Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Keep planning for CWB's end: Ritz

Federal government files appeal of court's wheat board ruling

  • Print

OTTAWA -- The federal government told western grain farmers Friday to continue planning as if a bill opening up wheat and barley sales in Western Canada will become law.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz made the statements Friday as the government officially filed its appeal of a court ruling from earlier in the week that threw a legal wrench into his legislation to end the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board.

"While others try to deny western farmers control over their own crop, our government remains focused on creating more economic opportunities for western Canadian farmers by passing the marketing freedom for grain farmers act," Ritz said in a news release.

Justice Douglas Campbell ruled in Winnipeg on Wednesday that by introducing bill C-18 without holding a vote among producers nor consulting the Canadian Wheat Board's directors, Ritz violated the Canadian Wheat Board Act.

The act explicitly states the minister cannot introduce a bill in Parliament that excludes any kind, type, class or grade of wheat or barley from the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on the sale and marketing of those grains without consulting with the board and unless producers have voted in favour of doing so.

The government will argue in its appeal the legislation is wholly within the power of Parliament. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said this week no previous government can prevent a future government from passing legislation.

There are only a few examples of legislation with clauses requiring the government to consult with citizens in a plebiscite or referendum before the legislation can be changed. Federally, that includes the Clarity Act. In Manitoba, the current NDP government passed legislation requiring a referendum to be held before Manitoba Hydro can be privatized.

Liberal MP Ralph Goodale said Harper is correct that one Parliament cannot bind a subsequent Parliament's hands. However, Goodale said, the CWB Act doesn't say the act can't be amended or changed, just that it can't be changed without a vote by farmers.

NDP wheat board critic and Winnipeg MP Pat Martin said if the government holds a vote and gets more than half of Prairie farmers to agree to do away with the monopoly, that would be the end of the debate.

Martin said the government is creating tremendous uncertainty for the grain industry in Canada and should put the brakes on the bill until the court challenges are exhausted.

Supporters of the government's bill urged the Tories to keep pushing the legislation through, because nothing in Campbell's ruling declared the bill itself to be out of order.

Campbell's ruling did not actually discuss the validity of the bill itself because he was not asked to do so. However, it is expected the courts will be asked to prevent the bill from being implemented.

The courts cannot intervene in Parliament's ability to debate and pass legislation but could be asked to prevent legislation from being acted on as long as the issue is before a judge, Queen's University politics professor Ned Franks said this week.

The government served notice it intends to call for a final vote on C-18 in the Senate on Dec. 15. As soon as the bill receives royal assent, the farmer-elected directors of the Canadian Wheat Board will be fired and replaced with government appointees.

The remainder of the bill is supposed to come into force gradually over the next eight months, with farmers allowed to begin contracting with firms other than the CWB for sales after Aug. 1, 2012, when the bill would come fully into force and the monopoly would be lifted.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 10, 2011 A3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - Cali For Jets Nation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose makes takes flight on Wilkes Ave Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 Day goose a day challenge- Day 09- May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Goose sits in high grass near Marion Friday afternoon for cover -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 18 - May 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Do you agree with the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board to foreign companies?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google