(May 5, 2014) On May 1 the misnamed Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act (Bill C-30) hit what Conservative partisans called a “speed bump” when several of its provisions were ruled Out of Order by Speaker of the House Andrew Scheer after a point of order was raised by independent Edmonton-St. Albert, Alberta, MP Brent Rathgeber last month (April 10/14).
Mr. Rathgeber understood the implications of what has been said here and elsewhere about this legislation: with the killing of the single-desk CWB farmers are simply not shippers since they lose ownership of their grain when it leaves their truck at the inland elevator so Bill C-30 will do next to nothing for them. When he was attacked by Minister Ritz, Mr. Rathgeber, a lawyer, drove that point home with the following response quoted in IPolitics:
Many will recall that Mr. Rathgeber left the Conservative caucus to sit as an independent last year over what he saw as a lack of government transparency. His intervention on Bill C-30 shows that Ottawa has not changed its ways. It is still promoting policy which appears designed to mislead the public with no planning and certainly no respect for evidence.
So the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act should really be called the “Fairy Dust for Grain Farmers Act.” And a thank you is owed to independent MP Brent Rathgeber for highlighting that this will do nothing to help farmers or stop the multi-billion dollar grain robbery of farmers that Minister Ritz and his cronies are now attempting to cover up.
This bit of legislative smoke and mirrors will be sent back to the Commons Agriculture committee today. Farmers can look for more sound and fury signifying nothing. While Minister Ritz’s rapidly shrinking band of supporters just need to repeat these words from Peter Pan: “All you need is faith and trust… and a little bit of pixie dust!”
Editor’s note (May 5/14): This afternoon Bill C-30 was given third and final reading in the House of Commons and now moves on to the Senate. As stated above, this legislation will do little or nothing for grain farmers who, with the exception of producer car loaders, cannot be considered “shippers.”