FARMERS WIN LEGAL
BATTLE OVER WHEAT BOARD
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the March 16-31,
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potentially crucial legal victory
has been won in the struggle to save the Canadian Wheat Board. On Feb.
26, the federal government's attempt to remove the CWB's single-desk
authority over barley sales was rejected by the Federal Court of
Appeal, setting the stage for further debate in Parliament.
The ruling upheld last summer's
decision by Federal Court Justice Dolores Hansen, who quashed a cabinet
order which would have taken away the CWB's single desk marketing of
At the time, National Farmers
Union President Stuart Wells said Hansen's ruling "holds the government
to account for that collusion and re-asserts the rule of law and
democracy." He emphasized that by acting through regulatory change,
rather than amendments to the CWB Act, the government was being
unlawful, undemocratic, and unsustainable. At the legal hearing in
Calgary, Wells noted, the government revealed that it had done no
analysis of the legal or economic consequences of its Order-in-Council.
Responding to the latest ruling,
Kyle Korneychuk, an elected CWB director from Saskatchewan, said "I
think it's a victory for farmers, but more so, it's an establishment of
democratic principles. It's not a dictatorship. We're going to have a
To make the change, the minority
Conservative government must now pass legislation in Parliament, where
the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois all remain opposed.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz
has pledged to introduce legislation to change the CWB's mandate. While
the Tories argue the change would give farmers "freedom of choice,"
Wheat Board supporters say the single-desk system ensures grain
producers get fair prices instead of competing against each other for
In December 2006, the Harper
government fired former CWB president and CEO Adrian Measner for his
public defence of the Board's traditional role. CWB vice-president
Deanna Allen was recently fired by Greg Arason, who was appointed by
the Tory government to replace Measner.