Wheat board headed to highest court?


Junior Member
The dispute over whether the Harper government broke the law last fall when it introduced legislation to rid the Canadian Wheat Board of its monopoly powers may wind up before Canada's highest court.

Eight former wheat board directors and the farm group Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board said Thursday they will seek leave to appear before the Supreme Court of Canada. They will argue Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was required to hold a vote of Prairie farmers before he introduced his controversial wheat board bill.

On Dec. 6, wheat board supporters rejoiced when Federal Court Justice Douglas Campbell ruled Ritz had failed to comply with his statutory duty under the Canadian Wheat Board Act when he tabled the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act in the House of Commons.

The ruling, however, didn't affect the government's ability to pass its legislation. And a subsequent challenge to the new law at Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench was also unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned Campbell's decision earlier this year, setting up the high court challenge.

"We believe that this case raises issues that are important to all Canadians and is worthy of careful consideration by the Supreme Court of Canada," said Allen Oberg, a farmer and former wheat board chairman.

Under the new legislation, Prairie farmers will no longer be required to market wheat and barley used for human consumption or destined for export markets through the Canadian Wheat Board. The legislation takes effect Aug. 1.

Oberg and others believe the changes mean Prairie farmers will now take home less money than they would have at a time when world grain prices are rising.

More at http://www.brandonsun.com/breaking-news/wheat-board---headed-to-highest-court-163983696.html?thx=y


SASKATOON -- Change is on the horizon for farmers as the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on western wheat and barley sales draws to an end.

The federal government passed a law late last year to allow western farmers to sell their grain to whomever they choose.

That change kicks in Wednesday with the new crop year.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is to be in Saskatoon today to talk about what the government says is marketing freedom for the western Canadian grain industry.

The wheat board is also holding a news conference in Winnipeg to mark the official beginning of its new business model.

Wheat and barley farmers in Western Canada have had to sell their grain through the board since the 1940s.

The change has the support of many farm groups, which say producers can often get better prices on the open market.

But supporters of the monopoly say the open market will leave farmers at the mercy of railways and big, international grain companies. They argue the monopoly prevented producers from competing against each other for sales.

The move has also led to several court battles.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/canadian-wheat-board-monopoly-draws-to-end-1.898776#ixzz22D5ofWi6


Junior Member
New website launched to help grain farmers after CWB changes

WINNIPEG ? A new website has been launched to help Canadian and U.S. wheat and barley producers find their way in the new open- market environment that begins Wednesday.

The website, http://canada-usgrainandseedtrade.info, was launched today by a working group of Canadian and U.S. non-profit and trade organizations.

The groups said grain farmers on both sides of the border have been asking a lot of questions as they prepare for the end to the Canadian Wheat Board?s long-time monopoly over the sale of Canadian-grown wheat, durum and barley, and the move to an open-market system.

They said the legislated change will create opportunities for Canadian and U.S. producers to move grain across the border in both directions.

"The site will help producers better understand how to navigate through these changes and market their grain across the border," said Richard Phillips, executive director of the Grain Growers of Canada.

"Key questions are answered for U.S. and Canadian producers, including how to find a buyer, how wheat will be graded, and requirements for cross the border," added Shannon Schlecht, director of policy with the U.S. Wheat Advocates.

Read more at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/bu...rain-farmers-after-CWB-changes-164286156.html


Junior Member
Theatrical wheat-board protest at noon today

Supporters of the Canadian Wheat Board have planned a demonstration for the lunch hour today, protesting the Harper government?s measure that dismantled the once powerful monopoly.

"The Harper government?s murder of the Canadian Wheat Board is scheduled to take place (Wednesday), against the wishes of the majority of farmers on the Canadian Prairies," a pro-wheat board group of farmer said in a statement. Farmers no longer have to sell their wheat through the board, and are free to seek other ways to market.

The federal government passed a law late last year to allow farmers to market their wheat to whomever they want and the first ever crop to be sold under the new business model will be marked in an opening ceremony Wednesday in Winnipeg. The contentious change has been the focus of court battles with farmers for and against it.

Since the 1940s, farmers have sold their wheat through the post-Depression era board in an effort to guarantee a minimum crop price.

The protest is expected to take the form of theatre with farmers playing roles. It?s billed as "Protest Canada?s Grain Casino." It happens outside Pantages Theatre , 180 Market Avenue at Main Street, from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.