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NEWS: Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal on the Canadian Wheat Board

CBC reports, “The federal government scored another court victory Thursday in an ongoing battle over its changes to the Canadian Wheat Board. The Supreme Court of Canada indicated Thursday it will not hear an appeal by eight former board directors, who accused the government of breaking its own law by making radical changes without first holding a plebiscite among grain producers.”

As noted on the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance website, “On January 17, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear an application by the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board and others to reconsider a Federal Court of Appeal Ruling allowing the Minister of Agriculture to ignore a Canadian law giving farmers the right to vote on changes to their Wheat Board. This is a law the Minister of Agriculture had assured farmers before the last general election he would respect, and then ignored once he was in power again.”

In 2011, 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 Federal Court challenge that found that the Harper government had violated the Canadian Wheat Board Act by not seeking a plebiscite with farmers before introducing C-18, the legislation to end the CWB monopoly.

The Winnipeg Free Press notes, “In December 2011, a federal judge ruled (Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz broke the law by ending the CWB monopoly without a vote of farmers) but the ruling was not an actual challenge of the law itself and therefore it did nothing to stop it. A Manitoba judge later refused to grant an injunction against the legislation, based on the federal court decision. Last June, the federal court of appeal overturned the original finding, saying Ritz had in fact not broken the law. The appeals’ court judges said the provision in the CWB Act which required a vote among farmers was likely unenforceable because it took away the power of Parliament.”

The CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2013/01/17/sk-supreme-court-declines-to-hear-wheat-board-appeal-1301.html. The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance post is at http://www.cwbafacts.ca/2013/01/have-the-supremes-taken-canadians-back-to-1214/. The Winnipeg Free Press article is at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/wheat-board-declared-dead-187420951.html. Council of Canadians blogs on C-18 can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22C-18%22.