Conservatives to cut off Wheat Board debate in Senate

Move mirrors strategy adopted in the House

The Conservatives said they plan to cut off debate in the Senate on a bill to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly on foreign grain sales so that it can be turned into law by next week. The decision to invoke closure came as Liberal senators were attempting to freeze the debate, and it mirrors how the Harper government cut off debate on the Wheat Board bill in the House of Commons in November. Earlier this week, a Federal Court judge found that the Harper government broke the law because it failed to hold a plebiscite for farmers affected by the bill before tabling it. Since the Conservatives have a majority in the Red Chamber, the approval of the bill is a foregone conclusion. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, speaking with reporters in Toronto, maintained that the government could pass the bill despite the court ruling. “I’m confident that the legislation that we introduce to Parliament conforms to the Constitution and is within the powers of the Canadian parliament,” he said. Meanwhile, some Liberals senators argue that passing the legislation would amount to being in contempt of court. “It’s a matter of whether we respect the laws of the land or we don’t,” Liberal Senator Robert Peterson told the Globe and Mail.

The Globe and Mail

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