Government to proceed with Wheat Board despite ruling

Federal Court called the legislation illegal


Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the Conservative government will pass legislation dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly, even though a Federal Court ruling on Wednesday found that he broke the law by not consulting grain farmers first. Ritz said the government is “disappointed with the decision,” adding that it will appeal the ruling. “This declaration will have no effect on continuing to move forward for freedom for western Canadian farmers,” he told the Winnipeg Free Press. Opposition MPs and senators are slamming the government for pushing through Bill C-18, despite the ruling. “The Government of Canada can’t say ‘I’m disappointed in the decision, but I’m going to barrel on anyway,’” Liberal Senator James Cowan told Postmedia news. “Even this government isn’t above the law and the court decision.” The Conservative legislation, which has long been part of the party’s platform, will end the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly over the foreign sale of wheat and barley by Prairie farmers. On Wednesday, Ritz pledged to push the bill through before the end of the year.

Winnipeg Free Press

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Government to proceed with Wheat Board despite ruling

  1. Okay, all you CWB detractors, if an appeals court later finds that the government could not, in fact, change the law I would suggest that you have this man, Mr. Ritz, as the primary reason for that in thumbing his nose at a court decision.

    I mean, to be honest, from the case files I’ve read, including those on the CWB page, it strikes me that the government is probably correct in thinking it can do this.  But when you simply ignore a lower court’s ruling, you piss off *all* of them, and that’s not a good way to get your case overturned in your favor.

    With this action, I would not find it at all surprising if the appeals court just decided there’s no grounds for an appeal, and thank you very much.

    • They’re going about this quite recklessly, as is their nature. They should have amended the 1998 legislation requiring the plebiscite first, then gone ahead and passed this one. As it stands, they now have a new law that by its very existence violates an older law that still exists on the books. Duh. 

  2. The Canadian Wheat Board and the problems on the Reserves have one thing in common they are  both empire builders. They are both trying to rule by their law and not laws of the country.What are they afraid of? One feels they deserve a monopoly in a Capitalist society and rule their own empire like a socialist country no opposition. The other does not want to be audited by a third party to see where the taxpayers money has been spent. Every other part of government that receives taxpayer funding is subject to Deputy Ministers Audit with only minimum warning. It is time Mac Leans and other media posted the amount some of these Chiefs spend a year. The Canadian taxpayers put out a list obtained under the Freedom of Information.. One Reserve in Nova Scotia with 344 members the Chief’s pay and allowances for one year was over $900,000 . Where is the responsible media in this country?. This should be a headline in every print media and disclosed on every news outlet. So far Sun media is the only one to let the public in on this outrage.

    • Rule of law Mr. Ritz?

    • The band at Attawapiskat is not objecting to auditing. They have, in fact, been regularly audited. They are objecting to third party management, which is considerably different and, in any event, of no relevance to this item.

      More germane here, IMO, is this law-and-order government’s apparent assumption that its own conduct is beyond the purview of the court.

      Ironic and arrogant.

    • You are wrong.  The band chief is not against being audited. She is against third party management.


  3. A government of law breakers. They have a prison for that.

  4. The existing law does say the government has to consult the grain producers before ending the boards monopoly.  Google “Canadian Wheat Board Act” and read paragraph 47.1 (b)  
    It’s here:   

    The federal court rightly said Ritz broke the law.

  5. At least people are starting to see the monster. Who knows, the ‘new’ and ‘resurrected’ wheat pool that will be placed back into action following the dictatorship government currently in place may be a better one.
    And yes… look at the propaganda being generated for the next election. Will the conservatives even be granted license as a party with a lawless history of ignoring the courts?

  6. There are four big mistakes made by the judge:
    1. A government cannot create legislation that binds future governments, which was obviously not the intent of section 47.1 of the CWB act. Parliament cannot make laws that declare themselves to be immune from the actions of future parliaments.  Laws cannot protect themselves.  Only the charter and parliamentary convention is binding on future parliaments.

    2. Only parliament makes the laws in Canada.  Laws are not changed by individuals or groups other than parliament.  Farmers are not in control of the CWB act. Parliament is not restricted from making legislation that changes previous legislation.

    3. The courts cannot rule against new legislation before it is passed unless there is imminent injury that grants standing, and in this case no imminent injury exists.

    4. The judge obviously misinterpreted section 47.1 of the CWB act which refers to actions taken by the CWB to add or remove regulated grains from their control, not actions by parliament to change the CWB act.

    Obviously this judge has political leanings in his rulings.

    These things are so fundamental, it makes me think the judge should be removed from the bench for ignoring the laws to advance a political agenda.

