 1996. Rather than pay the fines (the largest was $7500), they chose to make a political statement and spent between 24 and 180 days.
Nevertheless, Ritz chose to go on the attack when he was offered the chance to practice some actual evidence-based leadership. But as with InSite and the Census, we see that the Harper Conservatives are no friend of evidence.