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NEWS: Council of Canadians files for CWB legal challenge

The Canadian Press reports, “The Canadian Wheat Board is getting more support in its fight to stop the federal government from stripping the grain marketer of its monopoly. The Council of Canadians and the Public Service Alliance of Canada want intervener status in a court challenge by a group called Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board. The council says other groups will also be seeking such status as the case prepares to resume in Winnipeg on Dec. 6.”

“The public service alliance represents workers at the board, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canadian Grain Commission. Alliance president John Gordon accuses the government of ignoring the wishes of farmers and putting the safety of the grain supply at risk.”

“Maude Barlow, who leads the Council of Canadians, says the government is being undemocratic. The wheat board itself has also filed a lawsuit against the federal government.”

The ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration) and Food Secure Canada are also seeking intervener status.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported last week, “Farmers, union leaders, left-wing activists and Liberal and NDP politicians gathered in front of the Canadian Wheat Board’s offices on Main Street Friday to protest Ottawa’s determination to crush the Prairie wheat and barley seller by removing its marketing monopoly. More than 300 protesters…cheered as speakers clambered aboard a flatbed trailer and accused the Harper government of being anti-democratic and selling out farmers to corporate interests. …The Council of Canadians’ Maude Barlow, who briefly addressed the rally, rode in the only tractor in the cavalcade. The wheat board, paid for and controlled by Prairie farmers, is ‘a pillar of democratic reality in a world of unregulated corporate food control,’ Barlow told the crowd. ‘Stephen Harper doesn’t like democracy, and you know what? I don’t think he likes farmers very much either.'”

To see a video of Barlow speaking at the rally in defence of the Canadian Wheat, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11588.

This past September 14, the Council of Canadians signed on to a National Farmers Union letter-writing campaign to defend the Canadian Wheat Board. That letter states, “The CWB provides fair, equitable, reliable and cost-effective service to farmers. The existence of the CWB provides stability in uncertain times, and is a foundation of Canada’s grain sector. Ending the single desk authority of the CWB would throw western agriculture into turmoil and would transfer wealth created by Canadian farmers to big private, often foreign-owned grain companies instead of being returned to farmers and spent in their communities.”

You are encouraged to add your name to this letter by going to https://www.cwb.ca/db/corp/petition.nsf/onlinepetitionWeb?OpenForm. If you live in Manitoba, go to http://www.gov.mb.ca/farmers/. If you are a farmer, the National Farmers Union is asking that you fax to them (at 306-664-6226) a hand-written letter explaining why you support the Canadian Wheat Board. They will then fax your letters on to all MPs and Senators.

For Council of Canadians campaign blogs on the Canadian Wheat Board, go to http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22canadian+wheat+board%22. Yesterday’s media release can be read at http://canadians.org/media/other/2011/01-Nov-11.html.