    • I don’t agree with your conclusion that this judge made a political decision, since there is no evidence of that at all.  I do agree the decision is almost certainly wrong, as any law that purported to bind future parliaments would be clearly ultra vires.  But that’s what courst of appeal are for. There is no reason to attack the judge personally just because you think the decision is a mistake.

      • Well if it wasn’t for political reasons, then the alternative would be that he is simply a complete idiot for having been unaware of fundamental principles of how the country is governed, which would be rather unusual for a judge.

        • No, he considered the issues in his decsiion, and while I disagree with his interpretation of the legislation, it is not an unsupportable position on its face. Both sides presented their arguments, he accepted the arguments of the petitioners. That may be incorrect, as I think it is, but it does not mean he is either an idiot or politically motivated.

          • It’s entirely unsupportable.

        • It is hard to see how the judge could have done anything differently. The new law violates the old one. Therefore, the old one must be amended. No one is challenging the right of Parliament to bring in new legislation. But they need to at least ensure that it does not contradict existing laws. Amend or remove the 1998 law first, then bring in the new one. Horse. Cart. 

          • Somehow that doesn’t make sense to me.  There is nothing stopping the government from putting the amendment you describe into the new legislation and passing it at once.  There is no need to do things in two steps.  So that’s one thing. 

            But the second thing is the fact that this judge is making a ruling based on the new legislation, which hasn’t been passed yet, so it doesn’t exist as law yet, and so nobody knows for sure what will be in it, since the senate could request amendments. 

            So what exactly is the judge ruling on?    How can he rule the new law breaks the old law if the new law doesn’t exist yet?  How can he rule on the new law at all?  He cannot!  He can’t stop the government from passing new laws, he can only rule on laws that currently exist on the books, and the act of parliament passing a new law cannot be stopped by an existing law, especially when you consider the new law could very well be changing the old law.

      • There is evidence in the fact he left it hanging, answering like a true politician. There is not direction, no conclusion of than you did some wrong. 

        • He “left it hanging” because that was the remedy he was asked to render – a declaration that the government’s actions were in violation of the Act.  He was not asked to give any other remedy and it is likely he did not have the authority to do so.  He simply did his job as a judge, which was to provide an answer to the disputed question put to him. I don’t see anything political in it.

          • He preferenced  his remarks by saying in a CP article my ruling will have little or no affect on govt, what they do will be up to them. so that to me sounded pretty lame, limp and not sure what else 

          • But that’ s all he was asked to do – the petition was a request he find the government was violating the Act. They did not ask him to do anything else – so it is no more “lame” than any other court decision where a judge simply answers the question asked of him or her.

    • Some of the statements you make are correct in a general sense.  You have applied none of them properly.

      • You’re wrong.

    • All very true. But the 1998 law exists. And the judge was not asked to rule on the Constitutionality of that law, only of the new one. And since the new law, by its very existence, breaks the old one, it is illegal. All the Tories have to do is use their majority to amend the 1998 legislation, and then pass the new law. They’re in too much of a hurry here and didn’t do their homework. Remove the law requiring a plebiscite (or “consultation” or whatever word is used). Then remove the board monopoly without said plebiscite. As is the right of any sitting Parliament. Simple. But not simple enough for a government in a hurry apparently. 

    • You are wrong.  There are other instances of clauses such as 47.1.  For example The Clarity Act.  The legislation should have been repealed first, before trying to pass another law which contravenes the first.  The court was ruling on existing legislation, not the bill before parliament.  The judge was ruling on the need for a vote.  You need  to be accurate before you start calling for removal of a judge.


      • The clarity act grants powers to future federal parliaments, it does not restrict them. It does not bind future parliaments by any means. In fact, the clarity act has absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to section 47.1 of the CWB act, it is an example of the opposite. The clarity act clearly states that the federal parliament has powers that supersede the actions of provinces or territories, specifically with regard to non-federal referendums.

  7. 47.1 The Minister shall not cause to be introduced in Parliament a bill that would exclude any kind, type, class or grade of wheat or barley, or wheat or barley produced in any area in Canada, from the provisions of Part IV, either in whole or in part, or generally, or for any period, or that would extend the application of Part III or Part IV or both Parts III and IV to any other grain, unless
    (a) the Minister has consulted with the board about the exclusion or extension; and(b) the producers of the grain have voted in favour of the exclusion or extension, the voting process having been determined by the Minister.Soo – exclude or extend, nothing scrapping the act, and says anywhere in Canada, but the Wheat board is only for W. canada 

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