Farmers Sue Wheat Board for Suing Government


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by QMI Agency

WINNIPEG – A day after the Canadian Wheat Board’s remaining directors announced they would take the federal government to court over the decision to shut down the board, on Thursday it found itself in legal troubles of its own.

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association said it plans to file an injunction early next week to stop the board directors from spending its funds on the federal court appeal.

Growers president Kevin Bender said the group has been contemplating action against the board for some time, and will use all legal means necessary to stop farmers’ money from being spent on this battle.

“The CWB’s decision to file a legal action against the federal minister of agriculture was the tipping point. We cannot stand idly by and watch the CWB directors continue to misuse our money,” Bender said.

CWB chair Allen Oberg announced Wednesday that directors will file a federal court application arguing the government’s Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, introduced Oct. 18, is illegal. Oberg said it ignores a clause in the Canadian Wheat Board Act that mandates a vote from farmers before a grain can be removed from the CWB’s monopoly.

“This (Stephen) Harper government has acted illegally and unethically in its attacks on the Canadian Wheat Board and it must be stopped,” Oberg said during a news conference at a farm in Headingley, Man., on Wednesday.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said the appeal won’t change the Aug. 1, 2012, implementation date for the demise of the CWB’s single desk.

The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board has already launched a legal challenge in federal court arguing essentially the same point as the board directors. That case will be heard Dec. 6 in Edmonton.

Wheat Growers chair Gerrid Gust accused CWB directors of reaching into his pocket to save their jobs.

“The CWB and its board of directors have a duty to safeguard monies received from the sale of grain,” Gus said in a release. “This is not their personal slush fund. They have no right to use farmers’ funds to advance a political agenda.”

The Wheat Growers support an open market for wheat and barley, Bender said.



Posted by Haylie Shipp


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