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NEWS: Senate vote on CWB scheduled for Dec. 15, court injunction considered

The Winnipeg Free Press reports, “Questions continued to swirl Thursday about the impact of a ruling by a federal judge in Winnipeg that the government violated the Canadian Wheat Board Act by not seeking a plebiscite with farmers before introducing legislation to end the CWB monopoly.”

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared Thursday there is nothing in a federal court ruling on his government’s wheat board legislation that prevents the government from continuing to push the bill forward. …The government is appealing the decision and is proceeding with the legislation… The government issued a notice that the final vote on bill C-18 will take place in the Senate Dec. 15.”

“But a leading expert on parliamentary procedure said the courts can — and likely will, if asked — issue an injunction against until the court case is completed. …Politics professor Ned Franks at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., said Thursday that as long as the legislation is before the courts on appeals, the courts will not allow the government to act on the bill. ‘When a court hasn’t decided on something, the parties to that decision can’t do an action that makes that (court) decision a moot point.'” The noted constitutional expert has also stated, “The federal government can get the legislation through Parliament, but they won’t be able to implement it as long as it’s before the courts or the courts have agreed with the opponents. The government just wants to prove a point.”

“Late-Thursday, a Canadian Wheat Board spokeswoman said an injunction request is not out of the realm of possibilities. ‘The board of directors is considering all its options at this point and will examine (an injunction) as well as others,’ she said.”

The Canadian Press adds, “Directors of the Canadian Wheat Board are pleading with senators to stop Harper government legislation that would end the marketing agency’s monopoly on Prairie grain sales. They are asking the Senate agriculture committee to freeze the legislation… Director Stewart Wells says a freeze would allow a court case to play out. …(But) the committee chairman, Sen. Percy Mockler, squelched a Liberal effort to halt consideration of the bill because of the court ruling. Mockler rejected Liberal suggestions the committee might be in contempt of court. ‘With the exception of the Constitution Act, no ruling of any court can impede Parliament’s ability to consider legislation,’ he said.”

And the Globe and Mail notes, “The Conservatives say they will invoke closure in the Senate to ensure a bill to end the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly on grain sales passes next week. …Tory Senator Claude Carignan, the deputy government leader, said his closure motion, to be moved (today), would force a vote by next Thursday at the latest. The Conservative majority in the Red Chamber ensures the passage of both the motion and the legislation.”

The Council of Canadians, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Food Secure Canada, and the ETC Group were represented by lawyer Steven Shrybman in the court challenge against C-18. For more, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22canadian+wheat+board%22.