2011-12-07 Fantastic news! Canadians take heart! Fed. Court Rules attempt to dismantle Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) is ILLEGAL . . AG MINISTER GERRY RITZ “WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE…”
Oh my Lord! This is such good news – – I REALLY needed it! It is so fundamental – – whether or not we have the rule of law!!
I would hug and kiss those people who worked so hard in challenging the Government’s disregard for the law, if they were anywhere nearby.
Today I have been panicked over a report from the U.S. regarding the military vehicles they have been rolling out for years – – now accelerated. More on that in a later email. THE GOOD NEWS FIRST!!
READ: Judge’s Decision
—– Original Message —–
From: “Cathy Holtslander”
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 4:40 PM
Subject: [Our Board:100] link to today’s court ruling
Click on this for the PDF of the judge’s decision: http://www.cwb.ca/public/en/hot/decision/legal/pdf/t105711_t173511.pdf
It is well worth reading.
Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard for this!
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Federal Court rules attempt to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board illegal
MEDIA ADVISORY For Immediate Release December 7, 2011
The Federal Court of Canada issued a declaration this afternoon that the Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, acted in breach of his statutory obligation to hold a plebiscite of farmers before abolishing the Canadian Wheat Board’s ‘single desk’ mandate for marketing wheat and barley.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Council of Canadians, Food Secure Canada, and the ETC Group (the “Interveners”) were given intervener standing the case for the purpose of addressing important international trade and constitutional questions raised by the Minister’s actions. The Court’s decision repeats and adopts their submissions on these two key points.
“This is an important victory for democratic rights and the rule of law, and our arguments on trade and the rule of law played a key role in this decision,” says Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow. “In light of this decisive Federal Court ruling and the serious criticism it contains, the federal government should kill the bill immediately.”
Federal Court Justice Douglas Campbell expressed no hesitation in granting a request by the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board and the Canadian Wheat Board that “the Minister’s conduct is an affront to the rule of law.”
S. 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act forbids the Minister from introducing legislation that would exclude wheat or barley from the Wheat Board’s exclusive marketing mandate without first consulting the Directors of the Board, and allowing the producers of the grain to vote on any proposed exclusion. Nevertheless, without doing either, the Minister tabled Bill C-18 to abolish the Board’s single desk mandate. The Bill also removes another fundamental democratic right farmers enjoyed on the Act, which was to elect directors to represent them on the Board.
In coming to his conclusion, Justice Campbell placed primary emphasis on the rule of law as the guiding constitutional principle in the case, and quoted extensively from the written argument made by the Interveners in the case, including the following passage:
“Adhering to the rule of law ensures that the public can understand the rules they are bound by, and the rights they have in participating in the law-making process. As the Applicants note, western farmers relied on the fact that the government would have to conduct a plebiscite under s. 47.1 before introducing legislation to change the marketing mandate of the CWB. Disregarding the requirements of s. 47.1 deprives farmers of the most important vehicle they have for expressing their views on the fundamental question of the single desk. Furthermore the opportunity to vote in a federal election is no answer to the loss of this particular democratic franchise. Until the sudden introduction of Bill C-I8, Canadian farmers would have expected the requirements of s. 47.1 to be respected.”
The Court also gave credit to another key point made by the Interveners concerning the importance of maintaining the democratic franchise accorded farmers under the Canadian Wheat Board Act that the Harper government is now trying to repudiate. As the trade cases reveal, Canada’s compliance with international rules for exporting and importing grain depends upon the Wheat Board being controlled by farmers, not the government. It is that control that Bill C-18 would abolish. On this crucial point Justice Campbell stated:
“I give weight to the Council’s argument that s. 47.1 applies to changing the structure of the CWB because the democratic structure is important to Canada’s international trade obligations under NAFTA. I find that this is an important consideration which supports the argument that Parliament’s intention in s. 47.1 is not to alter this structure without consultation and
“The court could not have made its views more clear on the virtual contempt this government has exhibited for the most fundamental constitutional principles of our nation,” adds Barlow. “The impacts of Bill C-18, if it proceeds, will be a disaster for Canadian food security and sovereignty as US based transnationals would be certain to take even greater control of
Canada’s food system.” -30-
For more information:
Dylan Penner, media officer, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685,
dpenner AT canadians.org, Twitter: @CouncilOfCDNs
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AG MINISTER GERRY RITZ “WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR HIS DISREGARD OF RULE
OF LAW,” SAYS FEDERAL COURT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 7th, 2011
Saskatoon, Sask. – The National Farmers Union (NFU) says that today’s ruling by a Federal Court judge in Winnipeg, is vindication of what it and other farm groups have been saying all along. The judge ruled that Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is breaking the law by trying to remove the Canadian Wheat Board’s (CWB) single desk, through the introduction of Bill C-18 into
Parliament, without holding a plebiscite for farmers. The NFU and its allies have stated repeatedly, over a period of several months, Ritz is breaking the law by denying farmers their democratic right to vote on the future of the CWB’s single desk.
“The judge has confirmed that Ritz is in violation of the Canadian Wheat Board Act. It is now incumbent on the Harper government to reconsider its actions with respect to bill C-18,” stated NFU President Terry Boehm.
“The judge has made it completely clear that in all enlightened democracies, the democratic process must take place ‘within the constraints of the law.’ We are completely in support of that process,” said Boehm.
“The Harper government’s ludicrous statement that it will appeal this ruling is a slap in the face to the majority of Western Canadian grain farmers, who have consistently expressed their desire to maintain the CWB’s single desk. It would be better if Ritz just admitted that he is appealing this case on behalf of the handful of transnational grain companies that dominate the
world grain trade,” stated Boehm.
“The judge’s ruling clearly states that ‘the Minister will be held accountable for his disregard for the rule of law.’ I have no doubt that Canadians will ensure that Ritz is indeed held accountable,” concluded Boehm. – 30 –
For further information, please contact:
Terry Boehm NFU President (306) 255 7638
Kevin Wipf NFU Executive Director (306) 652 9465