CWB debate turns nutty

Sometimes last week, House of Commons debate on the Canadian Wheat Board became downright nutty.

It raised the question: once the CWB loses its monopoly, will Canada be serenading United States trade interests with a higher voice?

One of its descents into the world of bad double-entendres came when New Democrat Pat Martin raised what he called a folkloric story that when cornered “the Canadian beaver will bite off its own testicles and offer them up to its tormentor.”

He accused the government of acting that way when U.S. trade interests challenge it, including their wish to get rid of the CWB.

Later, he conceded it was a story concocted by Canadian author Margaret Atwood in 1989 when she was opposing the Canada-U.S. Trade Agreement but it was too good an image not to raise again.

Conservatives couldn’t pass up the chance.

“I think that is a very fitting metaphor because the member for Winnipeg Centre is impotent to stand in the way of farmers getting freedom,” agriculture minister Gerry Ritz quickly retorted.

Next up was Liberal leader Bob Rae who said he wanted to change the tone of the debate.

Prime minister Stephen would have none of it.

“I cannot let go of that earlier exchange,” he said. “I just hope the member for Winnipeg Centre’s bark is not as bad as his bite.”

Much Commons guffawing ensued.

A day later, Ritz was at it again, referring to Martin as an “eager beaver.”

Enough already! ‘Great balls of fire’ was a hit record for Jerry Lee Lewis more than half a century ago.

Time to move on.

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About the author

Barry Wilson — Barry Wilson started work with the Western Producer in 1977 as a reporter in Saskatoon, but not long afterward he moved east to open the paper’s Ottawa bureau. He retired at the end of January, 2014.

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