WINNIPEG — Lawyers for the Canadian Wheat Board have told a Federal Court that Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz broke the law when he decided to allow western wheat and barley farmers to bypass the marketing agency.
“This is all about fairness. The minister’s conduct, in my submission, was unfair and contrary to law,” John McDougall told the court in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
“That decision…was to be the decision of farmers.”
The wheat board, along with supporters that include the Council of Canadians, is asking the court to rule that the federal government is wrong in its decision to strip the board of its monopoly over western grain sales without first holding a plebiscite of producers.
McDougall pointed to section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act, which states that changes to the marketer’s handling of wheat and barley cannot be made unless “the producers of the grain have voted in favour of the exclusion or extension.”
Government lawyers told the court the case should be dismissed because the courts have no jurisdiction to override legislation being debated in Parliament.