Forestburg, Alta.:  The eight former farmer-elected Directors of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) have announced they will seek leave to appear before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Following the introduction in Parliament by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food of Bill C-18, which removes the CWB’s exclusive “Single Desk” marketing authority over wheat and barley grown in western Canada, the Federal Court of Canada declared that the Minister failed to comply with his statutory duty under the Canadian Wheat Board Act to hold a farmer vote prior to introducing the Bill in Parliament.  The Minister ignored the declaration and appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal, which overturned the Federal Court’s decision.  The former farmer-elected directors intend to file an application seeking leave to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“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, farmer and former Chair of the CWB.

In 1998 Parliament passed a law (Section 47.1 of the CWB Act) which crystallized the previous practice, used several times over the years, of letting farmers vote on changes to the marketing mandate of the Canadian Wheat Board.  But in 2011 the Minister of Agriculture deliberately ignored Section 47.1, effectively stripping farmers of their democratic right to vote regarding a substantial degradation of the CWB’s marketing abilities.

The changes made by the government in December of 2011 mean that farmers will be taking home a smaller share of the rising world prices.

“A plebiscite of the affected farmers in the summer of 2011 proved that the farmers were not in agreement with the destructive actions of the government, and it is on the behalf of those farmers and other Canadians that believe in honesty, fair play and the rule of law that we are making this application to the Supreme Court of Canada,” concluded Oberg.

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