Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Wheat Board bill gets pre-screening - and debate limit - in Senate

A worker unloads wheat at a farm near Fort MacLeod, Alta., on Sept. 26, 2011.

TODD KOROL/Todd Korol/Reuters

The Conservatives in the Senate are trying to expedite the government's legislation to disband the wheat board by holding their own committee hearings before the bill even reaches the Red Chamber.

That bill is likely to be passed by the House of Commons within the week.

The wheat-board bill is one of the three Stephen Harper wants passed before Christmas. The others are a budget implementation bill and a bill to redistribute the seats in the House of Commons to better reflect the distribution of the Canadian population.

Story continues below advertisement

But the Liberals in the Senate have indicated they intend to call many witnesses before the legislation is put to a final vote and sent off for Royal Assent. So Conservative senators introduced a motion to allow the Senate's agriculture and forestry committee to begin hearings on the wheat-board bill immediately, getting a start on a potentially long witness list.

The Liberals countered by introducing a number of amendments to the motion, which prompted the Conservatives to impose time allocation. The pre-study motion is now like to come to a final vote early next week.

"But, if it goes on beyond Tuesday or Wednesday it's going to be a moot point because the bill is going to come [to the Senate]the following week," said Majory LeBreton, the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Pre-studies are not common practice nor have they been used in this session – and Ms. LeBreton also said they are not her preferred way of doing things. But they have happened several times since 2006, when the Conservatives first took office.

Ms. LeBreton said no pre-study has been offered on the budget bill and the seat-allocation bill. "We will just treat those as normal when they get here," she said.

The government wants the seat-allocation bill passed quickly to allow the provinces to set up electoral boundary commissions and get the ridings redrafted before the next election which will take place in four years time.

There are measures in the budget bill that cannot take effect until the bill is passed.

Story continues below advertisement

And the government wants speedy passage of the wheat-board bill so there is market certainty for next summer's crop year, Ms. LeBreton said.

The Senate, she added, will likely sit an extra week longer that the House of Commons in December in order to get those measures passed.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Gloria Galloway has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She worked at the Windsor Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the National Post, the Canadian Press and a number of small newspapers before being hired by The Globe and Mail as deputy national editor in 2001. Gloria returned to reporting two years later and joined the Ottawa bureau in 2004. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.