(CWB Region) “We feel that asking a Federal Court Justice to quash the government’s appeal of the December 7 decision is appropriate”, said Allen Oberg, former Chair of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB).  “By ignoring the Federal Court of Canada decision the Harper government has again left us with no alternative.”

In December of 2011 Federal Court Justice Campbell ruled that the government is bound by the CWB’s democratic process established by Parliament in 1998. Justice Campbell said that “(T)he minister must act democratically… Not adhering to these values is not only disrespectful, it is contrary to law.” The intent of Parliament was “not to alter this structure without consultation and consent” according to Justice Campbell and the tens of thousands of western farmers that were familiar with Section 47.1 of the CWB Act.

Immediately after the ruling however, the Harper government stated that it would not be bound by the law or the courts and the government moved ahead to implement Bill C-18 which would destroy the single desk marketing advantages of the CWB.  (There have apparently been three times in Canadian history when the Federal government has ignored a ruling from the Federal Court, and all three have occurred since 2006 when the Harper government was installed.)  At the same time the government moved to appeal the Federal Court ruling.

“We believe that the Harper government should have to choose—either the government moves ahead to dismantle the CWB without a vote of farmers, or they continue with their efforts to reverse the decision at appeal—but they should not be able to do both at the same time,” continued Bill Toews, farmer in Manitoba and former CWB Director.

“The Harper government broke the law and insulted farmers when they took away the farmers’ right to vote on changes to the CWB,” concluded Oberg.  “The government’s action was not legal, fair or constructive, and the government continues to create a huge amount of uncertainty for the western grain trade.  We are urging all farmers and Canadians in general to support our actions by visiting www.friendsofcwb.ca and becoming personally involved.”

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