They claim the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act “unlawfully expropriated assets belonging to the CWB” in which they had an interest.
Federal Court judge Justice Daniele Tremblay-Lamer struck down six of their seven claims, including those for expropriation, unlawful interference with economic relations and breach of trust. In the decision she wrote that the loss of the single marketing desk is not enough to claim a loss of a property interest by board supporters. She also notes that the government has not replaced the wheat board as the marketer of grains and producers are still able to sell their grain to the same customers as before.
The Portage la Prairie-based news source quotes former CWB director Stewart Wells as saying he was disappointed with the decision.
“We are surprised that even though the court acknowledged farmers’ money had built and operated the Wheat Board since 1935, Madam Justice Tremblay-Lamer still ruled the federal government has the power to expropriate $17 billion dollars of value without compensation,” he argues.
However, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz responds by saying nothing has been stolen from farmers as claimed.
“If that was the case, Canadian taxpayers wouldn’t have had to come forward with $350 million to wind down the CWB,” he points out. “The building, the railcars were all heavily leveraged. The ships weren’t paid for – there was a deposit and that’s it. This argument that somehow all of these things were of such great value is complete bunk.”
The farmers will be able to file a revised claim on whether restructuring costs affected pool payments to farmers in the 2011/12 crop year.
To read the full Portage Online article, click here.