Wheat Growers Pleased with Court Decision to Uphold Marketing Freedom

CALGARY, AB: The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is pleased with the unanimous decision of the Federal Court of Appeal to strike down the earlier ruling of Justice Douglas Campbell, and confirm the federal government was fully within its right to create an open market in wheat and barley in western Canada.

“This ruling removes any doubt about the implementation of an open market for wheat and barley on August 1,” says Kevin Bender, President of the Wheat Growers. “Marketing freedom is here and here to stay.”

The Appeal Court overturned the December ruling of Justice Campbell, which had suggested the federal Minister of Agriculture had not acted properly in introducing legislation to implement an open market in wheat and barley. The Appeal Court soundly rejected all arguments put forward by the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, 17 individual farmers and four intervener groups including the Council of Canadians and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

The Appeal Court ruling upholds the provisions of the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, enacted on December 15, 2011, and ensures an open market for wheat and barley will be implemented on August 1, 2012.

The Wheat Growers note as well that the Campbell decision formed the basis on which eight former directors attempted to overturn the legislation in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. That Manitoba Court has ruled twice against the eight former directors. This latest Appeal Court ruling suggests any appeal of the Manitoba Court decision would be futile.

The Appeal Court decision also throws cold water on a proposed class action that contemplates using the “freedom of association” argument under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to overturn the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act. Again, the Court firmly rejected this line of argument, noting the new Act does not “restrict the ability of grain producers to associate for the purpose of marketing or pooling their products.”

“It’s full steam ahead,” says Bender. “Farmers can now move forward with the business of selling our grain and gaining the benefits of an open market.”

About the Wheat Growers:

Founded in 1970, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is a voluntary farmer-run advocacy organization dedicated to developing public policy solutions that strengthen the profitability and sustainability of farming, and the agricultural industry as a whole. For more information, please visit wheatgrowers.ca.

For More Information Contact:

Kevin Bender, President


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