The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, a farm group supporting the class action brought by four farmers from western Canada which seeks compensation for the destruction of the farmer-owned and controlled Canadian Wheat Board, received a mixed message from a Nov. 29, 2013 Federal Court ruling.
Stewart Wells, chairperson of the group said “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. It is especially disappointing when the $17 billion value was never disputed by the Federal lawyers or the Court. Farmers know who built and paid for Canadian Wheat Board assets.” Wells went on to note “so far this is one of those times when justice and the law are complete strangers.”
Nathan Macklin, one of the farmer plaintiffs from Alberta said “if this ruling is to stand, then it means farmers will no longer have any legal claim to the CWB assets which we have paid for, including the downtown Winnipeg office building, railcars, great lakes grain ships, and over one hundred million dollars in the contingency fund. Yet if Ottawa did this to a multinational corporation they would be forced by NAFTA and our other trade obligations to provide compensation. Our legal system allowing this travesty of justice to go through essentially makes farmers, and all Canadians, second class citizens in our own country.”
Wells, referring to a recent Ottawa news release on the subject, said “it is disrespectful to farmers and the courts for the Federal Minister of Agriculture to gloat over his legislated theft of farmers’ assets and to characterize our legal case as frivolous. The fact that this federal government refused to follow the law and let farmers vote on the changes makes this legislated theft even more galling.”
“Farmers are increasingly aware that grain companies in western Canada are starting to take advantage of their new powers granted by the Federal Government and are offering Canadian farmers lower prices than can be received in the USA” continued Wells.
Anders Bruun, legal counsel for the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, stated “the door on further legal action on this seizure of assets from farmers by the Federal government has not been closed by this ruling, and we expect the plaintiffs to decide over the next couple of weeks whether they will continue with the class action allowed by the Federal Court, or appeal the recent decision and keep fighting against the expropriation without compensation that the government has visited on farmers.”