Farmers moving ahead with Wheat Board class action

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Stewart Wells, chairperson of The Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board announced that farmer litigants, with the full support of the group, have filed an appeal of a Nov. 29, 2013 Federal Court ruling by Madam Justice Tremblay-Lamer.

Wells said “We believe Justice Tremblay-Lamer made errors of fact in her judgment and our supporters feel that it is imperative that we continue with our legal efforts to recover the $17 billion dollars of value and assets farmers put into the Wheat Board.”

Wells went on to point out “It was 50 years ago this past month the Canadian Wheat Board, in consultation with its farmer advisory committee moved into a downtown Winnipeg office building bought and paid for with farmers’ money, and no amount of legal sophistry or rationalization can change the fact farmers are owed compensation for what amounts to an unprecedented theft of private resources by Ottawa.”

Wells concluded by saying “Farmers know who built and paid for Canadian Wheat Board assets and farmers have a legitimate expectation of compensation from the federal government.”

Nathan Macklin, one of the farmer plaintiffs from Alberta said “if Ottawa did this to a multinational corporation they would be forced by NAFTA and our other trade obligations to provide compensation.  Allowing this essentially makes farmers, and all Canadians, second class citizens in our own country.”

Anders Bruun, legal counsel for the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, stated “this appeal moves forward the legal action on the seizure of the Wheat Board’s assets and reputation from farmers by the Federal government and shows the resolve of my clients to keep fighting against the expropriation without compensation that the government has visited on farmers.”       

Organizations: Canadian Wheat Board, Federal Court

Geographic location: Ottawa, Winnipeg, Swift Current

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  • Jeff Nielsen
    January 02, 2014 - 19:21

    Stewart Wells and the Friends of the CWB have a funny way of redefining history, court decisions and the Acts of various Canadian Parliaments. The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) Act of 1998 outlined a corporation which marketed farmer’s grain. Several lawyers paid by the CWB clearly defined to the Board of Directors "the CWB and its assets and liabilities belonged to the Government of Canada". Clever interpretation of the Act by ideology driven individuals have blatantly misrepresented this to western Canadian producers. To suggest the CWB Act allowed for a vote on its' future is also false yet Mr. Wells and others still feel the need to mislead Canadians. Perhaps Mr. Wells knows more than the Supreme Court of Canada which refused to hear an appeal of Justice Perlmutter's decision which soundly overturned Justice Campbell. Perlmutter clearly spelled out, the voting section 47.1 of the CWB Act, only applied to additions and deletions of grain. In terms of assets, funds for renovations of the building and refurbishment of the rail cars (which extended the life of these depreciating assets) came from remortgaging these assets. Any value here would simply be the difference between market value and the value of the mortgage. Purchase of the lakers was a decision of the Board of Directors. The Federal Government would not approve financial support. Even when lawyers defined clearly that the CWB and its assets were owned by the crown the majority of elected directors decided to take money from the pool account to purchase the ships. The contingency fund allowed the CWB to build a reserve to backstop programs. The CWB collected more income on Producer Payment Options than the payments to farmers, which according to the Act, had to be deposited into the Contingency fund. These retained earnings of the corporation were not pool account funds. None of these assets was taken from farmers; farmers signed on to the programs and were paid in full. The CWB with these assets has 5 years to develop its new business plan to which I wish them the upmost success. Any misappropriation of farmer's money lies squarely at the feet of some Directors acting as a political opposition party and forgetting about their Director responsibilities of Duty of Care and Duty of Loyalty to the organization and farmers it served. This is the real scandal and cover-up in all of this. As well as the millions of dollars of farmer’s money wasted attempting to prove superiority over the Government of Canada which created the CWB Act in the first place. Jeff Nielsen, former CWB farmer elected Director. Olds, Alberta